John Tyler High School students spend week at UT Health Center’s Science Academy

Monday, August 22, 2005

Seven John Tyler High School students spent a couple of weeks this summer at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler learning firsthand what it means to conduct biomedical research.

The students were part of Science Academy Summer 2005. This new program is designed to link John Tyler students interested in the fields of health care, research, and medicine with health care professionals and scientists at UTHSCT, said Anne DeWitt, executive director of Nursing and Allied Health Education and Research.

The Science Academy students first examined the field of biomedical research and careers in that field at John Tyler. The students then spent a time in UTHSCT labs, gaining hands-on knowledge about biomedical research. On their last day, Aug. 5, they presented their findings to UTHSCT scientists and administrators during a special lunch at the Health Center. The seven students were Demonica Banks, Jonathan K. Brown, Ericca Caldwell, Wendy Garcia, Chasidy Griffin, Jasmine Starling, and iliana Rosales.

“This is an opportunity to reach out to our local high schools and develop a broader research base. We plan to continue the relationship in this next school year, providing John Tyler with guest lecturers from the Health Center and the students with opportunities to study and work in the labs for a day or so,” DeWitt said.

“This initiative is a way to help students broaden their perspectives. They are able to study subjects they enjoy, that they are good at, and that benefit the community,” she said.

“If Tyler is going to grow and attract a commercial biomedical research base in addition to the medically oriented and government-supported research initiatives, we have to grow a local base of researchers,” DeWitt said.

“While they were here, they talked with UTHSCT graduate students about their education and about career opportunities in the biomedical sciences,” she said. UTHSCT now offers two master’s degree programs in conjunction with Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches : a master’s of science in biotechnology and a master’s of science in environmental science . Earlier this year, the Texas Legislature gave UTHSCT the authority to grant degrees, and the Health Center is currently going forward with that effort.

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