The Basic Science Partnership (BSP) program, founded in 1996 by David Van Vactor, is an outreach effort on the part of Faculty and predoctoral fellows at Harvard Medical School (HMS) to help augment science education for high school students in Massachusetts. BSP functions to help students understand the true nature of scientific discovery and its significance for the individual, as well as providing role models to illustrate biomedical science careers.
The program works with local educators to develop curriculum and laboratory activities that give young people the opportunity to see how important science technologies work first hand. We first ask teachers what we can provide to enhance to their science curriculum.
In the high school classroom we have offered equipment and supplies for experiments that are beyond the resources of most schools. In the past, we have developed a molecular genetics unit where students learn how to purify and manipulate DNA, with mock forensic scenarios to teach potential applications of DNA technologies outside of the lab. We have also developed units on classical genetics and model organisms. We sponsor summer science camps through partnerships with after-school programs for middle school students. Using this approach we have reached hundreds of young people.
Although our efforts have been focused mainly on our closest neighbors in the community, summer high school interns have come to participate in the BSP Fellows program from cities across the USA.