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The Day of Discovery Program

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The Day of Discovery Program (DoD) is a partnership between the Vanderbilt Collaborative for STEM Education and Outreach and Metro Nashville Public Schools, which immerses middle school students in a research-based STEM curriculum one school day per week at educational sites across the city. The program is intended to serve three primary goals: To introduce students to a broad range of STEM topics that supports the standard-based curriculum, to impart students with technical and soft skills relevant for success in advanced STEM courses, and to expose students to the everyday working habits of professional scientists and engineers.

Day of Discovery is designed for motivated seventh and eighth grade students who are interested in pursuing studies with a research-based science, technology, engineering, and math focus. This rigorous coursework will require students to be dedicated learners, open to new ideas, diligent in their work habits, intellectually honest, and willing to work collaboratively and respectfully with fellow students, scientists, and teachers.

Students will be able to participate in extended learning activities, including research experiments, fieldwork, and field trips to build crucial skills for academic success, specifically critical reading, writing, communication, and mathematics skills. With these skill sets strengthened, Day of Discovery will serve as a preparatory program for students interested in taking Advanced Placement courses and/or applying for the Interdisciplinary Science & Research Program or the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt University.

Day of Discovery Sites

Day of Discovery (Hillsboro Cluster)

Students at JT Moore, Rose Park, and West End Middle Schools will come to the laboratory classroom at Vanderbilt University. Read more about this STEM experience HERE.

Day of Discovery (Overton Cluster)

Students at Croft Design, McMurray, and Henry Oliver Middle Schools will come to the outdoors classroom at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. Read more about this STEM experience HERE.

Day of Discovery (Stratford Cluster)

Students at Isaac Litton Middle School and Stratford Lower Campus will meet at their school. Read more about this STEM experience HERE.

Interested in applying to Day of Discovery

Does your student have more questions? Read this informational flyer on the general expectations of the DoD. Is Day of Discovery right for me?

Find applications to DoD HERE.

If you would like more information regarding the Day of Discovery program, please contact Dr. Desmond Campbell at

This program was originally supported by the Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health under Award Number R25OD021883.

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