Project SMART 2017

 

SMART seeks new scientists

From July 1 to 26, 2013, the University of New Hampshire will host a four week-long summer program for high school students called Project SMART (Science and Mathematics Achievement through Research Training www.smart.unh.edu) Summer Institute. The annual program, aimed at 10th and 11th graders, is seeking applicants for its 23nd year under the directorship of Dr. Subhash C. Minocha, Professor of Plant Biology (Department of Biological Sciences) and Genetics (Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences) at UNH.

The program offers a combination of lectures, discussions, hands-on experience, field trips and an ample opportunity to get involved in research with UNH in the areas of Biotechnology & Nanotechnology, Marine & Environmental Science, and Space Science. The program has always attracted highly motivated students interested in advancing their knowledge and background in different areas of science, and studying its applications and implications to society. It is an intensive, live-in, experience for students in which they learn the excitements of modern sciences and develop a historical and a philosophical perspective for understanding the social and ethical issues raised by recent developments in the biological, physical and chemical sciences. The participants investigate research questions, use modern instrumentation, analyze data, apply computing techniques to genome and proteome analyses, discuss the interdisciplinary aspects of science, examine science-related societal issues, and explore career options in science. The program offers excitement, information, challenge, hard work and fun – while networking with peers and the UNH faculty and students. The students stay in a dorm at UNH, and in addition to learning and making friends, they experience first hand what a college student’s life is. The program has come a long way from serving the students entirely from New Hampshire to New England, and now from as far away as Alaska and Greece.

On the final day of the program the students present scientific posters based on their activities, projects, experiences, etc., and make oral presentations to their peers. Parents, high school teachers, and UNH faculty, staff and administrators are all invited. Previous participants have described the Summer Institute as "exciting", "exhilarating", and "rewarding"; one student said "it changed my thinking about science". “I feel this program has helped clarify and intensify my interest in biotech greatly”, said another student in her evaluation.

An upshot of the summer institute is that the academic learning experience is accompanied by long-lived memories of fun, excitement and development of new friendships among the participants and with the university staff. “I came to Project SMART to learn; I received more than an education , and made new friendships and connections that I will hold onto for the rest of my life”, is a statement that represents the feelings of many.

Financial support for Project SMART is provided by the Dean of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, the Dean of College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the NH Space Grant Consortium, the NSF-NH EPSCoR Grant, NH Sea Grant program, and the UNH Nanogroup. Donations of cash and laboratory supplies, and discounts on supplies and equipment, from several biotechnology companies also assist the program.

Financial assistance to cover the cost of boarding and lodging is available to needy students. For more information about this and the Project in general, contact Dr. Subhash Minocha (sminocha@unh.edu).


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