The BioTrac program adds a component to the Miami Museum of Science's Upward Bound Math and Science Center
that focuses on biomedical career exploration and research. The overall goal of the program is to increase the
number of students interested in, and prepared to enter, the biomedical research pipeline. In addition to engaging
students already participating in the Upward Bound center, new students are recruited from partner high schools in
the Miami area.
Beginning in October, BioTrac activities are carried out on Saturdays and teacher planning days during the academic year. The program engages students with a variety of activities including hands-on, inquiry-based experiments, field trips, guest speakers, interpretation in the Museum's galleries, a biomedical career fair, college preparation seminars, and tours of colleges in the Miami area and statewide.
Students who participate in the BioTrac Saturday elective also complete community research projects. After learning the basics of interviewing, digital photography, and video editing, students work in teams to complete the research. Their assignment is to document the ways in which the community has been affected by the "Healthy People" topic being addressed. Final project presentations are created using Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple iMovie. BioTrac participants get the opportunity to share their projects at the Museum's Family Night and also at youth summits and conferences.
The summer portion of the BioTrac project begins with a week long college immersion
experience at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) and the
University of Florida (UF).
While at the two universities, students explore biomedical facilities and degree programs as they partner
with students enrolled in summer science programs at each institution. Students who are rising seniors
also participate in College Summit, a four-day workshop that focuses on the college application process.
Students who have participated in all preliminary BioTrac activities have
the opportunity to interview and apply for placement in a paid summer research internship in a University
of Miami School of Medicine research laboratory. Beginning in July, students spend six to eight weeks
working side by side with scientists, professors, and college students who are conducting research in
a variety of biomedical disciplines.