Program awakens young 'sleeping scientists'

October 3, 2011 5:43 AM

Kathryn Hobgood Ray

“This program awakened the sleeping bear of a scientist within me,” said one high school student after attending the Tulane Science Scholars Program. Designed to excite young students about science and research, the program allows them to get a jump on the college experience by attending classes at Tulane.

Tulane Science Scholars

By learning research techniques in the laboratory, high school students may develop an interest in science careers. (Photo by Debra Karhson)

A fall session of the program, offered by the School of Science and Engineering, is currently under way.

Annette Oertling, an assistant dean in the school, says that 18 students are participating in the 2011–12 academic year program, which covers topics like global warming, animal behavior and how science often reflects theology, philosophy and society. 

“We connect faculty and graduate students with high school students so that they may share something about which are passionate,” says Oertling. “We wish to both educate and inspire.”

The high school students learned about neuroscience this past summer from Thomas Hebert, a professor of practice in the Department of Psychology.

“I really enjoy the students in our scholars program,” says Hebert. “We hope that involvement in research techniques and other fun activities in the neurosciences at an early age will tweak their interest such that they pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.”

There is evidence that the program is working. One participant, Brian Kim, was so excited about his experience that he wrote an article about it for his hometown newspaper in Natchitoches, La.

“I got to run tests and study the brain,” says Kim. “Because of this program, I have started to grow a new interest for the area of neuroscience.”



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