An important part of our lab mission is to bring science to the general public and encourage the new generations to follow a career in STEM. We are especially interested in attracting historically underrepresented populations in this field, such as African American and Hispanic students, and we do this through different activities in our community.
Every year Dr. De Miguel organizes a group of about 20 volunteer scientists from the Division of Nephrology to visit inner city Elementary schools in the Birmingham area. These schools serve diverse students from low socioeconomic status who never had the chance to talk to a real scientist. We visit an average of 4 classrooms per school and bring hands-on activities to the children so they understand the basics of the scientific method, how the kidney works and what it means when your kidneys are damaged by cardiovascular disease. We started with a small operation, visiting only two classrooms/year, but over the years we have grown to visit 4 different schools (Oliver Elementary, Hayes Elementary, Tarrant Elementary and Oxmoor Valley Elementary) and we now reach around 400 students per year. We have also expanded our visits to after class activities in libraries near UAB (Avondale Library).