The Lang Science Program at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is a six-year sequence of science learning experiences and college and career readiness supports for high-potential students, at least half of them from low-income families. About 23 rising 6th graders are selected to participate each year through a competitive process, and more than 75 percent remain in the program for the full six years. Through this long-term commitment, from grades 7 through 12, Lang Scholars become Museum insiders, developing their interests and identities as science learners, and cultivating 21st century critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration skills. Every year, a combined total of roughly 140 students from all seven grades go behind the scenes in Museum collections and labs, interact with scientists, and complete courses in biology, anthropology, and the physical sciences. Beginning in grade 8, students work in teams to design and implement their own research projects and present their findings in the annual Lang Student Research Showcase. Lang Scholars and their parents also participate in workshops on applying to college and financial aid, SAT preparation, and career and job skills.
Since 2006, over 200 Lang Scholars students have completed the program. Graduates have gone on to college, including at Princeton, Columbia, and Cornell Universities, and some are now in graduate school. Nearly three quarters of respondents to a recent alumni survey selected STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) as the area of study that most closely matches their aspirations—an indication of the program’s impact on participants’ educational choices and career trajectories.