The Citizen Science Lab, a nonprofit organization that provides STEM education to underserved youth in the Pittsburgh region, has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Eden Hall Foundation to enhance its SeaPerch program.
SeaPerch provides middle and high school students with the opportunity to learn robotics, engineering, science, teamwork and problem-solving skills while building an underwater remotely operated vehicle and navigating it through obstacle courses. Those skills prepare students for the international competition at the end of the year.
The Citizen Science Lab leads the largest African American SeaPerch team in the region, according to Andre Samuel, the nonprofit’s founder, president and chief executive officer.
Teresa Grande, a science teacher with the Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School, has seen the impact of The Citizen Science Lab firsthand.
“SeaPerch encourages and inspires the youth who are fortunate enough to participate,” she said. “The most rewarding aspect of SeaPerch has been watching my students’ interest in STEM flow over into the classroom and seeing my young ladies develop a true love of science.”
This grant widens accessibility to families within the community by enabling transportation for students from participating schools to the Citizen Science Lab locations. It also supports providing the SeaPerch program to high school students, allowing The Citizen Science Lab to maintain SeaPerch’s high retention rate for students moving from middle school to high school. The goal is for students to pursue degrees in robotics and engineering, ultimately increasing the number of STEM professionals.
Founded in 2015, The Citizen Science Lab is a nonprofit organization that has become a city leader in providing interactive Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programming.
Located in the Hill District neighborhood and South Hills region, the nonprofit provides an accessible space to connect young people with opportunities to increase STEM knowledge, academic achievement and self-confidence. It incorporates state-of-the-art laboratories that provide hands-on exposure to life science, biomedical, robotics, and biotechnology education for students, teachers, biomedical startups and adults.
The Citizen Science Lab has served more than 4,000 students from various communities, including the Hill District, Homewood, North Side, Penn Hills, Peters Township and Upper St. Clair.