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"It's not crazy sci-fi stuff"

Patterson High School students get a sneak peek at college-level science thanks to Distinguished Science of Learning fellow Corbin Cunningham
Posted March 14, 2018
After seeing students' enthusiasm for his line of work during a visit to Patterson High School, Distinguished Science of Learning Fellow Corbin Cunningham designed a daylong program on Hopkins' campus that exposed them to the fun — and accessibility — of college-level science. After seeing students' enthusiasm for his line of work during a visit to Patterson High School, Distinguished Science of Learning Fellow Corbin Cunningham designed a daylong program on Hopkins' campus that exposed them to the fun — and accessibility — of college-level science.

Distinguished Science of Learning Fellows are expected to participate in a dissemination project that shares their research beyond the walls of Hopkins. Cunningham knew exactly which audience he wanted to reach.

In 2015, he and a fellow doctoral student, Mark Schurgin, PhD (A&S '17), guest-lectured in an AP Psychology class taught by Chris Baron, MEd (Edu '17). Cunningham recalls being "blown away by the kids' desire to learn" and the following year co-piloted a program with Schurgin to bring Baron's Patterson High School students for a visit to Hopkins' Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Cunningham expanded that program to a daylong visit to Hopkins in November 2017, including mini-lectures by graduate students and a visit to a working lab, where they could put their hands on the tools of behavioral scientists. Twenty-five students have visited the Homewood campus through this program in the past two years.

"They get to see that it's not crazy sci-fi stuff, but scientists trying to figure out how the world works," he explains.

For the students, Baron says, it's the highlight of the whole year.

"The experiences at JHU have motivated them in class and generated important interest in pursuing psychology in college," he says.

Learn how Cunningham's Science of Learning research may have important implications for how we diet and manage weight

To learn more about the Science of Learning Institute, please contact Kristin Gagnier, assistant director of dissemination, translation, and education.