Workshops, Schools, Undergraduates, Neuroscience, Human learning, Neurons, Lectures, Hispanic people


Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Neuroscience as a discipline is rarely covered in educational institutions in Puerto Rico. In an effort to overcome this deficit we developed the Bridge to Neuroscience Workshop (BNW), a full-day hands-on workshop in neuroscience education. BNW was conceived as an auxiliary component of a parent recruitment program called Bridge to the PhD in Neuroscience Program (BPNP). The objectives of BNW are to identify promising students for BPNP, and to increase awareness of neuroscience as a discipline and a career option. BNW introduces basic concepts in neuroscience using a variety of educational techniques, including mini-lectures, interactive discussions, case studies, experimentation, and a sheep brain dissection. Since its inception in 2011 BNW has undergone a series of transformations that continue to improve upon an already successful and influential educational program for underrepresented minorities. As of Fall 2018, we have presented 21 workshops, impacting 200 high school and 424 undergraduate students. BNW has been offered at University of Puerto Rico (UPR)-Arecibo, UPR-Cayey, UPR-Humacao, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Ponce, and Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico-Arecibo. A pre-and post evaluation was given to evaluate material comprehension and thus measure effectiveness of our one-day interactive workshop. Our results suggest that both high school and undergraduate students have little prior knowledge of neuroscience, and that participation in BNW improves not only understanding, but also enthusiasm for the discipline. Currently, our assessment has only been able to evaluate short-term effects (e.g. comprehension and learning). Therefore, our current focus is developing methods capable of determining how participation in BNW impacts future academic and career decisions.

Original Citation

Colón-Rodríguez, A., Tiernan, C. T., Rodriguez-Tapia, E. S., & Atchison, W. D. (2019). Bridge to neuroscience workshop: An effective educational tool to introduce principles of neuroscience to Hispanics students. PLoS ONE, 14(12), 1–14.