ECU Students Mentor Local K-12 Youth in Science Education

This academic year, ECU students are helping foster K-12 student interest in science and increase student confidence, while serving as positive role models.

Twice a week, Nina Franklin, a biology undergraduate from Raeford, N.C., and Casey Nolan, a coastal resource management graduate student, visit the afterschool program "Dare 2B Different" in Ayden, N.C. The program, which targets at-risk youth, provides elementary and middle school students with a nurturing and educational environment outside of school.

"From the very first day that Casey and Nina came to the program, the youth were excited and thrilled to have them," said Rose Daniels, director of the Dare 2B Different afterschool program.

In the Dare 2B Different program, Franklin and Nolan facilitate group and individual science projects, and introduce the youth to new ways of understanding scientific concepts so they can apply them to what they observe in daily life. Students in the program choose a topic to research, and Franklin and Nolan mentor the students through the scientific process, helping them interpret their results.

"I'm always excited to see a student become interested in something that they weren't before," said Franklin.

"What I enjoy most is watching the confidence that students have in their research abilities grow over time," said Nolan. "Not only is that inherently rewarding, but it also tells me that what we area doing with this initiative is working."

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