Our Scholars come to us through one of our partnering organizations, which includes Boys Hope Girls Hope Baltimore, SEED School of Maryland, KIPP Academy, Crossroads School, and Green Street Academy. These organizations all seek to identify promising youth from disadvantaged backgrounds and to help the students succeed. By partnering with these organizations, we more easily identify promising students and are able to gain added support on the home front.
SARE emphasizes professionalism at every turn. We teach scholars how to dress appropriately for each type of work, how to look people in the eye, greet people with a handshake and a smile, send a professional email, present orally to people of a range of levels, interact with colleagues that are their peers as well as ones that are more senior. We also teach the importance of responsibility and accountability for ones work as others will depend on it. This responsibility includes taking careful notes so that their experiments are reproducible and the results are documented and archived.
Mentoring plays a primary role in SARE. SARE scholars work in research labs with a doctoral student or postdoctoral fellow. This mentor-mentee relationship is formative for scholars as they learn how to work in a professional environment, learn good work and study habits, and how to become a good colleague. The mentoring relationships often extend beyond the summer program as scholars will often seek out their lab mentor for advice, even as they move on to college.
SARE Scholars spend 70% of their time in research labs where they become engaged in an active research project. Scholars learn numerous state-of-the-art techniques, while learning to think critically, ask questions, and develop original testable hypotheses. Our scholars make new discoveries and have even become authors on published primary research papers.
Scholars spend 30% of their time working on academic fortification. Scholars take structured classes in writing, mathematics, laboratory science, and bioethics. We have documented an average of two years of academic growth in scholars' writing ability in a single summer. In mathematics, scholars pursue an individualized curriculum where they work with a doctoral student mentor. They are pushed in any topic ranging from algebra to advanced calculus. For science, scholars take a 10-session course geared to make them become fluent in basic laboratory science.
Scholars celebrate their accomplishments through a public scientific presentation and reception. This presentation showcases all that the scholars have learned, from professionalism to writing and math to scientific discovery. Scholars prepare for several days to present their work in front of professional scientists, doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, family and friends. This event is a major celebration as scholars show off their accomplishments.
To date, SARE has had 23 scholars participate with several scholars participating more than one year. Of the scholars to reach college age, 100% have matriculated into four-year programs, and 100% have received partial or complete financial support for college. 50% are pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or health-related professions. We have had scholars turn themselves around academically, moving from a B/C student to straight As.