Pitt’s Bio Outreach program aims to bridge the gap between the science community in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and K-12 teachers and students. In collaboration with the research faculty, they develop inquiry-driven curricula for K-12 schools that uses the research happening in the Biology department to address the standards that teachers must be teaching each year. Since 1993, they’ve offered professional development workshops for high school teachers to update content knowledge and train these teachers how to incorporate the curricula in their classrooms.
Pitt Bio Outreach provides academic year classroom assistance in the form of a Pitt-Kits loaner program. The Pitt-Kits program provides curricula, equipment and supplies to teachers to implement this inquiry-based learning in K-12 schools. The Pitt-Kits program serves around 8,000 students each year, 35% of whom are underrepresented minorities. They also run a summer research program for high school students called Gene Team. Gene Team is a 4-week summer program that immerses students in an authentic biological research project from one of the research labs in the Department of Biological Sciences. Students work as a team to advance the research while honing their biology and critical thinking skills.