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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    BIO5 and pharmacy team up to groom future scientists

    The UA Institute for Collaborative BioResearch and the UA College of Pharmacy are busy creating Generation Next – the next generation of scientists, that is.

    The UA College of Pharmacy has teamed up with BIO5 to create the K-12 Engaging Youth in Science program, a research program designed to stir up interest in science fields among high school students.

    “”Originally, it just started with the College of Pharmacy; then we expanded it to BIO5,”” said Thom Melendez, program coordinator for the BIO5 Institute. “”Part of the mission is to train the next generation of scientists.””

    The program started with 84 inquiries from students, Melendez said.

    More than 50 students completed the submission process, which consisted of a written application, a submitted transcript, a letter of interest and a letter of recommendation from a teacher and counselor. The program then chose the final 25 applicants, he explained.

    “”One of the reasons why (the program) is important is that the more opportunities that students have to work in research labs, the better off they are,”” he said. “”It supplements and enriches their classroom education. It takes their book learning and applies it to actual processes.””

    Melendez also explained that it gives high school students an opportunity to decide if research is the route they would like to take during their college career. He said that he has heard from more than one graduate student who has said they didn’t know what the research process entailed until later.

    “”This gives them an opportunity to find what working in a research lab is really like and will help them steer their decisions in the future,”” he said.

    With three different sub-specialties in the curriculum – pharmacology and toxicology, computational biology, and genetics – the 25 students chosen for the program have no shortage of selections when it comes to choosing a direction during the five-week course.

    Among the various benefits of the program, Melendez explained that an important advantage is the ability for high school students to market themselves to their future college choices.

    “”It’s great for college applications and for the future on their resumes,”” he said.

    The course will culminate this Friday with a session in which students will create posters based on their five weeks of research and will present what they have done during their time in the laboratory. However, Melendez explained that the poster session goes far beyond simply presenting their work and speaks to each student’s ability to explain what they have done to others.

    “”How do they present their work to audiences? How do they write about it? It isn’t just about what takes place there,”” he said.

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