Founded in 2015, The Citizen Science Lab (TCSL) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has become a city leader in providing interactive STEM programming for the residents of Pittsburgh. Located in the Hill District neighborhood and South Hills region, TCSL provides an accessible space to connect young people with opportunities to increase STEM knowledge, academic achievement, and self confidence. TCSL incorporates two state-of-the-art laboratories that provide hands-on exposure to life science, biomedical, robotics, and biotechnology education for students, teachers, biomedical startups, and adult citizens of the Pittsburgh region. TCLS’s programming has a focus on increasing urban students’ interest in STEM but is available to all of the citizens of Pittsburgh.
Through participation in TCSL’s programs, students learn the common research techniques used in biology, technology, and computer science fields. Students are expected to be honest with their research, cooperate with one another, practice good sportsmanship, be respectful of their peers, and celebrate everyone’s efforts. These skills extend beyond the laboratory, and that knowledge is a requirement for a successful career in the sciences. Expected outcomes of TCSL programming include, but are not limited to, increased participant interest in biological, engineering or computer-based research, proficiency in common laboratory techniques, and the pursuit of a science or engineering career or major upon graduation. One of the most vital components of TCSL’s program is that TCSL’s students, many of whom are disproportionately underrepresented in STEM fields, are able to envision themselves in a STEM career.
The Citizen Science Lab’s commitment to increasing the access to innovative, hands-on STEM programming for underserved Pittsburgh residents mirrors Remake Learning’s work in Allegheny County.