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The Quarterly Connection: July 2023

Highlighting the work of the Office for Educational Outreach and Pathway Initiatives

Welcome to The Quarterly Connection, where we dive a little deeper into our programming as well as share upcoming activities and opportunities for you to engage in. In our July 2023 edition, we are excited to highlight the work of the Office for Educational Outreach and Pathway Initiatives (EOPI). Throughout the school year and summer, EOPI stays busy in support of potential future students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in science professions. This dedicated team is committed to providing sustained, comprehensive programs across all educational levels to promote access and increase the numbers of underrepresented populations in healthcare, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and research professions.

In June, we had 40 students join us for our Middle School Exploratory Day. Many of the attendees came from Girls Inc. of Denver and others were from other surrounding middle schools. The agenda included a panel discussion, live demonstrations, campus tours, raffle drawings, and a white coat experience. The panel included a diverse pool of professionals from across the Anschutz Medical Campus. We would like to give special recognition to the following panelists who participated: Reema Amin, Diana Edwards, C. Rashaan Ford, Emily Benson, and Chandler Follett. 

The entire team from the Office of Educational Outreach and Pathway Initiatives was present and we are looking forward to next year's Middle School Exploratory Day. If you would like to participate in future events, please contact Sothary Chea at sothary.chea@cuanschutz.edu.

A group of middle school students smile while wearing white coats in front of a black backdrop

Middle school scholars enjoying a white coat experience.

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In partnership with the Colorado School of Public Health, we piloted our Middle School Program STEM curriculum and activities at two Boys and Girls Club sites for rising 6th through 8th graders this summer. Additionally, this fall we will collaborate with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College Middle School to launch our STEAM program. What an exciting time to form new relationships with our community educators!

The CU Pre-Health Scholars (CUPS) currently serves scholars from 9th grade through 12th grade in high school and is an academic enrichment and support program designed to build cultural confidence and expose first-generation, low-income students and students from underserved communities to high impact events, research, STEAM, and healthcare careers while preparing our scholars to be competitive applicants for post-secondary education, and matriculate into a professional health career program or graduate school program.  

Our summer intensive session has come to an end, and we are excited to share our adventures and exploration. Scholars engaged in courses including 3D Anatomy, Ethnic Studies, Cultural Anthropology, and Introduction to Public Health. Scholars explored healthcare through practicing the technique of suturing wounds and incisions, earned CPR certifications, and compounded their own lip balm with the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

A student from the CU Anschutz School of Pharmacy guides two CU Pre Health Scholars through a lip balm compounding exercise in a pharmacy learning lab
A student from the School of Pharmacy guides two Pre-Health Scholars through a lip balm compounding activity in one of the pharmacy learning labs.

Our Scholars reached new heights and took physics to the next level at the indoor skydiving facility iFly, where they learned how to predict their own terminal velocity using measurements and algebraic reasoning. Next, they entered the world of bugs and marveled at their adaptive genius at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and before departing they stopped by the Planetarium to zip through other-worldly wormholes and witness the violent death of a star and subsequent birth of a black hole.

Lastly, they toured the world through the Arvada Center where they engaged in Japanese Taiko Drumming, Senufo Inspired Mud Painting, and the Language of African Drumming. Their last stop on their world tour was Mexico with ArtistiCO where scholars learned the importance of uplifting Latino culture though artistry and dance.

The next recruiting cycle for CUPS will open August 2023, for a summer 2024 start and our application will be open to middle school 6th-8th grade and continue to be open for 9th-12th grade.

A group of CU Pre Health Scholars sit at a table outside for a Senufo mud painting activity.
CU Pre-Health Scholars practicing their Senufo Mud Painting skills.

Scholars from the Pre-Collegiate programs at CU Anschutz, CU Boulder, UCCS, and CU Denver gathered for a summer mixer at CU Anschutz. The event was a great opportunity for scholars to connect, network, and create new relationships with other scholars from across the state.

The mixer kicked off with a welcome from the Pre-Collegiate program’s staff. Following the welcome, scholars participated in icebreakers and outdoor activities. They had the chance to learn more about each other's backgrounds, interests, and goals.

The mixer was a success; scholars left feeling energized and excited about the upcoming school year. They were grateful for the opportunity to meet new people and to make connections with other scholars who share their passion for education.

Three pre-collegiate students from CU enjoy a summer mixer activity at CU Anschutz
CU Pre-Collegiate program participants enjoy some time outside at the summer mixer.

The Undergraduate Pre-Health Program (UPP) recently held its annual Career Exploratory Week and Summer Internships. The week-long event helps students learn more about different healthcare professions and gain valuable field experience.

During Career Exploratory Week, participants heard presentations from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Medicine, College of Nursing, and the School of Dental Medicine. They also learned about pathways to professional programs, how to ask for great letters of recommendation, and how to get certified in First Aid/CPR. In addition, participants attended the GlobalMindED Conference.

In addition to the Career Exploratory Week, UPP participants experienced summer internships. These internships allowed students to work in various healthcare settings.

The Summer Undergraduate Multicultural Mentoring in Translational Science (SUMMiT) program hosted its 2023 summer sessions. The program was a great success, with participants gaining valuable experience and knowledge in the fields of science and research.

Participants had the opportunity to attend the Meet the Leaders Luncheon Sessions. These sessions featured a welcome luncheon, a discussion on applying to graduate school, and a presentation on networking and professionalism. Participants had the opportunity to learn from and connect with experienced professionals in the field of translational science.

To end the program, participants will attend a Colorado Rockies baseball game. This was a fun and exciting way for participants to celebrate their accomplishments and network with each other.

The Health Science Career Pathways Hub, an online resource for individuals and units across campus working with trainees and minors, is being revamped this summer. We are working towards a few goals which include streamlining processes and practices for all programs doing K-16 student outreach, introducing new technology to better collect data, and creating several trainings for faculty and staff.

Currently we are working to streamline the onboarding process for all program volunteers, interns, and participants. We understand this is a lengthy process and look forward to bringing you an organized, step-by-step process that will be located on the Pathways Hub webpage. To create a centralized space for all of our programs, we ask that all program managers and/or coordinators who are doing student or trainee engagement work to complete our Program Application Survey by Friday, August 11 if you haven’t already.

If you’re interested in expanding your knowledge about the Pathways Hub outside of the webpage, we highly encourage you to attend our monthly pathway trainings, which will include topics such as onboarding, badging, working with minors, and more. Keep an eye out for a training schedule soon. 


The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) (2019) recommends that allies avoid careless words referring to historical trauma or socioeconomic conditions. The word "pipeline" can be one of these words, as it can be considered offensive to various groups for many reasons.

  • Oil companies often use pipelines to transport crude oil through sacred indigenous lands. This can be seen as a violation of indigenous rights and a disregard for the importance of these lands to indigenous peoples.
  • The term "pipeline" can also have negative connotations related to the "school-to-prison pipeline." This is a term used to describe the phenomenon of students from marginalized communities being disproportionately funneled into the criminal justice system. The use of the word "pipeline" in this context can be seen as dehumanizing and stigmatizing.
  • The word "pipeline" can also be seen as promoting a colonialist perspective. This is because the term implies that there is only one way to achieve success, which is predetermined and narrow. This can be seen as invalidating the experiences and choices of people from marginalized communities.

In light of these concerns, the NCAI recommends that allies use the word "pathway" instead of "pipeline." The word "pathway" is more inclusive and respectful, as it implies that there are many ways to achieve success and that people have the opportunity to create their own paths.

Prior to Proposition 209 (1995), underrepresented minorities (URM) made up 20% of first-year college students at the University of California system. After Proposition 209 banned affirmative action in California, URM enrollment decreased to 15%. However, in the fall of 2018, low-income students were more represented than ever before at UC campuses. Many of these students come from families with incomes below $58,000. In fact, for the first time, lower-income students are overrepresented as first-time college students at UC.  This increase in low-income student enrollment is due in part to the Student Academic Preparation and Educational Partnerships (SAPEP) program. SAPEP is a portfolio of programs that provide academic preparation and support to K-12 students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Some of the initiatives that SAPEP has implemented include:

  • Partnerships with every high school and community college in California to align readiness standards (known as A-G courses).
  • Conducting research that enhances educational policy and practice across California and is directly relevant to increasing equity along its education pathway.
  • Engaging in partnerships with secondary schools, other education sectors, community-based organizations, and business/industry partners to address inequities in opportunity and improve access.
  • As a result of these efforts, SAPEP has helped to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared for and have access to college. This is a significant achievement, and it is one that is helping to make UC more diverse and inclusive.

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