A team comprising science, technology, engineering and math specialists and researchers from The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel, and The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine received the best full paper award at the 2022 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Integrated STEM Education Conference.

The paper, “An Interdisciplinary Approach to High School Curriculum Development: Swarming Powered by Neuroscience,” describes a collaborative effort between researchers and STEM educators to develop an interactive microseminar aimed at enhancing learning experiences for high school students in neuroscience, robotics and computer science.

Thirty-five students were recruited from APL’s STEM Academy to attend a four-day virtual workshop, which took place in January 2021. The curriculum was aligned with National Science Foundation-funded research that the cross-divisional team was conducting to explore similarities between navigational planning in brains with autonomous robotic swarms.

“There aren’t many opportunities for high school students to learn about neuroscience,” said Elise Buckley, academic programs specialist in APL’s STEM Program Management Office and the paper’s lead author, in her conference presentation. “Neuroscience is a huge and growing field and students are becoming more and more interested in it, but there’s just not a lot developed at that high school level.”