University of Mississippi Medical Center and multiple high schools in central Mississippi

Duration of partnership: 20 years
20+ volunteers annually
Has benefitted 2,235 students

University Medical Center just completed the 20th year of its Base Pair program in central Mississippi high schools. The original Base Pair concept comprises a biomedical research mentorship class at Murrah High School and related programs of SOAR, or Student Oriented Academic Research, and the Rural Biomedical Initiative, at other high schools named previously. Each program was developed by a high school teacher who participated in and was trained through teacher professional development activities created by Base Pair. The Base Pair program and its partnership schools have stimulated scientific interest, career advancement for teachers and students, and educational curriculum development across central Mississippi.

Students involved in the Base Pair program participate in daily laboratory research with Medical Center faculty mentors and in intensive four-week summer research activities, and the program's annual Summer Research Institute has trained 134 teachers. Base Pair, in collaboration with Enterprise High School Princeton Learning Center, sponsored regional bioscience contests for high school students. Students also developed and presented two evening Community Science Forums at University Medical Center for the general public.

Over the years, a total of 178 students have participated in Base Pair biomedical research mentorship classes, producing 257 student-authored formal scientific publications and presentations since 1992. The graduation rate for Base Pair students is 100%, with over 99% college enrollment. Six Base Pair alumni have received or are training for medical degrees from University Medical Center, and 61 graduates are in or have completed post-baccalaureate training. Since 1994, 119 teacher-initiated external grants have been awarded, with a 74% rate of funding and over $439,000 new funds generated.