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Hope College REACH Program
Goals and History

Program Goals: The goals of the REACH program are four-fold. First, we aim to provide hands-on, high-quality and closely-mentored research opportunities for Holland area high school students and teachers in order to engage them in the excitement of scientific discovery. Secondly, by offering at least half of the REACH summer research positions to students from underrepresented groups that we hope will go on to study science or math at the college level, we aim to increase the diversity of students at Hope. Thirdly, by offering professional development opportunities for all of the REACH student participants, we aim to give them valuable information about college and careers that will encourage them to pursue science in college and beyond. Lastly, by working closely with Holland area students, parents, teachers, school administrators and business leaders, we aim to improve the communication and educational opportunities between Holland area students and teachers and Hope College faculty, staff and students.

Program History: Hope College created the Research Experiences Across Cultures at Hope (REACH) program in the fall of 2005 in order to build on the existing strengths of Hope's undergraduate research programs by providing opportunities for high school students and teachers to do research alongside Hope faculty members and undergraduates in the Natural and Applied Sciences Division. In particular, the creation of the REACH program is one of Hope's recent efforts to increase the diversity of students studying math and science at Hope. Many Hope faculty members, students and staff worked hard to support the twenty-nine high school students and two teachers that have participated in the REACH program in the first three summers.

Program Funding: For the first three summers, the REACH program was funded from a variety of sources including Hope College funds from the Provost's and Dean's offices, supplements from National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health awards to faculty members and departments and department discretionary funding. In the fall of 2008, Hope received $1.1 million dollars from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and part of that funding will support the REACH program in 2009 - 2012. In 2009 and 2010, four students each summer were given REACH scholarships through Exxon-Mobil's partnership with West Ottawa and Zeeland East High Schools. In 2010, Detroit Energy (DTE) provided funding for one of the exapnded REACH-2 pilot groups. We appreciate the support of all of these generous donors.

2006-2010 Program Outcomes:
• Of the 63 students that participated in 2006-2010, 51 of the students participated for one summer, nine students participated for two summers and two for three summers.
• 39 of the 63 participants have been members of underrepresented groups (Hispanic -19, African American - 5  and Asian American - 15) and of the 26 REACH participants from underrepresented groups who have since graduated from high school, we are sure that 20 of them are enrolled in college.  We are delighted that 10 of these 26 students are enrolled at Hope.
• In 2008, we received a record fifty-nine applications: nearly half of the applicants were female, twenty-one of the applicants were from underrepresented groups and four of the applicants participated in the program in 2007.
• In 2009, we received forty outstanding applications: sixteen of those applicants were from underrepresented groups, eighteen applicants were female and three of the applicants participated in the 2008 program.

• In 2010, we received 61 outstanding applications: 18 of those applicants were from underrepresented groups, 20 applicants were female and five of the applicants participated in the 2009 program.
•In their post-program evaluations, the majority of REACH participants from underrepresented groups said that their research experience had significantly impacted their interest in pursuing a career in science. Also, about half of these participants said that their research experience had significantly impacted their decision to attend college.

Comments from Participants:
“I learned so many interesting things during the brief five weeks and it helped me confirm my passion for biological science. The best part of the program is that it gives you hands-on experience. It's beneficial that the professors throw you into any kind of work regardless of your lack of experience. You get a huge crash course the first few days of working, but it prepares you for the real world.” - 2007 Participant

"I had an absolutely wonderful and invaluable experience through the REACH program. I loved waking up in the morning and being excited to go to "work," although it really shouldn't have been called that. What I most enjoyed was developing relationships with my professors, undergraduate and peer researchers, and everyone who helped to make the REACH program possible. I really couldn't have asked for a better summer." - 2008 Participant

" The REACH program was an incredible, unforgettable experience for me. This program became a quest for me in using science and engineering as an engine in addressing some of the crucial problems that we face today. By exposing myself to this challenging environment, my abilities to think critically and logically deepened, and I was able to attain new heights of learning. It became more than just a job, but a first in many steps toward college and my future career." - 2008 Participant

"I can't believe that for six weeks I was able to experience life on the front line of current scientific research. Hope's REACH program equipped me with the skills needed to conduct research and also allowed me to experience college life at Hope, and to build connections with Hope faculty and college students." - 2009 Participant

"The REACH program was a great experience. I enjoyed all of the people I worked with, and the upper level of thinking. My professor didn't just tell me what to do, he had me brainstorm, and use him as a last resort. This really made the experience worth while because I learned a lot! I also had the opportunity to continue working in the lab after the program was complete! Using the Stereo-taxic surgical instruments to perform brain surgery on rats was also very cool!!! I had a blast throughout the entire program, there was NEVER a dull moment!!!!" - 2009 Participant



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