Neurosciences Student Mentoring and Research Training Program (Neuro-SMART)

Since 2012, the Evolving Brain Laboratory (EBL) has run a successful semester-long high school STEM class. This class allows qualifying high school students the opportunity to participate in neuroscience research while earning college credit through Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC).

The goal of the program is to increase the number of health science students from underrepresented STEM groups by improving college and career readiness of Iowan youth. Participating students are recruited through the Central Campus Health Sciences program at Des Moines Public Schools’ Central Academy, and include high school students from across the greater Des Moines area, including East, Hoover, Lincoln, North and Roosevelt High School. To date, we have had 76 students (including juniors and seniors) successfully complete the course and several have gone onto competitive undergraduate science programs, research internships and have presented their research at state and district science fairs. We continue to work closely with our industry sponsor Kemin and are grateful for the generous support we’ve received from grants through the Verizon Foundation, Kemin Industries (Human Nutritional and Health Division), Des Moines University and the Iowa Governors STEM Advisory Council. Together we can make Iowa a beacon for STEM education and help address the workforce needs of our region.



For questions regarding the program, please contact Muhammad Spocter, Ph.D. at or 515-271-1577.

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