EiSci: Targeting Teens Who Like Science

Choosing a career can be a daunting exercise for high school students. Hands-on experience and counseling can help enormously, and that’s why Einstein students established the Einstein Science High School Mentoring Program (EiSci) three years ago. Some 25 medical and graduate student volunteers organize events aimed at getting Bronx high schoolers interested in science- and healthcare-based careers.

“EiSci’s mission is to improve the academic and future career prospects of Bronx public high school students through mentoring and by exposing them at a young age to careers in science and medicine,” says Barbara K. Birshtein, Ph.D., a professor of cell biology who works with the EiSci volunteers. Dr. Birshtein is also the director of training grant support programs and scientific director in the training and educational grants office at Einstein.

The EiSci program currently partners with Pelham Lab High School, Renaissance High School and Schuylerville Prep. EiSci outreach members meet with the teens twice a month after school. They also organize workshops at Einstein where students can experience introductory-level science and medicine and are encouraged to ask questions.

Engaging Students

Last year, EiSci sponsored the Biomedical Science Careers Student Exploration Day, which welcomed
tenth graders from the three high schools. The event began in Einstein’s Education Center, where Libusha Kelly, Ph.D., an assistant professor of systems & computational biology and of microbiology & immunology, shared her career path with the visitors. Then came tours of various core facilities that aid Einstein researchers in their work. The day concluded with a Q&A session and a talk about clinical research.

“It’s about helping students who show interest in science and medicine to acquire essential skills,” says third-year Ph.D. student Leah Guthrie, co-organizer of the event and co-founder of EiSci.

This year, the EiSci team hopes to add two new partners: Herbert H. Lehman High School and Bronx River High School.