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Photonics Xplorers and Leaders: Challenging Diverse Students in a Flat World for Emerging Careers

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The Photonics programs address the question of how to integrate scientific content, student encouragement, and parental support to engage minority high school students to experience success in areas of a national need. Historical data indicates African Americans do not take advanced mathematics and science courses, especially physics, in high school. Therefore, we propose using a variety of strategies for providing instruction in leadership, experimentation, research writing, communications and scientific presentation to work with students, families and teachers in promoting selection of and academic achievement in challenging science courses. Seventy-five African American students are participating in year-round Photonics programs at The Science House on NC State University’s Centennial Campus. Students from sixteen counties in North Carolina learn about fiber optics, communications and the properties of light.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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