Academics Students

LHWHS Students Participate in 2011 UMSL STARS Program

The students pose for a group photo.

For academically talented high school juniors and seniors, this summer afforded a chance to research everything from neural circuits in the brain to human/robot interaction to evolutionary computation during the 2011 STARS program, hosted by the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Ladue Horton Watkins High School participants were:  Senior Bowon Joung, and Juniors Alex Bruns-Smith, Christine Wang and Haohang Xu.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer STARS each year,” said Glen Cope, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UMSL. “It really is such a unique opportunity that is afforded through the collaboration of area universities and corporations.”

The program was sponsored by LMI Aerospace Inc./D3Technologies and The Solae Company.  It paired students with research mentors from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur, Mo., Saint Louis University, the Solae company, Washington University in St. Louis, and the host institution the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

“The students in the STARS Program are getting a big head start,” said James Carrington, president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. “For many of the participants, this experience will be the most important event in their decision to pursue a career in science.”

For six weeks, biologists, chemists, engineers, medical researchers, psychologists and public health experts from the five participating institutions took on student apprentices in laboratory settings and directed students in research projects.

LHWHS research papers and student mentors:

  • Joung:  “Dependence of Homologous Recombination on Stoichiometric Interaction between Escherichia coli RecO and Single Stranded DNA”; Dr. Sergey Korolev, Saint Louis University
  • Bruns-Smith: “Post-natal Neurogenesis in the Adult Painted Turtle Brain”; Dr. Daniel Warren, Saint Louis University
  • Wang:  “Assessing Vaccine Compliance Among Non-Hospital Workers”; Dr. Terri Rebmann, Saint Louis University
  • Xu: “A Computational Analysis of Base Stacking Interactions in DNA”; Dr. Michael Lewis, Saint Louis University

This year’s program, “Experiencing the Scientific Enterprise,” was held June 6 through July 15 at UMSL. Besides conducting research and presenting papers, students took part in career work-shops, attended lectures by leading scientists from the St. Louis community, and enjoyed social activities such as bowling, a movie, an ice cream social, the St. Louis Symphony and a Cardinal game.

Participants in the program include 79 students from 36 high schools in the St. Louis metro area. Four students are from outside the metro area.