The BRIDGE (Building Research Investigators Doing Growth Experiences) program of Rowan Salisbury Schools
The BRIDGE (Building Research Investigators Doing Growth Experiences) program of Rowan Salisbury Schools seeks to recruit 180 (60 each of the year of the grant cycle) talented, underserved students in our district during the spring of their 7th grade year. During their entire 8th grade year and summer before high school, these students do research with local industry professionals and then connect them to STEM careers in the dynamic setting of Horizons Unlimited in Salisbury, NC. The project has four main goals:
- Identify and recruit 60 talented students each year to the program who have limited access to STEM resources in their current middle school setting.
- Expose these students to a monthly research and lab experience from a wide variety of industry professionals, including the NC State Research Park in Kannapolis, and the Piedmont Research facility in Mt. Ulla, NC.
- Create a passion for learning about STEM in these students to cultivate student leaders on each of our 7 middle school campuses to found and sustain science and math clubs that will continue long after the grant cycle ends.
- Experience a weeklong summer research opportunity using Luther Ridge in Arden, NC as a base to connect our student-leaders to the rest of the state of North Carolina.
The outcomes of the BRIDGE project are to identify, mentor, and inspire these 8th graders to consider taking more and higher math and science classes in high school, prepare them for higher education, and inspire them to a possible STEM career in our community. Our staff at Horizons Unlimited, Catawba College, and our community partners all work in concert to create a spark of curiosity and excitement in a variety of STEM fields and research.
Neil Allen Pifer