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PEOPLE Science

PEOPLE (Pre–College Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence) is a pre‐college pipeline for low‐income and underrepresented minority students serving approximately 400 high school students, 20 high school teachers, and 120 graduate and undergraduate students annually. The science curriculum for PEOPLE’s summer residential programs for high school students was developed by WISCIENCE (then known as the Center for Biology Education) and has been coordinated by WISCIENCE for several years. PEOPLE staff were trained and took over program logistics in 2013, and WISCIENCE staff still implement biology workshops and serve as consultants to development of other STEM areas.

The first–year science curriculum emphasizes hands‐on inquiry to encourage excitement about science and its relationship to everyday life. Students explore career possibilities and are introduced to the breadth of scientific research on the UW–Madison campus. Small groups of 10–12 students rotate through biology, physical science and biomedical/health science. Second–year students receive an introduction to the major elements of a university science course: college–like lectures, laboratory activities, discussions, and graduate student shadowing. Development of quantitative reasoning and science literacy skills are core elements of the curriculum. Research themes explore cloning, plant biotechnology, the human genome and bioinformatics, insect biodiversity, ecology of invasive species, and animal behavior. Students engage in the latest UW‐Madison advances in nanotechnology, chemistry, civil and mechanical engineering. This rich, cross–discipline experience includes field trips, a research exploration portfolio and a capstone knowledge presentation at a science fair. Institute staff have also developed and tested student assessments for the program.