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CALS Summer Collaboration with the PEOPLE Program

Beginning Date: Monday, June 17
Last Reporting Date: Friday, July 19
Time Frame: The window of internship time is 1:30PM- 4:30PM

This is the 11th summer we have offered CALS/STEM based education to students in the PEOPLE Program. There was growing dismay that students interested in science were being dissuaded due to lack of opportunities for exploration. Our offer was to take students interested in science who were not admitted to the other Pre-college science programs on campus (Summer Science Institute, Research Apprentice Program, Engineering Scholars Program), so that they would not be funneled out of science altogether. We have grown to the point where our program is the first choice for most of our students. The first summer, we had two students, and the program has progressively grown each summer, topping out at 20.

We depend on the graciousness of faculty, staff, and students who have been generous enough to donate time and space for these students to work with them, and each summer, the students who have been sent to us have consistently rated their experience very highly. These internships have provided great exposure for the programs that have participated, and we hope will produce a yield and potential pipeline from Pre-college to undergraduate to graduate education.

Program Goals
Our goal is to expose these students, who will begin their senior year of high school in the fall, to areas of science and research they may not know about or want to explore further. In the end, we hope participation in the program will:
1. Engage students in areas of research and science that open their eyes to the possibilities of potential career and areas study in the industry,
2. Provide complimentary and practical application to their current scientific studies, which we hope will result in increased engagement in the classroom, and better academic performance.
3. Allow students to begin to focus on critical analysis of life issues.

The Program
From 8:30AM- 11:30AM, the students participate in activities and assignments that will introduce them to broad fields of study in CALS and related sciences, including career opportunities, and practical applications to their current high school courses. By the end of the summer, we want students to be familiar with the scientific method, and how to gather information and develop questions in order to begin research independently. We will accomplish that goal through the use of video, articles, guest speakers, and library and internet research. We will expect students to submit updates on what they are learning in their field experiences.

In collaboration with PEOPLE, there will be a final project to be presented at a symposium involving all PEOPLE sponsored programs to be conducted during the last week of classes. Our goals for the internships:

  1. To provide a hands-on, apprentice-like set of activities for the students to engage each day,
  2. The opportunity for the students to ask questions in gaining an understanding of the research goals,
  3. To provide students a chance to see the facilities we have at the university. We do want to recruit them.

Most of all, we want the students to learn from you. Part of this experience is to break down barriers of student-teacher relationships that allow them to see that the people in supervisory positions are approachable and eager to work with them. I encourage you to share your stories with them as to what got you involved in research, and any challenges you encountered along the way. We have tried to match students with you based on their expressed academic interests, but have found that even if they are not complete matches, these have been valuable experiences the students have appreciated. We are planting seeds for the future.

Scheduling and Logistics
The students are expected to report every day for their internships except for designated days that involve full day field trips or PEOPLE Program functions. You will be informed of these well in advance. The symposium at the end of the summer will be held during the last week of classes. It is the student’s job to be on time and in the locations you have designated. If for some reason a student is not going to report for the internship (illness, etc.), it is their responsibility to contact you in advance. The student’s receive their internship stipend at the end of the summer based on their participation and attitude, so we have not had too many problems in the past. If a student is habitually late, missing, or does not display a cooperative attitude, I will follow up with the student. It is possible for a student to be discontinued.

This is a great opportunity to think creatively about a project you may want done, but do not have the hands to do. Thank you for your support of our program.