Education and Public Outreach Committee (EPOC)

The Education and Public Outreach Committee (EPOC) was established by Steadman Philippon Research Institute (SPRI) to inspire the next generation of scientists through exposure to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). SPRI’s Vail campus is home to one of the most advanced biomedical engineering and surgical education laboratories in the world and our objective is to offer local Colorado students exposure to a world-class scientific research program and hopefully light the spark for STEM. Our SPRI team offers laboratory tours, scientific presentations, mentoring of student projects and support of school science fairs. With our three-tiered program, EPOC is designed to reach students from 5th grade through high school. Since its founding in 2011, SPRI has worked with over 4,000 local students.

EPOC Science Club

Our aim is to promote scientific inquiry by providing students with the opportunity to conduct innovative scientific research while mentored by science teachers and professional scientists. Our goal is to foster an interest in science by promoting goal driven research questions.

Two student representatives are selected from each participating Eagle County school. Typically, students are in grades 11–12 and are selected by their respective science teachers. Students will participate as pairs of student teams mentored by SPRI researchers/scientists and science teachers.

The High School Science Club includes guided projects during the fall semester and an independent project in the spring semester, culminating in a written report and presentation of results, shared with researchers, scientists and clinicians.

Summer Scholars Program

This unique, week-long immersive STEM course is intended for students who will have completed their junior or senior year of high school. The SPRI Summer Scholars Program provides students the opportunity to interactively learn about many facets of scientific and clinical research while engaging with engineers, scientists, researchers and clinicians at SPRI. Throughout the week, students will get to perform hands-on activities and conduct their own research while learning about different careers in the medical field from professionals at SPRI and The Steadman Clinic. At the end of the week, students share what they have learned through presentations and the program will culminate with a celebratory picnic.

Eagle County Science Fair Judges  

SPRI Mentors actively participate in local schools as science fair judges. Science fairs cover a variety of STEM disciplines. The focus is on how well students follow the scientific method and/or engineering design process to arrive at an evidence-based solution to a problem. This is a great experience for our EPOC mentors to work with local schools and students. 

5th Grade SPRI Laboratory Tours

These tours make science fun, and allow local fifth graders to see important aspects of the SPRI labs used by scientists and doctors. Students will have an interactive experience and a Q&A session with the SPRI scientists.  

School Visits by SPRI Scientists

Eagle County schools have the opportunity to invite our professional scientists and researchers to their classrooms, lecture halls and science fairs.  

Contact Information for EPOC program

Patricia McNamara
Education and Public Outreach Program Coordinator