PreK-12 Programs


"No single person can train all of the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people."

- President Barack Obama's 2013 Inaugural Address


The pipeline of trainees for all Center programs starts with secondary school students. The goal of the Center's PreK-12 Research Program is to improve the STEM learning of all PreK-12 students. Through our PreK-12 programs, we aim to increase communication between VCU and local public school systems, increase collaborations among PreK-12 teachers and students and university scientists and students, and to develop sustained infrastructures to support the long-term programming and innovations in teaching and learning. 


PreK-12 Program Components 

ENGAGE- Local public school systems in collaborations designed to stimulate teaching and learning in biomedical research

EXPOSE- PreK-12 teachers and students in high-quality biomedical research and professional training 

EMPOWER- PreK-12 students to make informed decisions about pursing careers in biomedical research 


Current Undergraduate Research Training Opportunities 

The goal of the Health Educational Research Opportunity-Teacher (HERO-T) program is to help improve the quality of science teaching, as well as, student achievement in secondary science classes by providing teachers with a substantive two-year research and professional development experience. The anticipated outcomes are that teachers who participate in this summer research experience will have:

  • Higher retention rates
  • Have improved ability to communicate scientific concepts to their students have a greater understanding of the applications of science to everyday life
  • Have improved research skills and knowledge
  • Furthermore a translational impact of this experience is that students in these teachers' classes will improve their academic performance in science

Learn more about HERO-T here.



Elizabeth Edmondson, PhD: Director, VCU HERO-T