Middle school girls watch a robot they made at a UC Riverside summer robotics camp
March 22, 2022

UC Riverside program for high school students aims to diversify STEM workforce

Underrepresented students will participate in carefully designed summer research and educational activities

Author: Holly Ober
March 22, 2022

A new STEM program at UC Riverside for high school students will emphasize diversity, inclusion, equity and improving access to healthcare in the region. The Summer Training and Research Inspiration for Diverse Pipeline Engagement toward Advancing Stem Cell Treatment, or STRIDE, will be a five-week summer research training program for 60 diverse high school students from throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties, which comprise the Inland Empire.

“The Inland Empire is a medically underserved region. STRIDE aims to increase and diversify the STEM workforce to address unmet medical needs,” said STRIDE director Huinan Liu, a professor of bioengineering in UC Riverside’s Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering. “The STRIDE program will inspire and train high school students via five weeks of carefully designed summer research and educational activities.”

Flyer for the STRIDE Program.

STRIDE will provide important experiences for students including high school trainees but also student mentors selected from a diverse pool of undergraduate students, graduate students, and medical students at UCR. The STRIDE program closely collaborates with Stem Cell Center, CIRM BRIDGE program at Cal State San Bernardino, and UCR TRANSCEND graduate and postdoctoral training program, which forms a training pathway from high school students to postdoctoral professionals.

Faculty mentors from UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE), College of Agricultural & Natural Sciences (CNAS), and School of Medicine (SOM) will invite 12 trainees from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds to work on research projects in their labs each summer. STRIDE will also provide training on communication skills and research skills for trainees through workshops, invited diverse speakers, discussion, career panels, and mentoring sessions. Trainees will learn science and engineering skills by participating in laboratory research projects related to stem cells and regenerative medicine in the areas of bioengineering, materials science, tissue engineering, neuroscience and neural engineering, stem cell biology, aging related diseases, toxicology, and other fields. 

An experienced group of outreach program directors and faculty mentors from BCOE, CNAS, SOM, Graduate Division, Student Affairs, and the Provost’s office serves on the STRIDE advisory board. The program will collaborate closely with UCR Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement programs; UCR Early Academic Outreach Programs; TRIO pre-college programs; and UCR School of Medicine Pathway Programs

Southern California permanent residents in Inland Empire school districts with referrals from these current UCR outreach programs plus a teacher in STEM fields are encouraged to apply. The STRIDE program will start recruitment in Spring 2022 for the first five-week summer program from June 20 to July 22, 2022. More details about the STRIDE program and application will be available at the website: stride.engr.ucr.edu.

The STRIDE program is funded by a $509,000 five-year grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM, the state’s stem cell agency. 

Header photo: Stan Lim/UCR

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