Outreach and service learning have incredible potential to provide meaningful impact to communities including the academic institution running the program. This session will highlight important considerations when developing service-learning programs including accreditation standards, community needs, and student impacts. Finally, models of service learning and outreach will be discussed, with an emphasis of education-based programs.
Peter Vollbrecht, PhD is currently an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed) in Kalamazoo, MI where he directs the Nervous System course and Neuroanatomy laboratory for first year medical students. He also serves as the discipline director for Explorations, a self-directed learning component of the curriculum. Finally, Dr. Vollbrecht has developed an outreach program called Brain Explorers at WMed, which focuses on improving science attitudes in middle school students that are typically underserved and underrepresented in science. Dr. Vollbrecht has wide ranging research interests ranging from medical education and science outreach to the effects of obesity on glial cells of the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex. Before starting at WMed Dr. Vollbrecht taught at his alma mater, Hope College in Holland, MI. Dr. Vollbrecht received his B.S. in Chemistry from Hope College and his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Before beginning his career as a professor Dr. Vollbrecht was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.