STARS program graduates budding scientists

More than 60 of the top area high school students graduated from the STARS program housed at UMSL. (Photo by August Jennewein)

More than 60 of the top area high school students graduated from the STARS program housed at UMSL. (Photo by August Jennewein)

More than 60 of the area’s best and brightest high school students graduated last week from the Students and Teachers as Research Scientists program housed at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Commencement marked the end of six weeks of intensive science research under the mentoring of leading local scientists. But it was also a new beginning for the STARS students, whose projects put them a step ahead as they look toward their college careers with undergraduate-level research experience.

“STARS equips these students with the confidence, content and experience to pursue science degrees and become leading physicians, biochemists and more in their fields,” said Ken Mares, program director.

Mentors for the program are from the Confluence Discovery Technologies, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis and the host institution, UMSL.

The annual summer program is in its 28th year and has graduated its 2,000th student.

“We’re happy to provide high school students access to STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] opportunities on UMSL’s campus and in UMSL’s laboratories so that they might one day become top scientists themselves,” UMSL Chancellor Tom George said.

George also offered a scholarship to each 2015 STARS graduate [Missouri residents only] who enrolls full time at UMSL. For those who accept his offer, tuition is covered as well as a $1,500 funded summer research opportunity provided in their field of interest.

The 2015 STARS program graduates are:

Affton High School: Gabrielle Murphy
Anatolia College: Daniel Bauloye, Anastasia Lalioti, Angeliki Lalioti, Vasilis Rallis
Chaminade College Prepatory School: Jacob Bai, Liam Harrison, Alan Pineda
Christian Brothers College High School: Christopher Ernst
Clayton High School: Matthew De la Paz, Madeleine Goedegebuure, Xuechun Qian, Saori Tomatsu
Cor Jesu Academy: Julie Gauthier
Edwardsville High School: Pradeep Kandula
Eureka High School: Ramya Chengalvala
Francis Howell High School: Allison Foster
Francis Howell North High School: Pratyush Sontha
Fort Zumwalt North High School: Yushin Lee
Ladue Horton Watkins High School: Spencer Chen, Gregory Farn, Oishi Paul, Alexander Tan, Ina Yu
Lafayette Senior High School: Julia Romero, Kyle Westendorf
Marquette High School: Shu Han, Mayur Khanna, Sid Rana
Marquette Catholic High School: Gabriel Brenner
Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School: Brittany Calkins, Jennifer Donovan, Louisa Goldman, Rebekah Greenspan, Benjamin Hahn, Nicole Howard, Haris Khan, Pravin Sivabalan, Lily Xu
Mt. Vernon Township High School: Shubhika Jain
Parkway Central High School: Sharanya Kumar, Lucas Shanker
Parkway South High School: Himavarsha Kancharla, Ayush Pathak, Sai Pinni
Parkway West High School: Lana Kuziez, Melany Yeung
Pattonville High School: Misael Barcenas-Toledo, Gayathri Srinivasan
Saint Louis Priory School: Matthew Braddock
Timberland High School: Noah Angeles
University City High School: Joshua Stueck
Ursuline Academy: Haley Stelzer-Monahan
Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School: Nina Kaiser, Harper Wieldt
Visitation Academy: Sarah Lam
Webster Groves High School: Gavin Turner
Westminster Christian Academy: Sabrina Bingham, Sydney Thomas, Megan Wibbenmeyer
Whitfield School: Bolatito Fatoki, Katherine Minorini

UMSL faculty members who served as mentors for the 2015 STARS program are:

James Bashkin, professor of chemistry
Eike Bauer, associate professor of chemistry
Janet Braddock-Wilking, associate professor of chemistry
Benjamin Bythell, assistant professor chemistry
Alexei Demchenko, professor of chemistry
Aimee Dunlap, assistant professor of biology
Bruce Hamper, assistant teaching professor of chemistry
Robert Marquis, professor of biology and director of Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center
James O’Brien, professor of chemistry
Wendy Olivas, associate professor of biology
Nigam Rath, professor of chemistry
Keith Stine, professor of chemistry
Sam Wang, professor of biology

STARS is sponsored by LMI Aerospace/D3 Technologies, the Office of the Chancellor at UMSL, SLU, WUSTL, St. Louis Symphony, DuPont Nutrition and Health, Monsanto, Academy of Science of St. Louis, Easter Seals Midwest, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, St. Louis Zoo and University of Missouri–Kansas City.

For more information about the STARS program contact Ken Mares at 314-516-6155 or maresk@umsl.edu.
The UMSL Experience

Media Coverage:
KETC (Channel 9)

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