Building Opportunities and Overtures in Science and Technology (BOOST)
Building Opportunities and Overtures in Science and Technology (BOOST)

BOOST is an exciting new, multi-dimensional program designed to excite young students — particularly under-represented minorities — about science and to inspire them to pursue careers in medicine and related fields.  

Through a range of programs for elementary and middle school teachers and students, BOOST aims to improve the science performance of under-represented minority (URM) students (particularly African Americans, Native Americans, and Latino Americans), upgrade the content of the pre-college science curriculum, and ultimately, increase the numbers of URM students prepared for professional education in medicine and other advanced sciences.

This unique partnership between Duke University Medical Center, Durham Public Schools, and the North Carolina School of Science and Math — funded in large measure through a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute — is now focusing on fifth and sixth grade students in five public schools in Durham, North Carolina. Over time, we hope to expand this program throughout the Durham schools, and to other areas of our state and country.

The BOOST and BOOST XL students begin with an immersion week to sharpen their abilities to ask good science questions. They are then matched with Duke graduate and medical school students who provide yearlong guidance on a research project of their choosing. If you are a 5th or 6th grader interested in participating in the BOOST program please click here. Grad students and post-doc interested in becoming BOOST science coach program please click here.


The SWIFT program has the same target audience but with more of a focus on science writing. We collaborate with UNC's Morehead Planetarium science program and the Writing Centers at both Duke and UNC. The 20 students participate in an engaging monthly science experience (chemistry demos, nanotechnology, human patient simulator, etc.) and then immediately write about it.