The goal of the FRI Ambassador Program is to promote the Freshman Research Initiative in Texas high schools by sending FRI sophomores and veterans to share the benefits of the program with their former science teachers and their classes. Ambassadorsgive poster presentations or brief talks about their research and provide information about the FRI program, in general. If you are interested in returning to your high school and gaining valuable speaking experience, contact Dr. Eman Ghanem.
Undergraduates who have engaged in research have learned first hand the skills necessary not only to conduct experiments successfully, but also how to balance the demands of coursework with the time commitments of research. Peer mentors in the FRI have the opportunity to share what they have learned with freshmen, many of whom are engaging in original research for the first time.
AISD Middle School Science Mentorship
Undergraduates in the FRI program are ideal mentors for middle school and high school students who are participating in science fairs and discovery-based school projects. Our pilot program matches FRI mentors with students in Austin classrooms. These mentors help by “brainstorming” with them on science fair projects, discussing scientific method and experimental design and by providing role models.
This program is in collaboration with UTeach Outreach, a long standing middle school enrichment program run through the College of Natural Sciences.
Students are also encouraged to select outreach activities that reflect their strengths and interests such as Science Olympiad, GirlStart, and Dean's Scholars Middle School Enrichment Program.
This summer program pairs middle school students with a scientist at the University of Texas for a tour of the scientist’s lab and experiments in progress. The goal of the program is to provide the opportunity for young students to cultivate their interest in science and allow them to experience first-hand what a scientist does on a daily basis.
FRI students and faculty are excited about the newest generation of scientists and can be contacted to judge local and regional science fairs (elementary through high school). If you are a teacher or school interested in having FRI students and/or faculty come to your science fair, or you are a student interested in judging, please click here.
FRI at Science Olympiad
UT Austin sponsors a regional Science Olympiad tournament, bringing over 500 middle and high school students to campus in February to compete in science and engineering events. FRI students work with UT-Austin Science Olympiad coordinators to run the "Experimental Design" competition for both middle and high school competitors. FRI students designed, ran and judged the event in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Community Outreach Programs
FRI has a booth at the large Explore UT event every year
FRI also partnered with the UTeach Summer Master’s Program by providing in-depth research experiences for Master's degree students alongside our undergraduate researchers. This program began in the summer of 2009 with 11 Biology Masters Students. Masters students gain both authentic research experience and an understanding of the ways young students learn scientific and research techniques.
Summer Workshop for Science Teachers
Through a collaboration between UTeach and FRI, Dr. Stan Roux and Dr. Greg Clark provide a summer workshop entitled "Discovery Lab: Teach your students how to use strong inference in the discovery process" based upon both the long standing tradition of Discovery Learning practiced by Drs. Roux and Clark and the experiences and data garnered through the FRI.
For more information on FRI Outreach, please contact Dr. Greg Clark, FRI Outreach Coordinator.