High School

Mission: The goal of the Garcia MRSEC pre-college programs has been to convey to young students and their teachers the excitement of polymer materials research, to suggest possible career options, and to provide the opportunity to use polymer science to enhance the regular science teaching curriculum.

Please click on the cover of the booklet to see

our summer activities

This is an intensive seven week program for gifted high school students which combines formal instruction with independent research and allows students to design original research projects with guidance from Garcia Center faculty, students, and staff. Students can continue during the academic year in the Mentor Program, which allows them to plan a research schedule with a MRSEC faculty mentor throughout the year. Pre-arranged transportation and class schedules are coordinated with local school boards to enable students from a large geographical area to enroll in the program. Almost three hundred high school students have participated in this program since its inception.

The students have consistently won recognition for their research through national competitions (LISEF, NYCSEF, NYSSEF, ISEF), published in refereed journals, been awarded patents, inducted into the National Young Inventor's Hall of Fame, and been accepted to universities or professional programs of their choice.


The publications, patents, and conferences in which the students participated were summarized in the preceding section. Here we focus on awards which are specific to high school students.

I. Intel Science Talent Search: This year four students were semi-finalists, Chun-Kai Kao Eli Joshua Bochner, , Mili Viplov Mehta, Pooja R.Vasudevan and one previous student, Priya Shah was a finalist.

II. Siemens-Westinghouse Competition: Wenting Cao(from California), Susie Ahn, Jacqueline Belizar, Victor Chang, Darren Huang, Matthew Hung, Sun Kim, Rida Malick, Paul Masih Das, Nicholas Mulchan, Tiya Nandi, Benjamin Parnes, Twelve Regional Finalists: Brandon Hsu from California and Naveen Murali from Connecticut along with Lara Fourman, Megan Garber, Elias Goodman, Sarajane Gross, Ashley Khalili, Elias Lebovits, Pooja Rambhia, Preya Shah, Sanchita Singal, Sara Snow, Stephanie Wang, and Daniel Younger from New York.

Below is a list of projects performed this summer by the 65 high school student participants in the program;

  • Optimum Conditions for Methane Hydrate Formation In A High Pressure Chamber
  • The Effect of Thiol-Functionalized Nanoparticles on the Efficiency of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells
  • Platinum Nanoparticles: From Energy Storage to Cancer Treatment
  • Analyzing the Effects of Supercritical Carbon Dioxide and Additives on the Revitalization of Recycled Polymers
  • Evaluating the Effects of Supercritical Foaming on Ethylene Vinyl-Acetate in Pure and Blend Form
  • The Effect of Supercritical Carbon Dioxide on the Selective Permeability of Polymer Membranes
  • Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (scCO2) and Nanoparticle Induced Swelling of Polymers for Nano-Lithography and Micro- electronics
  • Self Assembly of Diblock Copolymers for Testing Polymer Stabilization to Improve Industrial Lubrication and Nano- imprint Lithography
  • Hole Growth in Crosslinked Thin Polymer Films
  • Study for the Optimal Triple-Blend Flame Retardant System
  • Flame Retardant PS/PMMA Blended With Carbon Nanotubes
  • Influence of Static Magnetic Fields on Protein Adsorption and Organization
  • Cell Proliferation and Alignment on Magnetic Polymer-Clay Nanocomposites
  • Cell Morphology of Human and Cancerous Fibroblasts as a Function of Electrospun HA Hydrogel Scaffold Crosslinking Densities
  • The Effects of the Diameter of Poly(methyl methacrylate) Electrospun Fibers on the Morphology of Dermal Fibroblast Cells
  • Electrospinning and Spin-Casting Bacteria for the Filtration of Groundwater
  • Smart Scaffolds: Developing a Biocompatible Poly(methyl methacrylate) Matrix for Tissue Enginnering
  • Cell Growth, Cytoskeletal Structure, and Protein Expression in the Presence of Cloisite Na+
  • The Effects of Poly-Butadiene Thin Films on Dermal Fibroblast and Adipose Stem Cell Growth and Differentiation
  • Effects of Clay Substrates on Fibronectin Conformation and Fibroblast Cell Growth
  • The Use of Silica Beads as a Specific Targeting and Diagnostic Protocol for Cancer
  • The Effects of SPS (Sulfonated Polystyrene) on Induced and Noninduced Pulpal Stem Cells
  • A Novel Early Cancer Cell Detection System
  • Effects of Substrate Stiffness on Cell Morphology, Cytoskeletal Structure and Elasticity
  • Mathematical Modeling of Fibroblast Migration
  • The Effect of Ultraviolet Radiation on Different Components of Sunscreen with Ti02
  • The Stability of Natural Compounds in the Presence of UV Light and Sunscreen Components
  • The Use of Chemical and Mechanical Coatings as a Mechanism to Prevent the Damaging Effects of Photoactivated Titanium Dioxide on DNA.
  • Plastics in the Environment
  • Skin Mechanics and the Effects of Age: Application of DISC
  • Properties of Hydrogels Composed of Poly(ethylene oxide)- poly(propylene oxide)-poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(acrylic acid), A Potential for Transdermal Drug Delivery
  • Pluronic F127 as an Applicable Replacement for a Degenerated Nucleus Pulposus
  • Molecular Templating for Rapid Bioterrorism Detection
  • Use of Magnesium Ions to Modify DNA Adsorption and Electrophoresis on Surfaces
  • DNA Electrophoresis on Indium Tin Oxide Conducting Surfaces
  • Fibrinogen: A Study of Structure and Function
  • Biomineralization on Mixed Protein Templates
  • The Role of Tissue Non-Specific Alkaline Phosphatase in the Biomineralization of Osteoblasts
  • Conductivity of Silicon and Fibronectin Adsorption

  • Program of activities for the students for the summer

    The high school program begins with a period of structured activities, which provide the students with the basic skill required for independent research. These include, statistics modules, data base mining, proper reference notation, skills in keeping laboratory notebooks, awareness if intellectual property issues, filing for patents, ethics considerations, and working within a group environment.

    These lectures are interspersed with formal classes on polymers, materials selection, mechanical measurements, laboratory instrumentation, and safety training. Distinguished lecturers are invited to present colloquia to both students and staff of Garcia on recent research developments in fields of interest to the students. For example, student attended lectures on stem cell differentiation, tissue engineering materials, biofuels, solar energy, fuel cells, nanocomposites, marine ecology, etc.

    Social Interactions: The students are also encouraged to interact with each other through several "fun" activities. Two major trips are organized by the center each year.One involves visits to a research facility where students see laboratory experiments in real world situations. Last year the students visited Brookhaven National Laboratory, where they were divided according to research interests. They were able to chose among, Energy Research Divisions, Homeland Security and Nuclear Disarmament, High Energy Physics and Solid State research groups. For the second trip, we rented a fishing boat piloted by a former Stony Brook engineering graduate where they learned to use Sonar and navigation instrumentation for fishing.

    Since many of the students dorm at Stony Brook during the program, after hours activities, such as baseball and soccer leagues, small shopping and touring trips are also organized.

    Music: Many of the students also have musical talents and some are even quasi-professional musicians (members of the Disney Orchestra, small popular music bands, composers etc). In order to encourage these talents we also organize a musical program as part of the summer symposium. Music rehearsals and composition groups, organized by the RET director, John Jerome, start at the beginning of the program and continue on a regular basis throughout the summer.