The U.S. faces a need to grow its STEM talent pool. Initiatives targeting our high school students are critical to the success of these efforts, as it is by now well-established that key steps are made towards a science and engineering career as a direct result of learning experiences and career exposure at middle and high school.
At this age, students want to know that they can make a difference through the studies and careers they pursue, and this requires career-inspired learning experiences and mentors. In our Junior Researchers program, students participate in a Research Challenge where they contribute essential data and insights to a research program addressing meaningful and relevant STEM challenges, directed by leading scientists.
As Junior Researchers, students see how their STEM learning translates in the real world; they experience authentic research and connect with their peers, they build relationships with STEM mentors, and they gain a sense of the impact they can have in STEM at an age when key academic and career decisions begin to be made.
STEM teachers involved in the program build skills, and acquire tools and networks, to enhance their teaching and career-preparation for their students through impactful, authentic research experiences that fit within curricular boundaries.