California’s diverse high school students get additional stem cell lab experience

Yesterday’s governing board meeting in Sacramento included an agenda packed with meaty discussion items. We’ll be blogging about those items over the next few days. You can read the agenda here to see what was up for vote and discussion. We always audiocast our board meetings and put that information in the agenda for those who want to hear the conversation in real time. Transcripts are also posted a few weeks later to the page listing all public meetings.

We encourage people to attend our board meetings in person. For those who can’t make it, here’s one scientist’s impression of what a meeting is like. Paul Knoepfler is a CIRM grantee at the University of California, Davis, who also has a blog about stem cell science. He attended yesterday’s meeting and introduced himself to the board as both a scientist and a patient advocate—he is a cancer survivor.

One notable item from yesterday was the decision by our governing board to support $1.7 million for a high school summer internship program called the Creativity Awards. We’ve blogged quite a bit about this program including this post previewing their meeting, this post about the work the students presented at their meeting, this post about one of the recipients who went on to be a semifinalist in two national science competitions, and this post about an award going to one of the Creativity Award hosts.

The reason for all these posts is that we’re really excited about this program. It brings in high school students from all socioeconomic backgrounds and gives them experience in California’s stem cell labs.

Here’s what CIRM president Alan Trounson had to say about the awards in the press release from yesterday’s meeting:

“This program exposes high school students to cutting edge medical research and encourages the kind of creative thinking that leads to groundbreaking discoveries,” said Alan Trounson, CIRM President. “The pilot program last summer demonstrated the demand for stem cell research opportunities among California’s young people. Expanding the program and extending it for three years will inspire more students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to pursue careers in stem cell science and nurtures the creative thinking that will help them be successful.”

That release also lists the nine recipients of the awards. This video gives a flavor of the kinds of research carried out by the diverse students who participated in last year’s pilot program of the Creativity Awards:


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