1. In our ongoing work with high school students - those who spend summers conducting research in our labs at Caltech – are among the top competitors in the annual Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology and Intel International Science and Engineering Fair; and the participants in our own Community Science Academy. It is clear that this early exposure to authentic research opportunities builds confidence, enhances skills and most significantly, broadens young students’ views on what is possible for themselves.
2. In The Power and Promise of Early Research, Dr. Desmond Murray and co-authors provide compelling reasons to infuse more research activity into both secondary school and early undergraduate education. Early research experiences not only spur cognitive development, they also serve a social justice imperative, through broadening access to research for historically underrepresented groups (HUGs). Each chapter provides interesting examples of programs that not only support chemistry research skill-building and scaffolding of authentic research, but are found in a variety of educational environments. The inclusion of the student voice in presenting the anecdotal evidence of the power of early research to empower is exciting and vital. Carrying on the tradition of publications such as CUR’s “Broadening Participation in Undergraduate Research: Fostering Excellence and Enhancing the Impact” (Mary Boyd and Jodi Wesemann), this publication provides a valuable resource for the undergraduate research movement.
Dr. Elizabeth L. Ambos
3. Studies indicate that the earlier a student is exposed to science, the greater is their probability of success in scientific inquiry. This book - The Power and Promise of Early Research- does a masterful job of reinforcing that concept.
Len M. Archer, Ph.D
4. Wonder, inquisition and experimentation are intrinsically human traits that have been the impulses behind our collective quest for knowledge as a species throughout the ages. That all of us possess these traits is evident from our earliest moments: infants and toddlers probe their environments with their senses, and preschoolers seem to have incessant questions, most beginning with "why". Unfortunately, our innate need to discover and create knowledge has often been suppressed by educational systems that emphasize formulaic, rote learning, relegating the privilege of exploration to a gifted or learned class. This hierarchy is manifest in the perception that research in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines is only for very smart people. Early Research, as demonstrated by the contributors to this volume, represents a more organic approach to learning and development. It has the potential to level the playing field in the enterprise of science, as inclusion of investigators from diverse backgrounds can bring to bear varied perspectives in addressing challenges. Moreover, Early Research is essential not only for equipping our workforce for careers in STEM fields, but also for sowing the seeds of discovery and innovation in the most fertile soil - young minds.
Dr. Oneida Arosarena
5. The Power and Promise of Early Researchis a poignantly crafted book providing not only powerful, inspirational stories of early research success by diverse groups of students, but it also delivers a balanced view of the purpose of research and early research; alongside numerous examples, pedagogy and policy; artfully encompassing the gamut of interests administrative leaders, policy makers and teachers, at all levels, undoubtedly have. Leading by example, this book’s testament “…to inspire by example”, exemplifies a model of how these authors help all of us reimagine STEM education. They don’t leave us hanging with recommendations either, but instead offer ideas, useful templates, and a host of resources to immediately incorporate into our own school policies and classrooms enabling us to literally reimagine STEM education in our own settings.
Michelle Ann Bakerson, Ph.D.
6. The Power and Promise of Early Researchis a proven fact. Desmond Murray and the authors of this book have demonstrated beyond any doubt that students do not need to wait till their senior year in college to start a science research project; it can be done by anyone during high school years. My own son, Dr. Pawan Barot who is now an Orthopedic Surgeon in Harrisburg, PA conducted research, under my guidance, when he was senior at St Joseph High School in Michigan on Cancer Incidence Rate in Berrien County. So, I know firsthand that early research matters.
Bal Barot, PhD
7. Having mentored underrepresented minority high school and undergraduate students in research and development projects, these experiences, as described in the Lab Tales chapter, serve as real-world exposure. It is imperative that these activities continue if these students are going to be effectively reached. The result is that it will increase the STEM student pipeline.
Novella Bridges, PhD
8. Early engagement in research builds students “can do” attitude removing a lot of barriers to research later on at the university level. Individuals from diverse backgrounds bring a fresh perspective on data analysis and the implications of findings. For a country to be competitive in the global market, more research and innovation are needed; this makes early introduction to activities fostering that mindset and the spirit of inquiry is important. There is an urgent need to foster early research in developing countries. Researchers can also mentor teachers in low-income countries so they are able to improvise and teach in a manner that supports innovation. The Power and Promise of Early Research extensively documents and makes the case for early research. It is a resource that can be used as a startup catalyst and should be on the required reading list of STEM educators everywhere.
Sylvia T. Callender-Carter, DrPH
9. The chapter Lab Tales reveals the power and value of student research through the voices of students’ testimonials. With science standards that are based upon the NGSS, all K-12s will do the work of science; asking questions, conducting investigations, and risking sharing their thinking with others. These are revolutionary times for science educators across our country!
10. Over the past 8 years, we have developed a new biotechnology program for Jamestown Community College that uses undergraduate research as a primary pedagogy. It has been amazing to see students bloom into young scientists capable of understanding the mechanics of scientific method. Moreover as a consequence of implementing undergraduate research, we have seen large increases in critical reasoning, a valuable 21st Century Skill important for workforce development. We assessed the critical reasoning of students who participated in undergraduate research for a full year and compared them to students who did not using the Critical Thinking Assessment Test, a well-validated and NSF-supported assessment tool. In fact, at the end of their first year, JCC Biotech students demonstrated statistically significant and reproducible levels of critical reasoning that exceeded the national average for students graduating from four-year degrees across the nation. JCC Biotech has also developed an outreach program with area high school that trains them to teach a first year college level biology course using undergraduate research in their districts. Students participating in this new year-long curriculum also demonstrate comparable large gains in critical reasoning. Undergraduate research drives deep cognitive development in students that hones their ability to reason deeply about data and prepares them for authentic work environments in the sciences. We have tested literally hundreds of students at this point. Early research really works.
JM Crisman, Ph.D.
11. Early research experiences in which students can see the real-world relevance of science and engineering, especially on projects of relevance to their communities, undoubtedly enhance persistence - especially for the empathetic, altruistically-minded underrepresented minority students that are so desperately needed in STEM.
Marc A. Edwards
12. Early participation in undergraduate student research is a strong motivating factor for scholarly engagement and a well-correlated predictor of student success. The STEM disciplines are well known to require hard work and diligence for students to master. Early involvement in true research experiences instill participants with a pride of engagement and a sense of belonging to the select society of individuals who are increasing the collective scientific knowledge of the world. The emotional motivation of such an engagement is a powerful contributor to ongoing student growth, maturity, and success in academic coursework.
Joseph M. Fortunak
13. In 2006, our Department of Chemistry at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine, Trinidad, introduced a semester-long research period for all students pursuing a major in Chemistry. Prior to 2006 the majority of our chemistry undergraduates were not engaged in conducting research. Since this department-wide change, we have seen a huge increase in the average number of undergraduate students going on to pursue postgraduate studies towards their PhD. The average prior to 2006 was two; for the upcoming academic year we have 12 students that would be PhD candidates. In fact, many students have continued their undergraduate research project at the PhD level. This helps in their seamless transition into our PhD programme. In addition, since 2013 we have offered a new chemistry undergraduate degree that has a one-year research period as part of its matriculation requirements. Five of the seven students of this graduating class have already signed up to do postgraduate studies! So, our department’s experiences confirm the evidence in this book on The Power and Promise of Early Research: engaging students in early research increases their retention rate in the sciences.
Lebert Griersona, PhD and Nigel Jalsab, PhD
14. This book - The Power and Promise of Early Research - is a must read, not only for its heart-warming testimonials from students who have benefited from early research but also for its practical advice from instructors who provided these experiences for students. Today's students are not as difficult to motivate as some say. Students want to make a difference, ask questions related to personal curiosities, and use creativity to solve problems. Guiding students in early research brings out the best in both students and their teachers. Whether you have experienced the power of early research, or you are a skeptic, after reading this book you will see that providing students with authentic STEM research opportunities is the responsibility of all STEM instructional leaders.
Dr. Darci J. Harland
15. The Lab Tales chapter provides a series of inspiring essays on advancing the ideas of nurturing young minds to engage in research early. The stories are diverse, but all revolve around the theme of students from diverse backgrounds who were empowered early in their academic careers to build the skills needed to become active learners and thinkers. Their first research experiences were launched in high school and allowed to flourish through programs (ACS Project SEED, BEST Early program, Baccalaureate and Bridge to the Doctoral Programs) targeted towards supporting students interested in the physical and life sciences.
These stories from early researchers provide an amazing insight in the benefits of promoting science in young minds. These students speak of their early motivations and their continued work, and their dreams for the future. One cannot help but be inspired by their words, their actions, their teachers, and the programs that have supported them. These collected stories will convince any reader that the idea of early research should be a national trend.”
16. Time and again, we have found that allowing students to ask questions, propose hypotheses, collect data, make causal inferences, and determine answers can be powerful for those students. Engaging students in this authentic, hands-on research in high school and the first two years of college allows them to understand the science, develop scientific and critical thinking skills, and increase both their efficacy and identification as scientists. Hook them through these early research experiences, as this book- The Power and Promise of Early Research - shows, and we will have a more robust and inclusive scientific workforce that benefits students, science, and society."
Freeman Hrabowski, PhD
17. The Power and Promise of Early Researchis a compelling call to action for every reader to join in a shared effort to make early mentored research accessible to students of all ages. Murray et al. challenge the belief that formal academic study must precede the ability to conduct original research. You’ll ask yourself, "Should every school be a research school? Should every classroom be a laboratory? Should every student engage in authentic research?
18. I’m happy to add my voice to those cheering the publication of this ACS symposium book, The Power and Promise of Early Research. I agree with the authors that an “all-hands-on-deck” approach is needed so that research is “early, often, and universal.” Implementation of the ideas in this book could be a triple win: for our students, for our discipline, and for our planet.
19. The authors of The Power and Promise of Early Research suggest that delving into problem solving at much younger ages than we traditionally ask of students foments interest and engagement in STEM subjects. In addition, the approach taken by the educators in this text promotes the idea that introducing research in a broader range of courses results in greater understanding of STEM material. A plethora of examples and templates offered in this book provides instructors with much needed creative tools for transforming education for young people.
20. STEM fields offer multiple opportunities for career paths. The challenge is for the access to STEM careers to be inclusive, available to all ethnic groups and across all economic levels. Academies, corporations, communities as well as organizations must work toward achieving this inclusivity. In addition, each scientist has the responsibility to open doors and to mentor those often excluded from STEM programs. For example, the authors in this symposium book show the value of early research in preparing especially the underserved population for STEM careers.
Dr. Dorothy J. Phillips
21. Equity and literacy in STEM education is critical for our success as a nation and for global sustainability. With research supporting instruction to engage students in the practices of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, it only makes sense that allowing students to engage in authentic research, while they are first establishing their career goals, would help them to see that they are capable of answering questions about the world. Early research also provides a low-stakes environment to try out a career option before paying for post-secondary options.
22. My early science interest came from my parents. Mom was an energetic lifelong learner who encouraged me to explore the wonders of the science world. We used to read the Encyclopedia on human anatomy and physiology. She made me read books on science pioneers such as Louis Pasteur, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Jonas Salk, Edward Jenner, and Marie Curie to name a few. These stories sparked a lifelong passion for combining chemistry and biology to impact the world through drug research. Dad was an analytical chemist at Dow Chemical and he encouraged me to pursue a career in science by taking me to work to see the instrumentation and how real science labs operated. The love of science discovery has captured me ever since and the stories in the student chapter of this outstanding book on early research truly resonates with me.
Bradley D. Tait, PhD
23. You will find The Power and Promise of Early Research very informative for understanding the impacts and importance of early research opportunities for students. The chapters discuss the authors' experiences with incorporating research into a variety of settings, ranging from high school classrooms to formal and informal research programs at universities. Be inspired and learn how to get students involved in research at early stages, and take advantage of research as means for shaping, motivating, and teaching your students.
Dr. Janice Hall Tomasik
24. The only way for high school students and undergraduates to really sense the dynamic nature of a career in STEM -- the uncertainties, the introspection, the triumphs, and the satisfaction of achieving -- is to participate directly in research. The articles in this publication provide inspiring examples of what it takes to secure pathways for young talent.
Dr. Margaret Daniels Tyler
25. A unique collection of powerful observations all supporting the benefits of an early research experience.
Cardinal Warde, Ph.D.
26. Wow! Powerful! These bios and essays cut right to the heart of what really matters in turning students on to science. Bypass all of the quick and easy popular-science factoids, all of the required science fairs and science fair projects, all of the encyclopedic memorization, and simply get students doing authentic science. It really works! These bios and essays also powerfully demonstrate that high-quality, authentic science education is no longer confined to exclusive, small and expensive, upper-level learning centers; mentors using this approach have reached and identified a deep talent pool that extends to students from all walks of life and at all levels.
John C. Weber