K-12 Outreach & STEM Programs
Cummings School prides itself on providing a unique assortment of K-12 STEM and other educational programs
Grafton 5th Grade Veterinary Medicine/Engineering Outreach Program
In 2005, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University faculty developed a curriculum on veterinary medicine for fifth-grade students at Grafton Elementary. In addition to learning about all the possibilities available for working with animals, students are engaged in veterinary-related projects to create devices through the engineering design process to solve medical problems in pet animals. The ongoing program is offered each spring and involves several veterinary faculty members who deliver the program to each 5th-grade classroom in Grafton.
Students from the Blackstone Valley school districts have attended a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) conference hosted on the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University campus annually since 2008. Over 100 students from the Blackstone Valley—the southernmost towns in Worcester County, Mass.—participated. Professionals from a variety of STEM fields were recruited to present workshops designed to excite and motivate middle school students toward a career in science, technology, engineering or math.
Cummings School is a member of the Central Mass STEM Pipeline Network established by the State Board of Education in 2004. The network works to increase student interest and achievement in STEM areas and to promote the successful completion of post-secondary degrees or certificates in STEM subjects. Each year Cummings School faculty participate in Innovation Month in the Worcester Public Schools providing interactive veterinary presentations that bridge medicine and engineering to 7th graders in their classrooms and at special symposia and science fairs.
Gap Junction is an after-school program for middle school students run by Cummings School student volunteers. Groups of middle school students from surrounding schools are brought to the Cummings School campus one afternoon per week for four weeks. During these afternoon sessions, the student volunteers conduct laboratories to illustrate a variety of subjects, including body systems, diseases and disease treatment. This program has been a success story for STEM education and veterinary school outreach in Central Massachusetts for more than 15 years.
Red Sox Scholars
Cummings School has hosted the Red Sox Scholars, a group of academically talented and financially challenged middle school students from the Boston Public Schools. These sixth-grade students spent the day holding lambs, grooming Cummings School's teaching horses, learning about anatomy, gathering rumen contents from Portia, the school's rumen-donor cow and learning the wonders of life on a veterinary school campus.
Worcester East Middle School's GEAR UP Program promotes higher education to low-income, first-generation students. Cummings School has hosted the students, providing them with a presentation on careers in veterinary medicine, along with an admissions discussion. In addition, the school's farm staff offered a presentation in order to provide students with an insight into a health professional program/school.
Norfolk County Agricultural High School
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University enjoys a well-established, successful and multi-faceted partnership with Norfolk County Agricultural High School in Walpole, Mass. We have long partnered in educational ventures and work with the school to provide veterinary services. As part of a Bio-Tech Career Pathways grant, Cummings School provides educational seminars for twelfth-grade Norfolk Aggie internship recipients. These students participate in lectures and hands-on activities focused on animals and biomedical sciences. Cummings School has also hosted livestock judging workshops for vocational agriculture students from across the state.
Advanced Placement Biology Day
Students from Grafton High School Advanced Placement biology and physiology classes spend the day on the Cummings School campus to experience hands-on activities, including modules on skeletal adaptations of vertebrates and body systems. In an associated program, Cummings School faculty have also hosted Grafton science teachers on the campus for summer externships.
High School Health Career Program
The High School Health Careers Program (HSHCP) targets Massachusetts high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds and/or groups that are under-represented in biomedical research, biotechnology and the health professions. These students spend several weeks in academic enrichment classes and internships in the healthcare and science professions. Each year, the group visits Cummings School, where they attend a lecture on possible careers within veterinary medicine followed by a tour of the campus and an admissions information session.
Worcester Technical High School
Cummings School is collaborating with Worcester Technical High School (WTHS) to establish a primary care clinic for under-served animals and their owners that will be located at the high school. The clinic assists economically disadvantaged segments of the Worcester population, including seniors on fixed income, individuals with disabilities, the unemployed, residents of subsidized housing and area rescue groups, with caring for their animals.
The educational purpose of the clinic is to provide hands-on, vocational education to veterinary assistant students from WTHS and primary care instruction and responsibility for Cummings School fourth-year veterinary students. We hope to add veterinary technician students from area community college programs in a second phase of clinic development.
Douglas High School Biotechnology Class
As part of a state-sponsored grant, Cummings School provided programming for the Douglas High School Biotechnology class. The students attended a workshop to learn more about transgenic goats and participated in a presentation about leading-edge biotechnology and business practices. The workshop included discussions about various issues facing the biotechnology industry. The talk was followed by a tour of the school's goat barn, a research talk and an ultrasound demonstration.