FLi Sci Scholars Program
At FLi Sci, we believe in the power of representation, acknowledging the adage, ‘You can’t be what you don’t see.’ And right now, low-income students of color do not see themselves in science. Our programming addresses this disparity by giving students furthest from academic science opportunities agency in exploring research as a career, resulting in a radical shift in the racial and socioeconomic diversity of our future leading scientists.
This mission is crucial because the current landscape of academia reveals a significant gap: Only about 10.1% of U.S. faculty members identify as racial minorities; 25% of science faculty come from households where at least one parent holds a Ph.D.—even though less than 2% of the entire U.S. population possesses a doctorate. And this is because the ability to access the ‘hidden curriculum’ —the unwritten values, norms, behaviors, and tacit knowledge vital for a successful transition into scientific careers—remains structurally inaccessible to many low-income students of color.
Programs changing the face of science are desperately needed to create a better world: a world where mortality rates for Black women are significantly reduced because more Black doctors are advocating for their health. A world where we have greater trust in advancements in A.I. research because people of color are at the forefront of such research. We aim for a world with a more diverse pool of clinically-trained psychiatrists, cancer researchers, and climate change scientists—a world FLi Sci is committed to creating.
At its core, the FLi Sci Scholars Program is a 2-year hands-on research fellowship program. In the program’s first year, 9th-12th grade students participate in weekly sessions to design a research project by helping them discover their scientific interests and talents. Our goal is that each student identifies a question that THEY are passionate about rather than prescribe them. Then, we match them with a PhD or MD student mentor currently pursuing research on a topic that aligns with our scholar’s interest. Their mentor, or FLi Sci Allies, will then advise our Scholars to complete a research capstone project they designed. Our goal of providing early exposure to research provides an early foundation that enables them to access other existing opportunities that set them on a college and career path toward science.
Beyond FLi Sci:
- FLi Sci Alumni Network: Graduates become part of a supportive network, offering mentorship to new scholars and networking opportunities.
- Continued Support: FLi Sci provides ongoing support, resources, and mentorship to help scholars navigate college, secure internships, and pursue advanced degrees in science.
- Impact Assessment: Regular assessments and surveys to measure the long-term impact of the program on scholars’ academic and career trajectories, contributing to continuous program improvement.
Exposure to real research
Discovering Passion and Building Foundations
Semester 1: Exploring and Inspiration
Month 1 – 2: Orientation and Introduction
Welcome students, introduce FLi Sci’s mission, values, and expectations.
Introduction to various scientific fields and career paths through guest lectures.
Ice-breaking activities to build a supportive community within the program.
Month 3 – 4: Exploration and Skill Development
Workshops on identifying personal interests and passions within the realm of science.
Interactive sessions with scientists from diverse backgrounds sharing their journeys.
Skill development sessions: scientific method, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork.
Month 5 – 6: Connecting with FLi Sci Allies
Introduce students to potential FLi Sci Allies (PhD and MD students) from various scientific disciplines.
Initial meetings between scholars and mentors to discuss potential research areas.
Match each scholar with a mentor based on shared research interests.
Semester 2 : Designing Personalized Research Projects
Month 1 – 2: Research Project Design
Workshops on research methodologies, literature review, and experimental design.
Proposal writing workshops to help scholars outline their research projects.
One-on-one sessions with FLi Sci Allies to refine research questions and project ideas
Month 3 – 4: Project Development and Implementation
Hands-on laboratory and field experiences guided by FLi Sci Allies.
Regular meetings with mentors to track progress, troubleshoot challenges, and refine methodologies.
Ethical considerations in research and responsible conduct of research workshops.
Month 5 – 6: Data Analysis and Presentation Skills
Data collection, analysis, and interpretation sessions.
Workshops on scientific communication: creating compelling presentations and writing research papers.
Practice sessions for research project presentations within the FLi Sci community.
Advancing Research Skills and Fostering Future Paths
Semester 1: Advanced Reseach and College Preparation
Month 1 – 3: Intensive Research and Mentorship
Scholars delve deeper into their research projects, conducting advanced experiments.
Regular meetings with FLi Sci Allies for in-depth discussions, feedback, and guidance.
Networking opportunities with other researchers and professionals in the field.
Month 4 – 5: College Preparation
College application workshops: essay writing, resume building, and interview preparation.
Exposure to college and scholarship application processes.
Information sessions on different science-related career paths, internships, and scholarships.
Month 6: Research Symposium and Future Planning
FLi Sci Research Symposium: Scholars present their completed research projects to the community, mentors, and invited guests.
Reflection sessions: scholars share their experiences and insights gained during the program
Individual meetings with mentors to discuss future educational and career paths in the scientific field.