Founded in 2015, The Citizen Science Lab (TCSL) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has become a city leader in providing interactive STEM programming for the residents of Pittsburgh. Serving the Hill District neighborhood and South Hills region, TCSL provides an accessible space to connect young people, particular those of color, with opportunities to increase STEM knowledge, academic achievement, and self confidence.
TCSL incorporates 5 state-of-the-art instructional laboratories that provide hands-on exposure to life science, biomedical, robotics, and biotechnology education for students, teachers, biomedical startups, and adult citizens of the Pittsburgh region. Our programming has a focus on increasing black students’ interest in STEM but is available to all of the citizens of Pittsburgh. Though the pandemic TCSL quickly pivoted to providing engaging online science based programming making sure to reach and teach science to students all across the region and country to fill the educational gap during school shutdowns.
Our purpose in creating The Citizen Science Lab is also our mission. The Citizen Science Lab works to ensure that every child has access to the hands-on, inquisitive experimentation that is designed to launch them and prepare them for a career in their chosen science field.
Our vision for the future is simple--that children from under-resourced and underrepresented fields are able to discover and explore a love of STEM. Through the participation in our programs, citizens learn the common research techniques used in biology, technology, and computer science fields. These skills extend beyond the laboratory, and that knowledge is a requirement for a successful career in the sciences. Expected outcomes of TCSL programming include, but are not limited to, increased participant interest in biological, engineering or computer-based research, proficiency in common laboratory techniques, and the pursuit of a science or engineering career or major upon graduation.
One of the most vital components of our program is that our students, many of whom are disproportionately underrepresented in science fields, are able to envision themselves in a science careers.