Warner School receives $1.25 million grant

By NATE DOUGHERTY - 10/14/2011 3:01:12 PM

The University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education has received a $1.25 million grant from the National Science Foundation for a program that promotes learning for urban teenage girls.

The program will provide experiences for hundreds of urban teen girls to re-envision their neighborhoods and the world around them and their role in shaping it by participating in rich, inquiry-based investigations, Warner School officials said. These are meant to help them develop their identities as scientists and agents of change in their communities.

The grant builds on years of work that Warner School Associate Professor April has done to engaging young women from minority groups and of low socioeconomic status in quality informal science education through Science STARS (Students Tackling Authentic and Relevant Science). With the NSF funds, Luehmann will expand and enhance the work of Science STARS, an innovative afterschool program that has supported the interest of urban middle school girls in science for nearly a decade, Warner School officials said.

Originally piloted in Rochester, the program will grow locally and expand to two new cities—Lansing, Mich. and Seattle, Wash. The goal of the expansion is to understand the program’s scalability and further document and study how the social, cultural, and spatial aspects of community-based informal science learning can nurture positive science identities for urban school girls through inquiry-based science.

The enhanced Science STARS program will provide more than 200 urban female teens with out-of-school time opportunities over the next three years to explore science in their community, improve their scientific literacy and literacy skills, and enhance their attitudes about science, Warner School officials said. The funding also will target soon-to-be science teachers they move beyond the traditional ways of teaching science.

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