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The UK START Program partnered with the UK Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition to host a tour for Frederick Douglas High School students. In addition to hosting tours, START aims to engage and support underrepresented STEM students through a variety of virtual and classroom presentations at several schools in the area.

"Many students at the high school level can think of only two or three STEM careers and we want to expand their concept of what constitutes STEM." said Program Coordinator, Rebecca Rudd. "Dietetics and Human Nutrition was an ideal START partner because it houses both research and clinical applications in subject that's very accessible to students - everybody eats, but not everyone readily thinks of this field as STEM." said Jessica Houlihan, who teamed with Rudd to devise a tour that included a visit to Dr. Robin Shoemaker's lab, where students observed a working lab, learned Dr. Shoemaker's research, observed proper safety equipment and talked with Dr. Shoemaker and her lab assistants about their personal career paths and inspirations.

Students also toured the Body Composition Lab, with state-of-the-art measuring devices such as The Bod Pod, then took a portion control challenge and wrapped up the day with a visit to the Campus Kitchen to hear about its mission and volunteer in the food prep kitchen. "I learned a lot" said one student as the day ended, which is music to the ears of Dr. Jennifer Muncy, Frederick Douglass High School Advisor, who was also in attendance. "We partner with START to bring our kids real world experiences both in our classrooms and on campus.", said Muncy. "It's rewarding to see the light bulb of inspiration go off as concepts are expanded, which is so often what happens in authentic learning environments."

START provides year round authentic STEM experiences and campus Apprenticeships to high school upperclassmen and is the funded by a SEPA grant Visit start.uky.edu.

START was made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), Grant Number R25 GM132961, from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIGMS or NIH.