Sixteen weeks of research and preparation carried out by Ames High School’s Young Engineers and Scientists (YES) culminated in a poster reception in the Ames High School Media Center May 10. The students presented their work to peers, parents and faculty from Iowa State University and Ames High School.
Funded through ISU’s Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), YES is part of CBiRC’s pre-college education strategic plan to form long-standing partnerships with central Iowa school districts and school districts located in relative proximity to CBiRC partner institutions. According to CBiRC’s website, the pre-college programs’ mission is to “effectively impart in the next generation of students the relevance of engineering professions; the skills required to succeed and the value in our technological society.”This program is coordinated at Ames High School by ELP teachers Nicole Kuhns and Julie Skaar. Students receive high school credit as they work on projects conducted under the mentorship of CBiRC faculty. They develop literature research and laboratory recording skills and gain exposure to both academic and career opportunities in engineering.
Rucha Kelkar, in 11th grade, said one of the best experiences from her internship was talking with the university students with whom she worked with about colleges and majors.“One of them was pursuing much of what I was considering for my future and it was great to get first-hand advice from a current college student,” she said. “Chemical/biological engineering is something I’m interested in and am considering continuing after graduating high school.”
The laboratory internship not only imparted 11th grader Natalie Cross important knowledge specific to animal science, but also taught her lab safety, etiquette and basic skills such as pipetting, which are applicable to any laboratory setting.
“Because of this experience my future plans to study something related to animals has solidified and this internship really opened my eyes to some of the diverse possibilities available,” she said.