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Psychology in the News

Erin Hardin awarded a 5-year NIH grant from the Science Education Partnership (R25) titled "Possibilities in Postsecondary Education and Science among Rural Appalachian Youth (PIPES)".

Congratulations to Erin Hardin on the award of a 5-year NIH grant from the Science Education Partnership (R25) titled "Possibilities in Postsecondary Education and Science among Rural Appalachian Youth (PIPES)".  The $963,000 grant is designed to work with appalachian high school youth to reduce barriers to going to college, focus on career exploration, provide mentoring and support and, ultimately increase college attendance in Appalachian youth with a particular emphasis on career options in science, technology, engineering, math, and medical science (STEMM).

Dr Hardin's Co-PI on the project is Melinda Gibbons (Educational Psychology).  Others collaborators on the multi-disciplinary project include Timothy Ezzell (Baker Center), Susan Benner (Office of Professional Licensure)  Steve Ripp (Biomedical Engineering), Travis Griffin (Engineering Diversity Programs), and Eric Heidel (Graduate school of Medicine).             

See http://tntoday.utk.edu/2015/07/02/ut-receives-grant-increase-stemm-interest-youth-rural-counties/ for a UT Press Release about the exciting project. 

A brief abstract of PIPES: Possibilities in Postsecondary Education and Science among Rural Appalachian Youth: 

Rural Appalachia is a medically underserved area whose residents experience significant healthcare disparities. Because of the insular nature of rural Appalachian communities, change from within is particularly important. Thus, attracting residents from these areas to the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research workforce may be essential for reducing the critical health disparities in the region. However, the low income, high unemployment, and substandard health care that epitomizes rural Appalachia evolves in part from a fundamentally devalued educational system. Studies show that students in these reduced-income rural schools have lower educational aspirations and are less likely to consider college as a viable option due to the contextual barriers they face, including limited economic resources, few role models with postsecondary education, a lack of active parental support, and a fear of 'fitting in' to the college lifestyle. However, studies also indicate that these same students possess a fiercely independent nature that would serve as a critical asset for achieving success in higher learning pursuits, and that strong cultural links would promote 'giving back' to their community's needs. Thus, rural Appalachian students possess the skills and capacities to succeed in a postsecondary educational environment if they could effectively confront and eliminate the perceived barriers preventing them from doing so. Our long range goal in this effort is to develop efficacious interventions that both reduce these contextual barriers (via mentoring and support) and increase interest in (via direct exposure to research and career options) pipeline science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical science (STEMM) majors among Appalachian youth. Our objective is to determine the extent to which such a multifaceted intervention strategy leads to increased intentions to pursue an undergraduate STEMM degree.

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