Inclusiveness and diversity take center stage, as one PBS director passes the torch to the next
How many kids grow up aspiring to be experimental psychologists, or scientists of any stripe? It’s a question that PBS professor Preston Garraghty has contemplated for the past 16 years as director of STARS, Science, Technology and Research Scholars Program in the IU College of Arts and Sciences.
Each year about a dozen, science-oriented high school seniors along with several IU freshmen are admitted to STARS. From the outset the STARS program places them in a lab and provides professional guidance throughout their college career. It also puts them amidst a cohort of other STARS students across the College, who get together several times a year to share their research, give talks, and participate in bi-annual poster sessions including a spring symposium where selected students give talks about their work.
However, as Garraghty knows all too well, though many kids aspire to be doctors, it is rare to find aspiring scientists among high school students, especially those from families and communities with few resources. As Garraghty’s new successor in the program, PBS professor Heather Bradshaw explains, doctors are visible in popular culture in a way that scientists are not.” Think “Grey’s Anatomy,” “ER,” a certain long-running daytime soap, and numerous others.