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.
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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;
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.