BLOG: UK, Fayette County Schools' STEM Pipeline Program

As summer camp season wraps up and a new school year begins, this “Research Made Possible” podcast shares how University of Kentucky researchers across campus are targeting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. 

The STEM Through Authentic Research and Training (START) program at UK is partnering with Fayette County Public Schools to create a unique pipeline to increase STEM literacy and promote STEM careers for traditionally underrepresented populations (people of color, individuals with disabilities, students from free or reduced lunch schools), first-generation college students and girls and women in STEM.

The START program is funded by a five-year, $1.3 million Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health. 

Luke Bradley, a university Chellgren Endowed Professor, Lewis Honors faculty and associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience, is the principal investigator on the SEPA grant and START director. He says that because these demographics are underrepresented in the STEM professions, START will target underrepresented groups by offering real-world research experiences beginning in elementary school and continuing through graduate school. 

The podcast features the START team: Luke Bradley, Margaret Mohr-Schroeder (professor of STEM education and associate dean in the College of Education), Fara Williams (director of the Kentucky-West Virginia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program), Julie Bradley (assistant director of academic coaching in the Department of Transformative Learning) and Anthony Sinai (professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics in the UK College of Medicine).

Research reported in this podcast was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R25GM132961. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.