USU turns high-schoolers into scientists

This July, USU researchers will give high school juniors and seniors hands-on experience in biotechnology research at the 11th annual Biotechnology Summer Academy. The students will work with faculty researchers such as Giovanni Rompato of the Center for Integrated Biosystems (CIB) at USU. “We have a group of high school kids,” Rompato said, “they work for us (and) with us in the lab for a week. They have a project and experiment and they go and do it and we provide assistance, help and direction.” According to the biotechnology website, the experiments will be in areas such as bioengineering, chemistry, biology, environmental engineering, bioinformatics and animal, dairy and veterinary sciences, as well as plant and soil science. Afifa Sabir, facilitator of the Biotechnology Summer Academy, said the students select the area of research they are interested in and are paired with a member of USU faculty in that field. “We don’t put all of them in one group, we divide them into small groups,” Sabir said. “If they like biology we hook them up with biology faculty. If they like chemistry, we put them in the chemistry department. If they like engineering we put them in the engineering department. We don’t teach them all the same thing, it depends on their interests.” Sabir said the students will also attend lectures by USU biotechnology and industry experts. These presentations will also expose students to career opportunities in these fields. At the end of the week the students will present their projects to faculty and their parents to show off the finished products of their work. According to Sabir one of the goals of the program is to recruit quality students to USU. She hopes the program will help recruit students that are serious about a college career. She said the program…

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