The Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research (PSBR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit science education organization formed in 1990. PSBR’s mission is to promote a better public understanding of the importance of biomedical research and its contributions to human and animal health, with the goal of offering any person, regardless of age, gender, or income level, the opportunity to engage in scientific exploration and career-connected learning. PSBR carries out this mission by providing in-person activities, presentations, and experiences that support science and healthcare education, career awareness, and professional development opportunities.

PSBR was originally established by a coalition of groups representing academia, industry, and healthcare institutions. Since 1990, PSBR has engaged more than 45,000 students, 2,800 teachers, and 16,000 members of the public through its various education and outreach programs. As a result of the impact and success of its educational programs, PSBR established its mobile SPARC (Science Program and Research Coach) program in 2019. Through SPARC, PSBR provides hands-on, career-infused biomedical science programming designed to inspire students to pursue further science-related education and careers. 

For many schools, whether in rural or urban communities, the problem is twofold; schools cannot afford STEM-related equipment/supplies needed to provide authentic learning for students and there are not enough teachers trained in advanced science concepts to bring current science and career pathways to life in the classroom.  STEM education is a universal language, allowing students to overcome the challenges of geographical, cultural, and language barriers to succeed in school and successfully transition to postsecondary education or employment. To address these inequities over the long-term, SPARC seeks to increase the number of students from diverse and low-income populations engaging with STEM education and careers by providing accessible STEM content, hands-on activities, and career pathway guidance aimed at developing 21st century skills while strengthening regional talent pipelines.

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