Influence Student Potential and Increase Representation in Education (INSPIRE)

State
Illinois
Academic Level
Graduate
Issue Area
Access
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Career/Workforce,
College Prep,
STEM

Overview

Influence Student Potential and Increase Representation in Education (INSPIRE) is a mentoring and applied research program designed for first-generation, underrepresented high school students interested in pursuing a career in science and biomedical research. The program aims to increase the number of qualified students from underrepresented populations completing advanced degree health programs and serving the community as practicing health professionals.

Program Description

INSPIRE provides participants eight weeks to engage in original biomedical research under the direction of a graduate student mentor and faculty advisor. Students participate in an introductory laboratory course similar to classes students might take during the first couple years of an undergraduate biology degree. Students also receive career development courses, weekly presentations on the related careers in the health sciences, and academic/professional enrichment sessions to improve their performance in language arts, mathematics, science, and work etiquette.

Outcome

  • Increased college enrollment: As of 2020, 100% of participants enroll in college. 
  • Improved Sciences GPA:  As of 2020, 74% of participants improve or maintain their high school GPA in the sciences. 
  • Increased knowledge of the biological sciences: Tests taken by participants before and after program participation show significant improvement in student knowledge of the biological sciences relative to the biomedical field. 
  • Gained research experience: 100% of participants gain a basic understanding of research as demonstrated through research presentations and program mentor evaluations.