With the many recent advances in the life sciences, biomedical issues are becoming a part of every day life. This is apparent in the use of DNA forensics in criminology, genetic screening for heritable disorders, and pharmacogenetics, tailoring drugs for individuals with relevant genetic differences. The great speed at which these issues evolve requires that the general public become more knowledgeable in order to make informed decisions regarding science in their lives. This necessitates that the scientific community participates actively in the education process of nonscientists. Therefore, the program functions to help prepare the leaders and the citizens of the future whom will be living in a world where scientific literacy is increasingly essential.
Yale scientists-in-training benefit from the teaching experience and involvement in the New Haven Community. Individuals with an interest in pursuing a teaching career gain experience working with young people and learn to communicate scientific concepts with individuals that are less sophisticated. This skill is very useful when scientists communicate with reporters, members of Congress, or business executives/venture capitalists.
Letters from the 7th graders, most of whom are from underrepresented minority groups, have consistently indicated that they enjoyed these activities, and some are now aspiring to scientific careers. We hope that all the students will be motivated to continue their enthusiasm and interest in learning about science.