Young People Learn about Careers in Addiction Research Through Scientists' Stories

Introducing young people to the work of scientists and encouraging them to pursue STEM-related careers is an important aspect of a new research-based science curriculum for middle school called Health in Our Hands: How can looking for thrills make me miserable? The unit, which explores the biology of addiction, starts with a video with teens’ testimonials about addiction to vaping. Students investigate the brain’s reward system from an evolutionary perspective, and examine its role in addictive behavior.

To make career connections, we partnered with public health students who produced wonderful videos as part of their course requirements. The videos featured plant biologist Dr. David Lowry from Michigan State University who studies evolutionary genomics and neuroscientist Dr. Shelly Flagel from University of Michigan who studies addiction in mice models. Our thanks to Ross Baiers, Madison Hafitz, and Erika Holiday, Health Behavior Health Education masters students from University of Michigan School of Public Health!

Health in Our Hands (HiOH) is a research project led by CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University in a community-academic-school partnership, supported by the NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA).