The Hawai‘i Science Career Inspiration (HiSCI) Program is a combined effort of the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and the Center for Cardiovascular Research (CCR) at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). The HiSCI program is sponsored by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA). The goal of HiSCI is to enhance science education resources and training for K-12 teachers and students in Hawai‘i. With the help of teachers, we want to inspire students to love science and encourage them to pursue biomedical research or health careers in Hawai‘i.
For teachers, we have a variety of professional development opportunities and resources. We provide a week-long paid molecular biology teacher training during the fall and summer breaks. When possible, we have RFP funding opportunities that provide resources for classrooms. Teachers can request a health professional to come to their classroom or career fair through the Speakers Bureau. We also host workshops and tours at JABSOM. For K-5 teachers, we supplied classroom sets of health-related books for the ReaDch program. Lastly, we have been collaborating with the STEM Pre-Academy to develop the Hawai‘i Teachers Collaboration Forum on Science and Health Education so that teachers can share resources amongst each other. We will also be adding science/health equipment to STEM Pre-Academy’s Toolkit for Teachers program.
For students, we have numerous programs and resources available. Every interested school will receive a hard copy of the Hawai‘i Health Career Navigator and the online Student Companion that identifies local careers and explains the steps involved in pursuing each career. We will also be sending out Role Model Posters to highlight life stories of Native Hawai‘ian health professionals. Additionally, JABSOM medical students host four one-day Teen Health Camps each year across multiple islands to show middle and high school students what it is like to be a health professional. We also partnered with the Waikiki Aquarium to create an activity called “Science of the Sting” for middle and high school students to explore the research of a UH Biochemist on local box jellyfish. Juniors and Seniors in high school are invited to join the new Pre-Health Career Corps program that provides mentorship, research opportunities, and health career shadowing through JABSOM. We also created a biomedical research database that identifies which researchers across Hawai‘i would consider working with students at specific grade levels.