Education and Diversity

Education and Diversity Programs

APS Education and Diversity programs promote excellence in science teaching and learning and in the training of the physiologists of the future. Moreover, these programs assure greater opportunities for underrepresented individuals in physiology.

Examples include:

Physiology Understanding (PhUn) Week

PhUn Week is a nationwide K-12 outreach program that builds connections between scientists and their local schools. The goals of PhUn Week are to:

  • Increase student interest in and understanding of physiology in their lives.
  • Increase teacher recognition of physiology in their standards-based science curriculum.
  • Introduce students to physiology as a possible career.
  • Involve more physiologists in outreach to the students and teachers in their communities.

During PhUn Week classroom visits in November, APS members engage students in interactive, hands-on physiology activities. Through this real-life, face-to-face encounter with practicing biomedical researchers, students learn about how their bodies function and how scientific discoveries are made.

Undergraduate Summer Research Programs

APS is proud to offer five programs that allow undergraduate students to participate in physiological research during the summer. 

These include:

  • Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships
  • Undergraduate Research Excellence Fellowships
  • Short-Term Education Program for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP)
  • Short-Term Research Education Program to Increase Diversity in Health-Related Research (STRIDE)
  • Integrative Organismal System Physiology Fellowship (IOSP)

These summer research programs recruit students from around the nation and world to spend the entire summer performing research in the laboratory of an established scientist and APS member. More than half of these programs focus on increasing opportunities for students from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds or those with disabilities.

Porter Physiology Development Fellowship

The goal of the Porter Physiology Development Program is to encourage diversity among students pursuing advanced degrees in physiology and to encourage their active participation in the Society. The fellowship provides 1-2 year full-time graduate fellowships to underrepresented minorities enrolled in programs leading to the Ph.D. (or D.Sc.) in the physiological sciences at U.S. institutions.  

How We Make a Difference

“[The Porter] fellowship changed my life. I remember writing a thank you letter to Dr. Clifford Barger (the overseer of the Porter Development Foundation) and informing him of the significance of this award to me. This award allowed me to stop teaching tennis during the summers and work on my research project, pain mechanisms in the spinal cord. This award allowed me to stop doing all of the non-academic related things and to focus on my chosen field of study, neurophysiology. This was the first time in my academic career that I had been able cut away all the non-academic issues I had been forced to pursue for financial support in order to stay in school, and just do science.”

Nathaniel Pitts in The Physiologist Vol. 55, No. 5, 2012