Precollegiate STARS program sees record enrollment for 2016

2015 STARS students (from left) Bolatito Fatoki and Katherine Minorini, juniors at Whitfield High School at the time, pose after completing the six-week, precollegiate science research program at UMSL last summer. (Photos by August Jennewein)2015 STARS students (from left) Bolatito Fatoki and Katherine Minorini, juniors at Whitfield High School at the time, pose after completing the six-week, precollegiate science research program at UMSL last summer. (Photos by August Jennewein)

2015 STARS students (from left) Bolatito Fatoki and Katherine Minorini, juniors at Whitfield High School at the time, pose after completing the six-week, precollegiate science research program at UMSL last summer. (Photos by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis precollegiate research program Students and Teachers as Research Scientists has a record 96 high school juniors enrolled this summer. An additional four students will return from last year’s program as research associates, rounding out the grand total to 100 high school participants for 2016.

Those are exciting numbers for the six-week program that introduces the next generation of scientists to the lab and the world of intensive, cutting-edge research.

Running from June 13 to July 22, STARS will pair academically talented students with more than 60 local scientists who work in fields such as biology, chemistry, computer science, earth science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, medicine, physics and psychology. Opportunities in labs range from studying molecular genetics of rare inherited bone diseases to carbon dioxide capture, utilization and storage to computer graphics and computer game development.

The mentors are top researchers from Array Bridge, Confluence Discovery Technologies, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis and the host institution, UMSL.

UMSL Chancellor Tom George was just one of the many researchers brought in for the 2015 STARS program, which offers lectures from top area experts in various STEM fields. George lectured on the different states of matter, focusing mainly on his work with carbon clusters.

UMSL Chancellor Tom George was just one of the many researchers brought in for the 2015 STARS program, which offers lectures from top area experts in various STEM fields. George lectured on the different states of matter, focusing mainly on his work with carbon clusters.

“The opportunities offered to these students turn into more than advance preparedness for college,” said Ken Mares, director of the STARS program – now in its 28th year. “These students have gone on to shining futures as doctors, conservation scientists and chemical engineers, to name only a few of the many successes.”

Besides the individual attention and experience students gain in the lab, the STARS program also hosts lectures by nationally lauded scientists based in St. Louis. Those lectures span topics from medical ethics to bees to nerve injury and more.

“STARS really opens up the world of science research to high school students on so many levels,” UMSL Chancellor Tom George said. “They benefit from the lab experience, but also the exposure to so many researchers with expert knowledge. And this is all while experiencing college and campus life.”

Social events offer STARS students a taste of the undergraduate experience in St. Louis with activities like an ice cream social, a St. Louis Symphony concert and a St. Louis Cardinals game, among others.

STARS is sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor at UMSL, SLU, WUSTL, St. Louis Symphony, DuPont, Monsanto, Missouri Botanical Garden, Academy of Science of St. Louis, Easter Seal Midwest, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Symphony, University of Missouri–Kansas City, John Burroughs School and Boeing Co.

The program’s confirmation ceremony and reception is at 3 p.m. July 22 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 2016 STARS program are:

Al-Salam Day School: Hadi Ahmed Elmesky
Anatolia College: Vasiliki Alexiou
Beverly Hills High School: Yu Jin Kim
Carbondale Community High School: Ananth Varadendra Panchamukhi
Chaminade College Preparatory School: Jon Richard Buehne, Julian Mark Makhoul
Clayton High School: Jiayi Chen, Nicholas Inseok Lee, Claire J. Millett, Alhan Afzal Sayyed, Auriann Johnna Sehi, Helen Marie Tomasson, Ashleigh Mary Williams
Cranbrook Kingswood School: Julia Yi Cheng
Crossroads College Preparatory School: Callista Boettcher Martin
Jefferson Davis Academy: Sarah Elizabeth Davis
Francis Howell North High School: James Russell Dohrman, Lavanya Kolluru
Fort Zumwalt North High School: Joseph Lincoln Cassidy
Fort Zumwalt South High School: Nikhita Reddy Kichili
John Burroughs School: Laura Catherine Butka, Katherine Kavitha Gnanarajah, Jennifer H. Zhou
Ladue Horton Watkins High School: Philip Bell Adams, Cindy Geng, Matan Gabriel Gottesman, Anhthi Hoang Luong, Nisha Ayesha Naseer, Alexandra Lee Rice
Lafayette High School: Nathaniel Johannes Ho, Hamza Iqbal, Nitara Lakshmi Margana, Shruthi Ramalingam, Alexander Thuta Wollam
Lindbergh High School: Asher Jacob Harris, Brett Sungwook Kim
Marquette High School: Lauren Elisabeth Jenkins, Pournika Muniyandi, Michael (Chenxin) Yin
Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School: Abdullah Almousalli, Nidhi Bhaskar, Rohit Lalit Chouhan, Alexander Lukasz Curylo, Caroline Grace Dong, Niema Foroughi, Shane Richard Isaak, Vignesh Janardhanam, Abinaya Lakshmanan, Cameron Ross Macones, Arianna Mirkhaef, Alyssa Christine Nicole Ogle, Anjali Reddy Pante, Jacob Reed Platin, Amaan Syed Qazi, Samantha Allison Sansone, Sanchita Sen, Trisha Venkatesh
Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing: Jiyoon Lee, Som Prabh Singh, SirkHoo Yun
Monta Vista High School: Ethan Siufung Ng
Mt. Vernon Township High School: Shreya Sudeep Nair
Parkway Central High School: Daniel Alan Berkovich, Anthony Zhiyuan Chen, Balaji Cherupalla, Supriya Chowdary Ellina, Yuan Gao, Souradip Ghosh
Parkway North High School: Aditya Pramod Gokhale
Parkway South High School: Anushi Aggarwal, Medha Srigiri
Parkway West High School: Bushra Nawal Ahmed, Chiron Lawson Chunghwa Robinson, Kentaurus Lawson Chungoon Robinson, Mary Elizabeth Steurer
Pattonville High School: Olivia Claire Wedig
Rivermont Collegiate: Manasa Sai Pagadala
Saxony Lutheran High School: Rachael Rose Koehler
St. Charles High School: Karen Hu Ye
St. Joseph’s Academy: Katie Ann Kersting
Saint Louis Priory School: James Patrick Orme-Rogers
St. Louis University High School: Matthew George Smith
University City High School: Coumba Tall, John Alexander Tschampel
Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School: Pauline Emilie Hidalgo, Clara Elizabeth Wolf
Visitation Academy of St. Louis: Mirdhula Ananthamurugan, Aarti Madhu
Westminster Christian Academy: Katelyn Nicole Davidson, Paige Elizabeth Stanfill, Madelyn Blake Trost
Whitfield School: Christopher Harold Hanson, Zachary Drew Taylor

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

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