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Stories about...High School Research Opportunities

POETS Young Scholars Find Sun Buckets Summer Research Experience Meaningful

August 27, 2020

Two Champaign Central High School students, Jasmine O’Connor and Lily Weaver, spent the summer socially distancing yet doing research that could make a difference for folks around the world. Part of the NSF-funded POETS (Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems) Engineering Research Center’s Young Scholars program, the two used Sun Buckets technology, which harnesses the power of the sun to use in cooking, to conduct research about drying a variety of common foods. In addition to learning a whole lot about how Sun Buckets work, they gained confidence, plus skills in problem solving and time management. The two also learned how to present research—then actually did so at POETS' virtual end-of-the summer final poster session. Plus, both gained a much clearer understanding of what careers they might be interested in pursuing in the future.

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Uni High student Katya Sakhartova Uni High Students Experience Math Research During IGL’s Summer Program

June 25, 2020

This year’s IGL-Uni High Summer Program was virtually the same as last year’s…except that, due to COVID-19, it was done virtually—via Zoom instead of at Altgeld Hall. The idea behind the program was to introduce students from University Laboratory High School (Uni High) to math research, with the goal of demonstrating to 21 rising freshmen, sophomores, and juniors that math research, such as that done at Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL), is quite different from the math K–12 schools do in class. Mentored by Illinois Math graduate students or post docs who are part of IGL, the high schoolers not only discovered what research is like while addressing specific areas of mathematics, but networked with math PhD students, many of whom wanted to pay it forward. Plus, they learned a bit about what being a math graduate student at Illinois is like.

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The Illinois Geometry Lab Partners with Uni High to Expose Students to Research

June 28, 2019

For the second summer in a row, the Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL) in the Department of Mathematics partnered with University Laboratory High School (Uni High) to provide research projects for some of the school’s students. For four weeks from June 3rd through June 28th, 15 high schoolers visited Altgeld Hall to conduct math research, mentored by Illinois Math graduate students. The idea was to expose the younger students to math not traditionally taught in school and also to give them a taste of what math research is like. In addition, the younger students experienced another aspect of academia: they prepared presentations then presented their research at a final symposium on Thursday, June 27th.

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POETS Young Scholars Program Attracts High Schoolers to Research

May 28, 2019

POETS’ Young Scholars program does just what its name implies—it gives high school students the opportunity to engage in scholarly pursuits—conduct research and learn what it means to be part of a research team—just like their older counterparts. In fact, they’ve even gotten to present their research in a number of venues, including Young Scholars’ end-of-summer poster session, at the Emerging Researchers National Conference (ERN), and most recently, to the Champaign School Board. And for three local youth who have been a part of the program, Neha Hebbar, Darius Jackson, and Kerene Kombe, this extensive exposure to academia has pretty much sealed the deal: at least two of them want to continue the research path they’ve been pursuing once they get to college, and maybe even further.

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Young Scholars Program Exposes Local High School Students to Research, the University

August 2, 2017

Instead of spending their summers working at McDonalds, or lounging by the pool, twelve rising juniors and seniors from Centennial and Central High Schools in Champaign spent the summer learning about things like photon quantum mechanics, dark matter detectors, and the biochemistry of swimming bacteria. Part of the Young Scholars Program, a new, six-week summer research opportunity, the students got to experience authentic, cutting-edge research in some of Illinois' premier research labs. Begun by the Nuclear Physics Laboratory in the Physics Department, who joined forces with the POETS Engineering Research Center to broaden and strengthen the program, Young Scholars received funding from multiple sources: ICR funds from the NSF NPL grant, the NSF-funded POETS, the Physics Department itself, and the College of Engineering (which provided funding for one student). The fledgling program was begun to help students discover what research is actually like, determine if research might be in their futures, plus give them an idea of what college is like.

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Vikram Bagchi performing research on the navel orangeworm in the Berenbaum lab. I-STEM Program Gives Local High Schoolers Research Experience at Illinois

July 11, 2013

Instead of tanning in the sun and playing video games all day, a group of high school students chose to devote part of their summer vacation to research in Illinois labs.

This summer 24 students from University Laboratory High School participated in the third annual I-STEM High School Research Experience...
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Juliana TrachEBICS Offers High Schoolers Research at the Intersection of Biology & Engineering

November 27, 2012

In summer 2012, three high school students had the opportunity to participate in authentic summer research opportunities at the intersection of biology and engineering. Sponsored by EBICS (Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems), these students participated in its High School Research Program, which seeks to increase the number of students who choose careers in the discipline by exposing high school students (especially those underrepresented in STEM fields) to research opportunities in the new discipline.
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Uni High student in Illinois lab.Uni High Students Experience
Cutting-Edge Research at Illinois

July 11, 2012

On the northeastern edge of campus, University Laboratory High school’s proximity to Illinois’ myriad research facilities made it an ideal partner for I-STEM’s pilot project offering summer research opportunities to high school students. Of the 50 or so students who applied, 19 were chosen on the basis of both their performance in science and math and of their application, which included an essay on their interest in science and how participating would prepare them for a possible career in science.
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David Gong analyzes bone samples in Dr. Kristin Hedman's lab.High Schoolers Gain Authentic Research Experience at Illinois

July 9, 2012

For some students, participating in this summer's I-STEM High School Summer Research Experience confirmed their inclination to pursue a career in a specific STEM field. For others, STEM is now a viable career option. For others still, it convinced them that the field in which they conducted research is the last field they would ever consider for a career. Every student came out with a better understanding of STEM. Just as intended.
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Nathan BeauchampHigh School Student Experiences Life in an Illinois Lab

July 2, 2012

Nathan Beauchamp jangles the key from his pocket, unlocks the double door and reaches towards the four light switches wrapped around the adjacent wall. The 15-year-old flips the lights with the blind cool only muscle memory can foster. The Unit Operations Lab in the basement of Roger Adams Laboratory at the University of Illinois bursts awake.

Beauchamp is tired today—he stayed up late completing a poster he will present on Friday while explaining his research in the field of 3D printing—and walks to his computer more laboriously than usual.
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