Jenny Bardwell, PaxWorks Curriculum Director, has initiated the Micro-BLAST Project with female, African-American high school students to enhance appreciation of diverse cultures in their school and community. The Micro-BLAST project is funded through a grant from Teaching Tolerance (of the Southern Poverty Law Center) and the Health Sciences & Technology Academy (HSTA).
Part of the mission of PaxWorks is to teach leadership and critical thinking skills to young women through research experiences related to community problems. African-American students at Wheeling Park High School (in Wheeling, West Virginia) view microaggression and biased behavior as a part of their daily stress. Ms. Bardwell will work with Wheeling Park High School’s English Department chair, Ms. Heidi Zumbrunnen to first help students identify — microaggression. Bardwell and Zumbrunnen will then help students create scenarios of uplifting dialogue that promote appreciation of diversity among people. These scenes will be recorded as cell phone videos and shown across high school, middle school, and local public broadcasting venues. Through completion of the Micro-BLAST project, students will learn leadership and science skills. By role modeling healthy behavior, female students can create positive outcomes. Dr. Kimberly Miller, Superintendent of Ohio County Schools, gives the Micro-BLAST project a big thumbs up.