Toward an Inclusive Next Generation of Physicians and Scientists
On a sunny day this past summer, a group of high school students was exploring a biomedical engineering lab on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus with obvious enthusiasm.
“I can show you all the different kinds of cells that we’re growing in the lab right now,” said Nashielli “Elli” Diaz, E22, an intern in the Integrated Biofunctional Imaging and Therapeutics (iBIT) lab, as the visiting students—mostly rising juniors and seniors from Boston and Medford public schools—took turns peering through a microscope.
The lab trip was part of a new, six-week summer program called Tufts Mini-Med Connect. The program, offered by Tufts University School of Medicine, gives high schoolers from groups that are underrepresented in the health sciences the opportunity to learn about careers in medicine and research. In addition to the faculty they met, the high schoolers were matched with undergraduate mentors—Diaz, Enrique Rodriguez, E23, and Marianne Chuy, E23—who were also finding their place in the scientific realm this past summer.
Mini-Med Connect is designed to provide future health leaders with resources and opportunities that may not have otherwise been offered to them. The goal is to cultivate an environment where students can explore cutting-edge medical science topics and careers while connecting with a community where they can ask questions about being Black, Indigenous or a person of color in STEM, and about college applications, financial aid, and participating in research as an undergrad.