Students pictured working together on a project in a laboratory 3
Students pictured working together on a project in a laboratory 1
Student pictured working together on a project in a laboratory 2

Pitt Precollege STEM Programs

Learn more about a few of the many Pitt Precollege STEM Programs

Diversity in the STEM workforce is essential for expanding the talent pool and bringing new ideas to bear in solving society’s problems, yet there remain entrenched gaps between majority and minority students in STEM higher education.

Many universities offer precollege STEM programs that can increase minoritized student preparation for and success in undergraduate studies. These programs enable students to participate in research experiences that impart scientific skills and increase self-efficacy and engagement. Students gain a better understanding of how STEM fields can be used to solve real-world problems, become exposed to STEM career pathways, and participate in faculty mentoring that fosters self-identity as a scientist. 

Pitt has four nationally recognized precollege STEM programs that interface with sectors of the urban community and public schools. These programs include two summer research programs for high school students: Gene Team and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Hillman Academy, both of which involve students in basic scientific research in fields such as molecular biology, microbiology, and chemistry. Two programs engage groups historically marginalized in STEM fields: INVESTING NOW, a year-round comprehensive engineering precollege and STEM exposure program for high school students, and the Technology Leadership Initiative, a computer science program for students in grades 6–12.

University of Pittsburgh Gene Team Photo featuring about 15 students

Gene Team

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences

The Gene Team aims to engage students in current research in Biological Sciences and provide college preparatory mentoring.

Our goal is to increase participation in biological research from groups that are historically under-represented in science, technology, engineering, and math. 

The Pitt Bio Outreach Gene Team is a 4-week summer program that immerses high school students in an authentic biological research project from one of the research labs in the Department of Biological Sciences. Students work as a team to advance the research while honing their biology and critical thinking skills.

Mentoring on preparing for college and how to be successful in an undergraduate STEM program is provided in addition to the hands-on research experience.

Contact: Becky Gonda
Phone: 412-383-5739

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Academy

School of Medicine

The UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Academy strives to provide cutting edge research and career preparatory experiences to a diverse group of highly motivated high school students who are pursuing higher education and careers in STEM fields, especially research and medicine.

Through the Academy’s eight-week, hands-on summer program, high school students, primarily rising juniors and seniors, engage in cutting edge cancer research by working in laboratories directed by dedicated faculty at six sites across the University of Pittsburgh campus.

Over the course of its history, The Hillman Academy has become an award-winning STEM program that prepares college-bound teenagers for successful careers in science and medicine.

Contact: David Boone, PhD
Phone: 412.648.7231

Group of 20-25 STEM Students of all ages, and races
Two Students working on Computers

Technology Leadership Initiative

School of Computing and Information

The mission of the Technology Leadership Initiative (TLI) is to provide underrepresented and underserved students in grades 6-12 with opportunities, tools and motivation needed to pursue computer and information science related degrees and excel academically, socially and professionally. TLI has two major components, Tech Divaz, a one-week summer camp for middle school girls, and High School Academy, a three-week summer camp for high school students. Both programs are free to participate in, and teach students programming, mobile application development, and web development skills. Students will also learn about the benefits of being a School of Computing and Information student at Pitt and graduating with a CS or IS degree and future career pathways.

Contact: Mackenzie Ball
Phone: 412-624-8422

Investing Now

Swanson School of Engineering

INVESTING NOW, created in 1988, is a college preparatory program created to stimulate, support, and recognize the high academic performance of precollege students from groups that are historically underrepresented in STEM majors and careers.

The purpose of the program is to ensure that participants are well prepared for matriculation at the University of Pittsburgh other selective colleges and universities.

All students are involved in hands-on science experiences, career awareness and college planning seminars, academic advising sessions, and cultural activities.

Students who have less than a B in mathematics or science classes are required to attend an hour per subject of individual or small group tutoring each week. These sessions are conducted by successful University of Pittsburgh engineering, math, biology, chemistry or physics students.

Optional tutoring is also available.  Students also participate in a 5-week summer enrichment session that focuses on mathematics, science, writing and engineering projects.

Contact: Alaine M. Allen, EdD
Phone: 412-624-0224

Four Investing Now Students Sitting at a table