SIUE UBMS Students Introduced to Environmental Science Courtesy of NSF Grant from STEM Center | Press Releases


(LR) Ruby Cortez (left) and Anjelica Gonzalez, seniors at UBMS, consult the scientific data online. Kaylee Cooper, a freshman at UBMS, and Tremonte Dickerson, a junior at UBMS, are also investigating the website.

December 14, 2021 – Robots that help improve the environment, like removing pollution from the oceans, are science works Kaylee Cooper, 14, would like to help lead when she gets older.

Cooper, a student in the Mathematics and Science (UBMS) program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Upward Bound, is excited to learn more about environmental science through the Youth-Led Citizen Science Network for Community program. Environmental Assessment (Y-CITYSCI) presented by UBMS.

The new UBMS offering at Collinsville High School is made possible by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovative Technologies for Students and Teachers (ITEST) grant for middle and high school students awarded to the SIUE Center for STEM Research, Education and Awareness, according to Desiree Tyus, UBMS Program Director.

“Our students, who are conscientious and eager to learn, easily grasp new concepts and ideas,” said Tyus. “Our average student’s GPA is 3.5 this semester. They continually demonstrate their desire to academically challenge themselves, while voluntarily engaging in authentic STEM learning experiences.

“There’s the pollution aspect to consider,” continued Cooper, a freshman at Collinsville High. “You can build robots to do things humans can’t, to help the environment. If we pollute the ocean, we will not be able to use its water. If we pollute the air, we won’t be able to breathe.

Cooper joined his classmates from UBMS after school on Thursday, December 2 at Collinsville High for the second session of the semester course, which will be an ongoing offering throughout the spring and summer.

The program is a collaboration between UBMS, the SIUE Center for STEM Research, Education and Outreach, and the SIUE Department of Environmental Sciences.

“The faculty and staff of the STEM Center lead, manage and support the YCITYSCI program through the design of educational activities and the coordination of research experiences for young people,” explained Principal Investigator (PI) Georgia Bracey. , PhD, Assistant Research Professor at SIUE STEM Center. “Environmental science faculty and graduate students support the youth program and mentor high school students, providing expertise in scientific content and the use of a variety of high-tech sensors and drones. to collect and analyze data on soil, air, noise and landscape. By working together, the project team guides high school students in conducting authentic and relevant environmental research.

“We hope that by engaging in authentic science, these students will become more aware of what science is and what a career in science might look like. “

“This grant provides our students with experiential learning opportunities outside of the classroom and enables them to make meaningful connections and apply their learning in the real world,” Tyus added. “Poverty is a significant barrier to career development for young people in low-income communities, and ITEST is helping to remove this barrier. Ongoing exposure to a variety of professions STEM cultivates knowledge and promotes students’ ability to visualize their future as a data scientist, microbiologist, environmental or conservation scientist, hydrologist, and more.

During the extracurricular session, Harben Branco Filho, graduate student of UBMS, presented “Data and Citizen Science”.

“The purpose of the presentation was to expose students to what data is and why it is important to collect data in science,” said Filho.

“Science is a way to explain the natural world,” he continued. “Data is a collection of measurements and observations, and there is qualitative data, which is not numeric, and quantitative data, which refers to a number. Citizen science is the participation of the general public in scientific research, often through the collection of data. Citizen science is useful in conservation efforts, environmental justice, community engagement, research, and more.

Students were divided into groups and viewed on iPads, provided by the grant. On the website, the general public contributed scientific research, according to Filho.

“At the end of the next semester, the students will carry out their own projects,” Filho proposed. “But in order for them to be able to do their own projects, they need to understand what data is and what science is. After each session the students will develop their knowledge base. Then in the spring they will do a group project. for the benefit of the community All materials to be used will be provided by the grant.

“It’s a great grant program,” said Daniel Toberman, principal of Collinsville High School. “Every time we bring in more people with STEM skills to work closely with our students, it’s great. The diversity of experiences they receive is wonderful. We have classes here that provide a lot of STEM education, but this program enriches our curriculum, which is exciting.

“My hope is that we empower students to take advantage of what they have learned about their environment and share their passions or personal concerns with other members of their community,” said Candi Johnson, program coordinator. SIUE STEM Center and resource manager. “It is important that our young people, especially those from groups traditionally under-represented in STEM fields, are educated and supported as they learn to form their own opinions about the importance and health of their environment. We are excited to help our students learn ways to effectively express these opinions to find solutions to problems, or ways to support assets, that affect them and their neighbors.

The SIUE Upward Bound Math & Science (UBMS) program helps young people prepare for higher education and serves Collinsville students. Participants receive math and advanced science lessons during the school day, homework help and hands-on STEM workshops twice a week after school, as well as cultural, vocational and academic preparation on Saturdays. During the summer, students participate in a six-week residential program that allows participants to reside on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus and prepare for college. The services provided prepare students to successfully complete high school and enter post-secondary STEM programs. The program is designed to serve low income and / or potential first generation students who are currently in Grades 9 to 12. For more information on how you can get involved with our program, please visit us at

The SIUE Center for STEM Research, Education and Outreach comprises an independent group of researchers and educators, who innovate in ways to engage students and the public in science, technology, engineering and science. mathematics (STEM). Within the SIUE Graduate School, the Center brings together research professors, graduate students and practitioners to conduct educational research. The Center brings educational expertise to SIUE undergraduate classes, offers professional development to K-12 teachers, and has a large library of equipment and resources, which can be loaned free to on-campus instructors and of the region. For more information, visit


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