Rarely do high school students have a chance to take part in university research, gaining experience through interactive work with professors. The High School Summer Science Research Program at Baylor University provides students with such an opportunity to high school students from across the country.
The Research Program, held during the first summer academic session, is open to students entering their senior year of high school. The students earn one semester hour of college credit and participate in projects with Baylor professors where they analyze research groups, data, techniques, instruments and interpretations, receive access to Baylor facilities and collaborate with other talented students with related interests. Each student also is awarded a scholarship which covers tuition, a technology fee and on-campus housing.
"Our competitive program is somewhat unique in that the students actually do science rather than learn about it," said Dr. Frank Mathis, director of the High School Summer Science Research Program. "The goal of the program is to encourage young people to pursue careers in the science this year we have 11 students working in biology, biochemistry, physics, engineering, nutrition, geology and mathematics."
Ryan Leigon, a 16-year-old student from Lake Jackson, is a program participant in the mathematics department. He said during a typical project, his mentors will present a topic, give background instruction and then give him an assignment to work on. Some of the projects are short and only take a few hours, while others may take a few days, he said.
"One of the benefits [of the program] is being able to do actual research - accessible research - and something of worth," Leigon said. On his search for programs, Leigon said he did not find similar programs touting one-on-one experience at other universities, and he feels that his projects are "something of worth."
Leigon also said that this experience has helped him identify general ideas for a career path, especially in mathematics with an emphasis in numerical analysis. He said he would possibly like to teach and research at the university level.
More information on these programs at http://www.baylor.edu/summerscience