A summer of hard work has paid off for 78 aspiring scientists who spent six weeks conducting intensive research with St. Louis-area professionals and professors. The students have been named winners of the LMI Aerospace/D3 Technologies Award for Excellence in Research. The award is presented to students who distinguished themselves during the 2011 Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Christine Wang, a junior at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, is among these scientists, and is being recognized for her research on “Assessing Vaccine Compliance Among Non-Hospital Workers.” Dr. Terri Rebmann from the School of Public Health at Saint Louis University was Wang’s mentor and collaborated with Wang on her research and the resulting paper.
“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.”
STARS introduces high school rising juniors and seniors to the various aspects of the scientific enterprise as practiced by scientists in academic, private or corporate research institutions. UMSL partners with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur, Missouri, Saint Louis University, Solae and Washington University in St. Louis to provide research opportunities for the participants. The students researched everything from neural circuits in the brain to the effects of early life stress on learning to improving satellite efficiency. Besides conducting research students took part in career work-shops, attended lectures by leading greater St. Louis scientists and enjoyed social activities such as bowling, a movie, an ice cream social, the St. Louis Symphony and a Cardinal game.
Fifty-three faculty members from the participating academic institutions, three scientist from Solae and five scientists from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center volunteered as mentors for STARS. Following six weeks of research, the participants presented their research papers to their peers, parents, and research mentors.
Senior scientists at Monsanto, Solae, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and LMI Aerospace/D3 Technologies reviewed the papers. Winning papers best exemplified the following qualities: difficulty and complexity of research; appropriateness of the research methodology; findings; quality of writing; and overall quality of the research process.