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About the Program Heading link

The College of Engineering and College of Education have been offering a summer research program for high school teachers since 2016. The summer research experience will provide an opportunity for pre-engineering and science teachers to spend time in biomedical engineering research labs and use the experience to create a curriculum for use in their own classrooms. The six-week program matches teachers to a laboratory under the guidance of College of Engineering research-active core biomedical engineering faculty mentors. These lab opportunities are in diverse areas that include 3D printing laboratory equipment, tissue engineering, biomedical imaging, brain activity monitoring, rehabilitation engineering, bioacoustics, biomaterials, and mechanics of the pulmonary system. In partnership with College of Education faculty who are recognized experts in curriculum design and teaching in secondary education, and in particular, teaching of secondary science in urban schools, participant-tailored curricular mentoring in weekly workshops will focus on principles of effective planning, instruction, and assessment to be directly connected to teachers’ classroom curriculum.

Miiri Kotche, PhD Heading link

Miiri Kotche

Miiri Kotche is a Richard and Loan Hill Clinical Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Her focus is on providing real-world experiences in education for biomedical engineering and medical students in the classroom, through summer immersion programs, and co-curricular programming.

Jennifer Olson, PhD Heading link

Jennifer Olson

Jennifer is a clinical assistant professor in Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education. She coordinates Secondary Education programs and teaches curriculum, instruction, & assessment courses to undergraduate and graduate secondary education students. Jennifer’s research focus on urban high school reform is informed by nine years of teaching in Chicago Public Schools, giving her an informed perspective of how policy moves from theory to practice. Jennifer received her PhD in Urban Education Policy Studies in 2013 from University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Olson’s current research interests include urban high school reform, urban teacher preparation, school turnaround, and student voice.

Darrin Collins, Program Assistant Heading link

Darrin Collins

Darrin Collins is a doctoral student in the Math and Science Education Program in the College of Education at the University of Illinois Chicago. He has been a science teacher on the southside of Chicago for 11 years. His research interests center on science teacher mentorship with an emphasis on cultural responsiveness. Darrin’s research is supported by a decade of in class experience, and a decade of mentorship within the profession. He has published several titles including his debut novel ‘Native Invisibility.’ The goal of Darrin’s research, writing, and teaching is to promote a decolonized reimagining of the world.

Program Dates Heading link

Full-time summer program from June 10 – July 19, 2024.

Application Deadline Heading link

March 31, 2024. Applicants will be notified by late April.

Program Highlights Heading link

  • $8,000 stipend for all participants
  • $1,000 classroom supplies allowance

Who May Apply Heading link

Licensed Chicago Public high school science or engineering teachers.
Underrepresented minorities and applicants committed to working with diverse student populations are encouraged to apply.

Program Requirements Heading link

  • Teacher Fellows must commit to participating for the full 6 week program.
  • Teacher Fellows will participate in lab research experiences and curriculum workshops.
  • Teacher Fellows will participate in program evaluation.
  • Full time participation is 40 hours per week for the duration of the program.

The BEST Program is supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health under award number R25EB021733­01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.