I PROMISE Fourth Graders to Take Over Kent State’s Brain Health Research Institute

Students from the Akron, Ohio, I PROMISE School will spend a day on the Kent Campus learning about the brain

Kent State University’s Brain Health Research Institute on Wednesday, Nov. 29, will welcome 94 fourth-grade students from the I PROMISE School in Akron, Ohio, for a day of activities aimed at sparking their interest in science and technology. 

The purpose of the visit is to show the students what types of careers are available in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – and to learn about the brain and its functions. 

Michael Lehman, Ph.D., director of the Kent State Brain Health Research Institute
Michael Lehman

“It’s a way of introducing students to potential careers in STEM at a real early stage and hopefully sparking their interest in a way that is going to be positive in their future,” said Michael Lehman, Ph.D., director of the Brain Health Research Institute. 

The day will feature plenty of activities led by more than 40 Kent State students and graduate students, who are volunteering to help show the I PROMISE kids the fun and cool side of research, science and the brain. 

The event gives current Kent State students valuable experience in community outreach, Lehman said. 

Lique Coolen, Ph.D., assistant director of the institute, professor of biological sciences and assistant to the provost for special projects, was instrumental in organizing the visit. 

The day will include numerous activities to get students thinking and moving as they take part in a series of activity stations, she said. 

One station that will feature the senses, for example, will have a violinist playing live music to help students understand hearing, Coolen explained. 

Lique Coolen
Lique Coolen

As much as the day will be about learning, it will be about the students learning to see themselves as a student at Kent State in the future, she added. 

The I PROMISE School is part of Akron Public Schools and is supported by the LeBron James Family Foundation, which is dedicated to students who are falling behind and in danger of falling through the cracks. 

“It has been really exciting to work with the faculty at the Brain Health Research Institute to plan the experience for the fourth graders at the I PROMISE School,” said Devi Wintrode, director of sustainability and accountability at the I PROMISE School. “The students spend a lot of time at school learning about their emotions and strategies to manage those emotions. This opportunity to dive deeper into learning about the structure of the brain and the many ways the brain is responsible for how our bodies work will be so impactful for these students. I am excited for the students to have hands-on opportunities to learn more about the brain and gain an understanding of how their own brains work.” 

Kent State has an ongoing partnership with the I PROMISE program, and, in 2020, the university provided the opportunity for a college education to all eligible students from the I PROMISE School by guaranteeing four years of tuition, and one year of room and meal plan at Kent State through its I PROMISE Scholars program

The tuition program was the culmination of an existing partnership between Kent State and the foundation, in which I PROMISE students attend summer enrichment college preparation programs at the university; those existing programs have continued. 

The oldest class of I PROMISE students, who are now Kent State students, were high school juniors when the program began and became eligible for the Kent State package as college freshmen in the 2021-22 academic year.  

To be eligible for the tuition support, I PROMISE students must successfully be admitted to Kent State, fill out required financial aid forms and complete a requisite number of community service hours each semester. 

Through the program, Kent State covers the tuition that remains for the I PROMISE students after they receive funds from traditional financial aid sources and will provide the first year’s room and meal plan. 

Brain squishy toys will be given to I PROMISE fourth grade students who visit the Brain Health Research Institute at Kent State.
POSTED: Tuesday, November 28, 2023 03:32 PM
Updated: Wednesday, November 29, 2023 01:59 PM
Lisa Abraham