SHU Hosts Bridgeport High School Students Through the Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP Program

Dr. Jennifer Mattei

Dr. Jennifer Mattei talks about Project Limulus with sophomores, from left, Shante Miller of Bassick HS, Mellissa Edwards of Harding, Nyghea Parker of Bassick and Nautika Drummond of Harding

News Story: March 1, 2012

On Wednesday, February 22, a group of Bridgeport high school students visited Sacred Heart University to learn about Project Limulus, a research program investigating the population dynamics of horseshoe crabs. Through the Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP Partnership Project, about 30 students heard from Dr. Jennifer Mattei about human health and its connection to the Long Island Sound ecosystem.

Barb Nangle, program coordinator for the Yale-Bridgeport Partnership Project, said the goal of GEAR UP is to successfully prepare students to enter and graduate from college. The Yale-Bridgeport Partnership Project works with students from the time they are in 7th grade through their senior year of high school. The organization recently received a second grant that has allowed them to work with students from the class of 2017.

The students met with Dr. Mattei, associate professor of Biology and co-director of the Project Limulus. She gave them a tour of the lab, told them about the project and gave them the chance to see and hold a horseshoe crab. She also invited them to join her in the field this summer to tag crabs.

While at Sacred heart, the students also took a more extensive tour of the campus and had some lunch.

The goal of the GEAR UP partnership is to increase the number of low-income and minority students entering and having a successful experience at college. The program was launched in 1999, providing six-year grants to states and school district-university partnerships. In 2008, the Yale University School of Medicine partnered with Bridgeport public schools, working with over 1500 students in the greater Bridgeport area. Their goal is to work with students to develop and encourage critical academic and social skills throughout high school and into their early years of college.