Research Summer School

DATE: 7-18-03

CONTACT: Karen Hall, (864) 940-7747

WRITER: Sandy Dees, (864) 656-4193


CLEMSON -- Summer school was never like this.

CSI-type sleuthing that uses bugs to predict water quality and genetic studies on sleeping sickness are all part of Clemson University's Summer Program for Research Interns. The intense six-week course pairs rising high school seniors with top Clemson professors, giving students access to research savvy and cutting-edge equipment.

The 32 students are chosen from South Carolina high schools and the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Math in Hartsville.

Students work closely with professors from the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, the Center for Advanced Engineering of Fibers and Films and the College of Engineering and Science.

"These students are given a unique, hands-on opportunity to conduct research with well known faculty mentors," said Barbara Speziale, an associate dean in Clemson's College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. "The mentor/student relationship is particularly important as these students prepare for careers in all disciplines of science and math."

Student work this year includes a look into antibiotic resistance in cows, mathematical modeling of a foot restraint system for astronauts, qualitative light effects on tomato, genomic studies on peach tree development, studies on packaging and processing of meat products in order to improve quality and safety, a proposal for a standard protocol to measure UV absorbance for the EPA, qualitative soybean study, study of fibers in tissue engineering, forest management effects on bat populations and research that could lead to reduced dependence on pesticides.

Students will present their findings 2-3:30 p.m. Friday (July 18) at the Hendrix Student Center.

The program receives a portion of its funding from a $1.8 million award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program. Additional support comes from the Office of the Provost, the Governor's School of Science and Mathematics, the College of Engineering and Science, and Clemson's Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films.

The summer internship program is an outgrowth of Clemson's "SC LIFE: Natural History of South Carolina" middle-school curriculum. SC LIFE is the biological counterpart to SC MAPS, which uses topographic maps, satellite images and folk tales from across the state to teach earth sciences. The SC LIFE program supports life science learning through teach-the-teacher courses, hands-on classroom equipment, virtual field trips, the biology merit exam and web support.