The PEER Program is a unique and innovative educational outreach
effort with an emphasis on rural middle schools. The focus of this
program is to enrich and stimulate student interest in the areas of
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). To accomplish
this, the PEER program has a multifaceted approach directed at K-12
students and teachers, undergraduate and graduate students,
veterinary students, veterinarians, and scientists.
Through the encouragement and facilitation of scientists and
veterinarians to visit classrooms, we are helping students
recognize the connection between what they learn in school and what
is being done in the "real world." This motivates the students to
learn more and possibly encourages their pursuit of careers in
science and veterinary medicine. To date, scientists have visited
over 35,000 students through this endeavor. Additionally, after
being trained on pedagogy and presentation skills, graduate and
veterinary students design and implement lessons on various topics
in public schools. These experiences help hone their communication
and presentation skills while fostering public school students'
interest in STEM areas.
The PEER program is actively developing high quality
instructional resources that teachers can easily incorporate into
the classroom. These educational materials merge the curriculum
teachers must teach with current issues such as green energy
technologies and veterinary research topics. To facilitate the
specific requests from public school teachers, the Peer program
also maintains a distance learning community where graduate and
undergraduate students create teaching resources for activities and
online lessons. Various other materials are also available online,
such as video presentations by scientists, veterinarians,
veterinary students and graduate students. Currently, over 1,750
teachers have attended workshops that demonstrate how to
incorporate the many PEER materials into their classrooms.
I. Intensive Course in Research Writing
Each summer since 2008, Dr. Barbara Gastel, professor, has given
an intensive course in research writing, mainly for researchers
from Mexico. This 3-week course, which is held at the CVM, focuses
largely on writing scientific papers and also addresses other
aspects of scholarly and professional communication. Most
researchers arrive with a rough draft and leave with a manuscript
nearly ready to submit to a journal. Dr. Roberto Tuda Rivas, of the
Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, Unidad Torreón, coordinates the
Mexican aspect. CVM graduate students in science and technology
journalism supply some of the feedback on attendees' writing and
otherwise help with the course.
II. AuthorAID at INASP
AuthorAID at INASP (http://www.authoraid.info ), a project to help researchers in
developing countries write about and publish their work, has a
major base of activity in the Department of Veterinary Integrative
Biosciences. Barbara Gastel, professor, is knowledge community
editor for the project. This role includes developing and
maintaining the AuthorAID online resource library, providing weekly
blog posts, and giving workshops in developing countries (among
sites thus far: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Sri Lanka,
and Tanzania). AuthorAID graduate assistant Bernard Appiah promotes
the online-mentoring component of the project and otherwise
facilitates electronic interaction of AuthorAID community members.
The project as a whole is based at the International Network for
the Availability of Scientific Publications.