The Research Techniques Facility (RTF) has been/is being used to teach both Hunter College (HC) undergraduates and tenth grade Manhattan/Hunter Science High School (MHSHS) students basic research techniques. College students are more readily accepted to HC research labs after successfully completing the RTF Workbook which contains protocols on how to use equipment, make up solutions, create websites, etc. They do this in a dedicated laboratory, the RTF, and usually do this on their own time with peer mentors guiding them.
We believe that exposure to research by high school students is a significant way to foster their interest in science and scientific research. With funding from HHMI-USE grants we increased the number of protocols in the RTF Workbook and made it a 60 hr.,2 cr. college course (BIOL 210 Introduction to Research Technology) for undergraduates and a 2cr. high school course for tenth grade MHSHS students. The course is part of the NSF Noyes grant for undergraduates in biology education awarded to Prof. Jeanne Weiler in the School of Education. Shirley Raps is a Co-PI on that grant. After completing the course, the biology education undergraduates have the opportunity to be teaching assistants for the course offered to the high school students. They observe first-hand how high school students learn and how to teach them in a lab course.
The course is offered to 10-12 tenth graders at the college in the fall and spring starting at 3:30 after high school classes are over. Five of the best students, selected by the course instructor, are invited to spend the summer in biology, chemistry, physics, or psychology HC faculty members research labs. Data we have collected and anecdotal information indicate that this opportunity in high school, for the most part, carries over to their entering college with an interest in science.