Every year, forty high school students throughout Florida are selected to be a part of the Young Scholars Program, a prestigious math and science program. This past summer, I was offered a chance to be a part of it and engage in STEM related activities while also getting a taste of college life. Students were assigned to three classes, one from each subject area of math, science, and computer science. They were also given an individual research project (IRP) to work on over the course of six weeks. The projects ranged from the scientific fields of biomedicine to nuclear physics. At the end of the program, the students got a chance to share their progress with faculty, sponsors, and each other. For me the most exciting part of this program was the IRP since I had the opportunity to engage in cutting edge research and learn how to use pioneering technology to do so. While all the science could seem overwhelming, YSP presented several enjoyable weekend activities such as canoeing, visiting Wakulla Springs (the world’s largest freshwater spring), and relaxing at the beach on St. George Island. Also, the residential stay at FSU gives students a feel for independence that allows them to get acquainted with college life. Students combing back from this program end up being more intellectually mature as a result of the wonderful experience this program provides. Over the past several years, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been active participants of this program, and I hope we will continue to sustain this tradition for many more years to come.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.