Science is everywhere, if you think about it. From the food we eat to the cellphones we all carry, to the changing climate and the phenomena it brings, all it takes is a curious mind and the means to investigate, and you’ve got fertile grounds for inquiry, discovery and engagement with the world around us.
That’s the inspiration behind UC Santa Barbara’s SciTrekBiotech, a science-based educational outreach and discovery program for schoolkids designed to capitalize on the natural curiosity of young, K-12 minds and guide them in scientific thinking and experimentation. Now, with approximately $3 million in funding over three years from the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Defense Educational Program (NDEP), and a focus on biotechnology outreach and workforce development, the program aims to help create the next generation of scientists and technologists — people the country will need to solve emerging problems and stay competitive in an increasingly technological society.
“I’m pretty proud of our SciTrek team and I think we’re having a huge impact,” said the program’s cofounder Norbert Reich, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC Santa Barbara. “Three million dollars is just going to blow it away for us. My goal is really to do such good work that they’ll want to continue supporting the program.”