Summer Program Exposes High School Students to Neural Engineering

Achievement date: 

To expose more pre-college students to the field of neural engineering, a week-long program brings students to campus for hands-on activities, lectures, and lab tours delivered by the Center for Neurotechnology (CNT), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) based at the University of Washington (UW).


The new YSP-REACH program introduced high school students to neural engineering, neuroethics, scientific communication, and the latest developments in brain-computer interfaces. Post-program evaluation data confirms that the YSP-REACH program helped students decide their college majors, increased understanding of CNT research, and helped students to learn about possible career paths in STEM fields.

CNT at the UW established the YSP-REACH program in 2017. In 2019, the CNT at San Diego State University, a partner institution, adapted the REACH program and provided a two-week summer camp for 14 middle and high school students to explore the field of neural engineering.
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic spurred the CNT to consider new ways to continue its work with pre-college students. The CNT temporarily halted in-person educational programming. Instead, during the summers of 2020 and 2021, the CNT provided a virtual version of its REACH program with real-time, online lectures from CNT researchers and asynchronous learning using an online Pressbook. The virtual version permitted many students to join the REACH program (65 students in 2020 and 94 students in 2021). The Center anticipates that the CNT will continue to offer the virtual or hybrid REACH program.