STARS student Preethi UmaShanker works in a lab last summer with with her mentor, James Bashkin, professor of chemistry at UMSL. (Photo by August Jennewein)

It’s a dream come true for aspiring teenage scientists – the chance to work side-by-side with top scientists and gain hands-on experience within a laboratory research setting.

Academically-talented high school juniors and seniors will get an opportunity to do just that during the 2013 Students and Teachers as Research Scientists program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. This year nearly 90 high school students from the St. Louis metro area, as well as Connecticut, Florida, Illinois and even Greece will take part in the program, which will run from June 10 to July 19.

“The university is thrilled to once again open its doors to some of the brightest science students in the St. Louis area,” UMSL Chancellor Tom George said. “High school students interested in a science career get a big head start with their participation in the STARS program.”

The prestigious six-week summer science program will pair students with top research mentors from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis and the host institution UMSL. Experts from the four institutions will take on student apprentices in laboratories and direct students in research projects. Also, students will attend lectures by nationally known scientists from the St. Louis science community, learn information concerning the higher education admission process, and enjoy social events such as bowling, a movie, an ice cream social, the St. Louis Symphony and a St. Louis Cardinals game.

Elaine Krul, a lead researcher at Solae who serves as an adviser to STARS students is a big fan of the program, which she notes allows students to expand their education far beyond the classroom into the real world.

“Our country needs to cultivate these great minds, and the STARS program allows the students to experience things they did not know about at the start of the summer and come away with a sense of accomplishing something that, in the long run, will benefit humanity,” she said.

STARS is funded partially through LMI Aerospace/D3 Technologies, the Office of the Chancellor at UMSL, SLU, WUSTL and Solae.

STARS will conclude its six week program with a confirmation ceremony at 3 p.m. July 19 at the E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater in the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL. The event is free and open to the public.

The students for the 2013 STARS program are:

American Heritage School: Harshath Gupta
Anatolia College: Alexandra Koulousi, Maria-Angi Lalioti, Aliki Stogiannou
Centralia High School: Sruti Suresh
Chaminade College Preparatory School: Jack Yungbluth
Clayton High School: Momoko Oyama, Maxwell Sorensen, Shiori Tomatsu
Crossroads College Preparatory School: Benton Birch, Andrew Witherspoon
Eureka High School: Jessica Knobbe, Edgar Loaiza, Chester Montefering
Ft. Zumwalt East High School: Zachary Walters
Ft. Zumwalt South High School: Sathwik Katragadda, Tarun Vittal
Ft. Zumwalt West High School: Vinootna Sompalli
Francis Howell High School: Sachith Gamlath, Derek Koo, Varun Mohan
John Burroughs School: Emily Butka, Amanda Cao, Soomin Cho, Joanne Hsueh, Elizabeth Jackson, Zane Norton, Addison Ogonoski, Victoria Williams, Yueyi Zhao
Ladue Horton Watkins High School: Jacob Jacob, Sarah Jacob, Christine Yan, Yu Ze Zhu
Lafayette High School: Katherine Huang, Jeffrey Lu, Katriella Lumbantobing, Olivia Neumann, Anjana Renganathan, Kelly Storrs
Lindbergh High School: Claire Dang, Joshua Luthy
Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School: Brandon Moseley
Marquette High School: Suhas Bobba, Brian Ji, Susie Wang
Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School: Tilman Bartelsmeyer, Max Bernstein, Paul Dalton, Daniel Kaganov, John Li, Aimun Malik, Thomas Ristevski, Madison Wrobley
Missouri Academy: HaRim Kim
Notre Dame High School: Lucy Freitag
Parkway Central High School: Zhaochen Ji, Minki Kim, Greg Kosinski, Alexander Mesnier, Michael Wang, Haochen Xu
Parkway North High School: Valerie Irwin, Ellen Wang
Parkway South High School: Zhengjie Hu, Sumrah Khan
Parkway West High School: Sarah Breland, Neil Maitra, Benjamin Ratliff, Rigel Robinson
Pattonville High School: Denish Jaswal
Prospect High School: Apurva Belsare
St. Joseph’s Academy: Ashley Taylor
St. Louis Priory: Andrew Cammon, Christopher Chivetta, Matthew Kovac
St. Louis University High School: Robert Braddock
Timberland High School: Ellen Gruebbeling
Villa Duchesne High School: Katelyn Billings, Anna Coyle, Taylor Harris, Victoria Ip, Kayla Simon
Visitation Academy: Lilac Khojasteh, Jordan Small
Webster Groves High School: Darby Turner
Westminster Christian Academy: Ciarra Peters
Wilton High School: Evaline Xie

For more information contact Ken Mares at 314-516-6155 or

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez