Promoting STEM awareness in East Texas: Stephen F. Austin State University ASBMB Student Chapter

Carmel Tovar, Stephen F. Austin State University

The ASBMB Student Chapter of SFA State University promotes STEM awareness by facilitating and supporting immersive programs for high school students. Through these efforts, students living in and around East Texas are more likely to take advantage of the resources which the university offers, to increase their awareness of the STEM field. Key programs include supporting the SFA STEM Academy, which provides laboratory experiences for high school students in university facilities. ASBMB members assist the supervising professors through troubleshooting experiments, solution preparation, and student engagement during laboratory times. The role of the ASBMB members is significant in two major ways. First, visiting students are able to see how involved and competent their college peers have become in these laboratories and get first-hand experience from them. Second, the younger students can easily identify with the ASBMB members, giving them encouragement that they too can achieve their educational goals. Other activities by ASBMB members include volunteering on some weekends to assist in setting up STEM-related activities for organizations like the Boy and Girl Scouts of America. ASBMB members also reach out to their own former high schools, where they give short presentations discussing their STEM experience at the university level. In their active mentorship of their younger peers, SFA’s ASBMB Student Chapter members are helping to facilitate and promote public awareness of biochemistry and molecular biology in line with the objectives of ASBMB.