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UCCS Stem Outreach Program helping to break barriers for minority high school students

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Posted at 6:32 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 21:52:33-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — A new summer outreach program is underway at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs to help get more kids from underrepresented backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

The UCCS STEM Outreach Program rolled out this summer with 18 high school students participating in the free program. Students will get to experience collegiate-level labs in chemistry, biology, biochemistry and human anatomy.

"I think this program will help me figure out what I want to do, and what career path to follow," said Eden Alexander, UCCS STEM Outreach Program.

"I thought this was the perfect opportunity to see and explore what I want to do, and I think it is," said Maleijha McCall, UCCS STEM Outreach Program.

Both girls dream of going into the medical field, but they haven't had the chance to get hands-on experience.

"My school is super small, it doesn't have anything like this," said Alexander.

"A lot of the time in these under-served communities, students don't have the chance to participate in these high-level labs in biology, chemistry and anatomy and they're kinda missing out on the impact it could have on their futures and careers. We can spot any of these talented and wonderful kids, and encourage them to pursue things like medicine or science," said Madison Fox, Creator of the UCCS STEM Outreach Program.

This is why Fox created the program, to help break barriers for these students, especially minorities. She hopes the program can inspire a potential career in either medicine or in scientific research.

"We are doing a lot of chemistry and biology. They were able to have the opportunity to understand absorbency, and how things floress in the chemistry side of things. Going into biology, they'll be able to experiment with bacteria, different genomes, and other kinds of micro-organisms," said Fox. "They are going to be learning quite a few things. Not only if they like science or don't like science, but how they can apply these techniques to the future careers that they want to have.

Later this week, they'll also be studying a human cadaver to help them better understand the inter-workings of the body. Good experience for these future doctors.

"The anatomy lab, I am so excited, I can't wait," said McCall.

"It is really really cool, I find that interesting," said Alexander.

"I am incredibly thankful to be able to start a program like this and offer it to so many amazing and bright kids across Colorado. I am honored to have the entire University of Colorado Colorado Springs help put the event on as well as the Gateway Program Seminar and Pre-Collegiant. They have done an incredible job supporting me, and helping me throughout this process," said Fox.

The university plans to expand the program to include engineering, technology and mathematics.