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What is SPROUT?

The Science Preparatory Research Opportunities for Underrepresented Teens (SPROUT) aims to provide students with low socioeconomic status (SES) early exposure to graduate-level research education, improve the research enterprise through increased diversity, and prepare and recruit passionate students to Temple University’s College of Science and Technology. 

What is the purpose of SPROUT?

Underrepresentation within the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field remains a persistent issue. According to a study by the Pew Research Center in 2018, minorities were disproportionately underrepresented within the STEM field; Black and Latinx populations comprised only 9.0% and 7.0%, respectively. The intersection between gender and race has an even larger disparity, with women of color being the most underrepresented group in STEM. Catalyst reports that women of color represent 14.1% of bachelor’s degrees across all STEM fields, with black and Latina women making up merely 2.9% and 4.3%, respectively.

The STEM fields thrive when people from different backgrounds and experiences are able to collaborate and provide distinct perspectives. This project aims to address this issue directly, by providing exposure to minorities attending a Philadelphia high school to unique research opportunities Temple University has to offer.

What is the process for selecting the participants?

The recruitment process will be completed in three phases. Students will complete the required form by the appropriate due date. A limited number of applications will be selected for interviews to further narrow the selection. Additionally, students will be able to meet one-on-one with potential faculty members for further review. Final selections will be made by the executive board based on rankings submitted from both students and faculty of their top choices for who to work with. 

What is the general structure/schedule of the program?

We have intentionally left the schedule to be flexible to be as accommodating to students schedules as possible.
Our general guidelines are as follows:

1) Students must meet with faculty a minimum of once per week, and must spend approximately 10 hrs/week dedicating to research.

When paired with a mentor, the two of you will decide the best times to meet. You can either do this research virtually or in-person at Temple’s College of Science and Technology building (1210 Polett Walk Suite #150, Philadelphia, PA 19122). We will provide all students additional funds to cover transportation. Our faculty dedicate their summer entirely to their research, and therefore, will have an open schedule. This allows for you to integrate our program with your other demands. The 10 hours/week can be dedicated to literature review, attending/presenting at your labs meeting, experiments, data collection, data/statistical analysis, writing a paper etc.

2) Students must attend biweekly skill-building workshops with the SPROUT committee.

Skill-building workshops are currently scheduled for 10am on Saturday. We intend on having 8 throughout the program, and students must attend a minimum of 6. You can find the tentative dates and topics here. When all our students are selected, we are open to changing dates and times based on everyone’s preference. These meetings will be in-person on Temple’s campus. 

3) Students must attend the symposium in late August. It will tentatively be planned for the afternoon on Thursday, August 17th at Temple’s Science Education and Research Center.

What is the research project?

Students will be provided approximately 3 months to work on a project of their interest with their CST advisor. For safety and legal reasons, high school students will not be allowed to participate in any experimental “wet” lab research with chemicals or hazardous materials. Mentors are advised to provide real data sets from their lab for students to perform computational and/or statistical analysis for the symposium. Students are expected to gain experience in looking up and reading scientific journals. Students will have the option to choose between conducting virtual research, in-person or a mix of both. Students will meet with faculty advisors a minimum of once a week, and must dedicate 10 hours of research a week over the course of 3 months.