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RESEARCH APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
The objective of the EPA/Shaw University Research Apprenticeship Program for High School Students is to encourage students to pursue advanced degrees in math, science, and engineering. This is accomplished by enriching the scientific and mathematic concepts that students study in the classroom; providing students the opportunity to interact with scientists and engineers; developing effective scientific research and technical skills; and enhancing students' motivation, self-confidence, and desire to achieve in the fields of math, science, and engineering.
The Research Apprenticeship Program began in 1990 as a collaborative effort between EPA's Office of Research and Development in Research Triangle Park, NC and Shaw University in Raleigh, NC to address the under representation of minorities in the fields of science and engineering. Educational researchers have determined that the problem with the under representation of minorities in science and engineering can begin as early as elementary school. Factors that improve minority performance in science and math include parental involvement; development of positive attitudes toward science and math through parents, teachers, advisors, and peers; and classroom influences such as manipulative and participatory activities. Students participating in the Research Apprenticeship Program must live in Wake County, NC and be in grades 9 through 12. Students apply to the program in the spring semester of 8th grade and continue in the year-round program until they graduate from high school. Students accepted into the program must demonstrate superior ability in science and math. Applications are evaluated based on grades, teacher evaluations, and an essay written by the student. Eight rising 9th graders are accepted into the program annually. Students must maintain high academic performance in high school in order to remain in the program. The Research Apprenticeship Program has two components: 1) the academic year program, and 2) the summer program. The academic year program takes place at Shaw University the first three Saturdays during September through May. It consists of classes, workshops, and monthly "hands-on" presentations by EPA scientists. The 6-week summer program takes place Monday through Friday. In the summer program, students in grades 9 through 11 attend classes and workshops at Shaw University and go on field trips in the Research Triangle area. The rising 12th graders serve as apprentices with mentors at EPA during the 6-week summer program. The mentorship component gives the students an opportunity to work in a research setting with an EPA scientist. At the end of the mentorship program, each student is required to give a presentation on their project to an audience which includes the mentors, other students in the program, their parents, and EPA scientists. This is a ORD-RTP integrated project, and funding is provided by NERL (42.7%), NHEERL (42.7%), NRMRL (9.8%), and NCEA (4.8%).