Fun in Reasoning, Science and Technology

The FIRST Club is designed to create an educational pipeline to health professions careers for twenty-five seventh-grade and twenty-five eighth-grade students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.
The objective of the FIRST Club is to enhance students’ potential to successfully complete their public school education, and to interest and prepare them to pursue and complete further studies toward a career in one of the healthcare professions.  The FIRST Club is a two-year program divided into three main components each consisting of a variety of reinforcement and enrichment activities.
The first component, the Saturday Science and Math Academy, is designed for seventh-grade students.  It takes place throughout the academic year and is held in the middle-school building.  On Saturday mornings, students engage in innovative science and math learning experiences under the supervision of middle-school educators as well as mentors, who themselves are enrolled in a health professions college.
During the summer following seventh grade, rising eighth graders are invited to continue in the FIRST Club and attend the second component, a six-week Summer Enrichment Program.  This intensive program that meets 5 days a week is held at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health on the campus of Tuskegee University.  Students experience hands-on scientific projects, critical thinking, journal writing, field excursions, computer labs, and public speaking.
In the Fall, participants return as eighth graders to their middle school for the Weekday Program, which is the third component.  A science teacher conducts daily science enrichment activities while the school counselor holds weekly career counseling sessions.
Middle school administrators and science instructors in Macon County, Alabama will select twenty-five participants based on criteria set by HCOP.  Students will be selected based on income and Stanford Achievement Test (SAT10) scores or other standardized test scores.
To acquire a diverse group, students who score upward of Stanine 4 may be selected.  The eighth-grade students who have attended all required sessions of the program will be given the opportunity to become a member of the FIRST Club Kids Association and opt to become junior mentors to the incoming seventh grade FIRST Club members.
The academic grades and career interests will be tracked throughout the FIRST Club years, high school, and college as well.
We expect the following short-term results:  (1) science will become more attractive to students and (2) the halo effect of being involved in a science enrichment program will motivate students, especially those who struggle academically, to put more effort into learning and studying.
In the long term, we anticipate the following: (3) more middle school students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds will be “college prepared” in science and (4) more students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds will matriculate into and graduate from health professions schools.
Because parental influence and guidance are important to the success of children, parents will be given the option of becoming members of the FIRST Club Parents’ Association.  We want parents to be involved at every point in the two-year FIRST Club initiative.
Mrs. Mary A. Lampley, M.Ed.
Assistant Program Director/HCOP
Tuskegee University
College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health
Tuskegee, AL  36088
334.727.8477 or 334.552.1598 (Cell)
334.724.4758 (FAX)
James E. Webster, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Facilities Management
Program Director/HCOP
Tuskegee University
College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health
Tuskegee, AL  36088
334.727.8177 (FAX)