A summer of hard work has paid off for more than 80 aspiring scientists, including four Ladue Horton Watkins High School students, who spent six weeks conducting intensive research with St. Louis-area professionals and professors as part of the 2102 Students and Teachers as Research Scientists Program (STARS) at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Participating from Ladue Schools were Chloe An, Enze Chen, Rui Chen and Toby Zhu.
Students were paired with top research mentors from UMSL, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis and the Solae Company. The experts from the five institutions took on student apprentices in laboratories and directed students in research projects.
“High school students interested in a science career get a big head start with their participation in the STARS program,” said UMSL Chancellor Tom George. “For six weeks, students interact with experts in their fields, work in labs and take away with them an invaluable real-life, hands-on experience.” The program ended July 20, wrapping up another successful pre-collegiate summer experience for dozens of rising high school juniors and seniors. More than 80 of the brightest students from 33 high schools in the St. Louis metro area, as well as California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa and Greece were selected to take part in the program.
“Many inquired about opportunities to continue their research interest next summer,” said Ken Mares, director of STARS. Besides conducting research, students attended lectures by nationally recognized scientists, were informed about the process for applying to higher education institutions, and enjoyed social activities such as bowling, a movie, an ice cream social and a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.
A big fan of the program is Elaine Krul, a lead researcher at Solae who serves as an adviser to STARS students. She was really impressed by this year’s participants. She said they possessed amazing enthusiasm and talent. Krul praised the uniqueness of the program for allowing students to expand their education far beyond the classroom into the real world. “Our country needs to cultivate these great minds and the STARS program allows the students to experience things they did not know about at the start of the summer and come away with a sense of accomplishing something that, in the long run, will benefit humanity,” she said.
The program is funded partially through LMI Aerospace/D3 Technologies, Solae, the Office of the Chancellor at UMSL, Saint Louis University, Washington University and the Green Foundation.