Case School of Medicine




The Program

The Center for Science, Health & Society coordinates the CWRU SOM role in partnership with the Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD), and Hathaway Brown (HB) School, a private, suburban preparatory school for girls to establish the Scientific Enrichment and Opportunity (SEO) Program. This initiative brings the considerable faculty talent and resources of the SOM to bear on the CMSD through 1) the transfer of HB’s Student Research Program (SRP) to students of both genders in the CMSD who demonstrate promise and interest in science, and 2) the implementation of teacher workshops run by SOM faculty designed to enhance teacher practices, generate student enthusiasm for science, and serve as a reinforcement and recruiting mechanism for the student research portion of the SEO Program.

The student research component of the SEO Program is specifically designed to bring students from the CMSD – the largest and one of the most economically challenged school districts in Ohio – in contact with faculty at the SOM to engage in longitudinal research projects under faculty tutelage during the summer after students’ 10th and 11th grade years, as well as during the 11th grade school year. This research experience is intended to enhance student’s interests in the biomedical sciences, provide them with unparalleled professional experience in the sciences, and bring them into contact with the SOM’s faculty for both academic and career mentoring. In addition, since the CMSD contains a large percentage of minority students, with nearly 80% being either African-American or Hispanic, the SEO program affords underrepresented minorities an opportunity that they might not otherwise get to experience hands-on science. Through the program, these students also receive the stimulus and reinforcement from a unique supportive network comprised of CMSD science teachers and guidance counselors, SOM faculty, and parents to continue on to post-secondary education - and subsequently careers - in science.

For the teacher workshop segment of the SEO Program, the SOM, along with the CMSD, design an annual series of two graduate level summer courses through which teachers can receive training in how to best incorporate biomedical sciences information into their class curricula, as well as earn graduate credit toward their certification. Workshops include hands-on demonstrations, and also involve a significant amount of one-on-one teacher-scientist interaction that continues after the workshops have concluded, as CMSD teachers are encouraged to contact SOM faculty for advice, ideas, and mentoring support. Furthermore, the workshops presents materials and information that enhance CMSD high school science curricula with the goal of contributing to overall improvement of student performance on the Ohio Proficiency Tests, and more importantly, spark student enthusiasm about science.

The SEO Program is evaluated through both quantitative and qualitative mechanisms. Student progress in the research component of the SEO Program is monitored by CMSD science teachers and by SOM faculty mentors during the program period (10th – 11th grades), and student academic and career progress is tracked during the post-program period. In addition, we utilize questionnaires to determine teacher, student, and faculty mentor satisfaction with the student portion of the SEO Program.

Evaluation of the teacher workshop portion of the SEO Program is based on CMSD teacher self –efficacy surveys, as well as on the academic/Proficiency Test performance of students in classes of workshop participants, vs. the performance of students in classes of non-participants. This latter measure is used to determine the success of the program to present useful and engaging teaching methods to enhance the CMSD science curricula. In addition, SOM faculty leaders evaluate teacher performance during workshops, and the number of students applying to the student research portion of the SEO program is a benchmark for success since the teacher component is also designed to reinforce and attract student interest in science.