Twenty-six aspiring scientists who spent several weeks this summer conducting intensive research with St. Louis-area professionals and professors are now reaping their rewards, including Ladue Horton Watkins High School’s Chloe Lee An. 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 2012 Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.
An’s paper is entitled, “Effects of Ionic Strength and pH on Arsenic Mobilization from Arsenopyrite: Implications for Managed Aquifer Recharge.” An was mentored by Dr. Young-Shin Jun, Dept. of Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering from Washington University.
During the six-week program, students are paired with top research mentors from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur, Mo., Saint Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis, Solae and UMSL. Experts from the five institutions took on student apprentices in laboratories and directed them in research projects.
“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,” said Elaine Krul, a lead researcher at Solae who served as an adviser to STARS students.
The program introduces high school juniors and seniors to the various aspects of the scientific enterprise as practiced by scientists in academic, private or corporate research institutions. Besides conducting research, students attended lectures by nationally recognized scientist, were informed about the process of 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.
UMSL Chancellor Tom George said the program gives a big head start to students interested in pursuing a science career. “Students interact with experts in their fields, work in labs and take away with them an invaluable real-life, hands-on experience,” George said.
Senior scientists at Monsanto, Cortex, 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.