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PIT-UN Empower

PIT-UN Empowering Underrepresented Talent through Public Interest Technology Policy

West Virginia University’s Health Science and Technology Academy (HSTA) and Bridge Initiative for Science and Technology Policy, Leadership and Communications (Bridge) would like to thank the Public Interest Technology - University Network (PIT-UN) for its grant to fund the PIT-UN Empowering Underrepresented Talent through Public Interest Technology Policy (PIT-UN Empower) program.

The PIT-UN Network Challenge is a grant program that seeds and supports initiatives to grow public interest technology by encouraging new ideas, fostering collaborations, and incentivizing resource and information sharing among our 63 Network members.

The PIT-UN Empower program will

  • Provide experiential learning opportunities for West Virginia’s underrepresented and underserved high school students;
  • Encourage students to persist in PIT education, showing them how their community-based participatory research (CBPR) can have positive impacts on their communities through PIT policy activities;
  • Center the needs of WV communities;
  • Support and promote evidence-based approaches to enhance PIT policies and related economic development.

HSTA's goals are to increase college attendance of African American, financially disadvantaged, first-generation college and rural Appalachian youth so they return as professionals to serve WV’s underserved communities. HSTA students engage in a rigorous academic program within a nurturing environment of small after-school clubs and summer camps.

HSTA will partner with Bridge to further their mission. Bridge’s PIT activities serve as a bridge between the science and technology expertise of WVU faculty and staff, West Virginian communities, and West Virginia’s national, state, and local policymakers by identifying and developing policy responses to West Virginia’s societal challenges and opportunities.

The PIT-UN Empower project will utilize Bridge program expertise to

  • Engage with HSTA students to provide core PIT policy training and career workshop;
  • Prepare HSTA students during a 5-day in-person summer workshop to develop a PIT policy brief and present it to policy experts and provide PIT career development;
  • assist HSTA students in bringing their PIT message to policymakers in their home communities.

For more information, contact the Bridge program at or the HSTA program contact at