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Young Scholars Program: Summer Research Opportunities for Gifted and Talented Students

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Out-of-School and Informal Activities

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1501.1 - 25.1501.13



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Paper Authors


Yair Joseph Mega P.E. Northeastern University

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Yair Mega is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University, and a Research Fellow at the Cardiovascular Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. His area of research involves non-linear optics applications for bio-medical imaging. Mega has also worked as a program coordinator with the Young Scholars Program (YSP) at Northeastern University for the last two years. His involvement includes matching the technical contents of the research to students’ background and interests. Mega holds an M.S. degree specializing in nano-lithography from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Tel-Aviv University, Israel, and a B.S. degree from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Ben-Gurion University in Negev, Israel.

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Claire Duggan Northeastern University Orcid 16x16

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Claire Duggan has a B.S. in political science from the University of Massachusetts and a M.P.A. in public administration from Northeastern University. She was appointed 2003-present Director for Programs and Operations, the Center for STEM Northeastern University; 1989-2003 Associate Director, CESAME/The Center for the Enhancement of Science and Mathematics Education, Northeastern University, and K-12 Outreach Coordinator, CenSSIS/ALERT, Northeastern University; and 1981-1989 Associate Director for Finance and Administration, Center for Electromagnetics Research (CER), Northeastern University. Publications/Papers: Reenergizing and Reengaging Students Interest through CAPSULE; A Novel and Evolutionary Method on Educating Teachers to Promote STEM Careers Jessica Chin, Abe Zeid, Claire Duggan, Sagar Kamarthi (IEEE ISEC 2011); and “Implementing the Capstone Experience Concept for Teacher Professional Development” Jessica Chin, Abe Zeid, Claire Duggan, Sagar Kamarthi (ASEE 2011). Relevant Presentations:
“K-12 Partnerships” (Department of Homeland Security/Centers of Excellence Annual Meeting 2009); “Building and Sustaining K-12 Educational Partnerships” (NSF ERC 2007 - 2010 National Meetings); “Research Experience for Teachers: Integrating Research Skills into the classroom” (UNH 2nd Annual Nanotechnology Conference for Teachers April 2006); and “Educational Outreach Programs” (2005 MA STEM Summit). She was Co-principal Investigator/Program Director, Research Experience for Teachers (RET), development and implementation of the Research Experience for Teachers site at Northeastern University; Executive Director/Founder, Young Scholars Program, development and implementation of the Young Scholars Program, a summer research program for high school students; Co-executive Director, Exxon Mobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, development and implementation of a residential camp for middle school students; Liaison, StepUP Imitative, coordinate Northeastern University’s involvement with the StepUP initiative, a partnership effort between five universities and eleven Boston Public Schools; Project Director, IMPACT New England: A Regional Curriculum Implementation Effort, coordinated program development and implementation; Seminar Leader, Northeastern University School of Education, facilitated a group of students participating in the Introduction to Education course; Project Support Liaison, Teacher Innovation program, provided support to teachers/schools in the development and implementation of Teacher Innovation Programs (TIP), provided technical assistance to teachers through the proposal process, conducted proposal-writing workshops; Co-facilitator (2004), Boston East Pipeline Network; and Alumni, Lead Boston 2004 (The National Conference for Community and Justice). She won the 2006 Northeastern University Aspiration Award, and was recognized at the 2003 Northeastern University Reception honoring Principal Investigators that obtained funding in excess of $1 million over a five-year period.

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Daniel Sullivan Northeastern University

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Daniel Sullivan has a B.S. in civil engineering and has worked for the Center for STEM Education since 2010.

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Lauren Horn Northeastern University

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Charles A. Dimarzio Northeastern University

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Poster – Young Scholars Program - Summer Research Opportunities for Gifted and Talented StudentsThe Young Scholars Program was launched at NU in 1989, with funding from theNational Science Foundation (NSF) in response to a national shortage of qualified U.S.citizens moving into STEM careers.1 The first generation of this program ran from 1989-1997. In 2004, the program was reestablished with support from a private foundation.Increased attention and support of this program grew from recommendations made in the 2national report, ―Rising Above The Gathering Storm,‖ that noted the need for expandedexperiential learning experiences in STEM for K–12 students. The model developed atNU has been refined to become a comprehensive learning experience for programparticipants and staff. NUYSP offers future scientists and engineers a unique opportunityfor hands-on experience while still in high school. It also provides faculty and graduatestudents across the campus the opportunity to mentor the next generation of STEMprofessionals. Open to Greater Boston area applicants who have completed theirsophomore or junior year in high school, the program encourages the participation ofstudents from all income levels, providing a stipend for the program’s duration.As the globalization of the economy continues, the depth of knowledge and experiencerequired to be successful in the workforce continues to rise. Classroom learningexperiences can be greatly enhanced by means of summer enrichment programs,especially for gifted and talented students. The US has seen some progress in national testscores, however high ability student interest in STEM careers continues to declineaccording to a recently released study (Lowell, Salzman, Bernstein, Henderson 2009).3 “Our findings indicate that STEM retention along the pipeline shows strong and even increasing rates of retention from the 1970s to the late 1990s. The overall trend of increasingly strong STEM retention rates, however, is accompanied by simultaneous and sometimes sharp declines in retention among the highest performing students in the 1990s. (Lowell et al, executive summary, pii)”This report shows with statistical significance that while the percentage of students inSTEM majors has remained relatively the same over the last twenty years, the percentageof those students identified as top achievers (defined as those with the highest SAT/ACTscores) has decreased (Lowell et al, p20). Fewer and fewer gifted and talented highschool and undergraduate students are opting for STEM pathways and of those whochoose that path, fewer persist to the degree.One way to attract and retain student interest in STEM fields and careers is to providestudents with experiences that illuminate the practical application of science and to1 As reported in the 1983 publication A Nation at Risk by the National Commission on Excellence in Education.2 Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future (2006),Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. Prepublication. The National Academies Press, Washington DC. Steady as She Goes? Three Generations of Students through the Science and Engineering Pipeline (2009) - B.Lindsay Lowell, Hal Salzman, Hamutal Bernsteina with Everett Henderson. Paper presented at: Annual Meetings of theAssociation for Public Policy Analysis and Management Washington, D.C. November 7, 2009. A summary of the reportwas published in Education Week: STEM Defection Seen to Occur After High School – Sean Cavanagh, October 28,2009support these students socially as they complete high school and move on to theirundergraduate experience.What separates NU from other universities is also what separates the Young ScholarsProgram from other enrichment programs for high school students: experience basedlearning. NU combines classroom studies with experiential learning to allow the practicalapplications to come alive. The YSP program allows students to apply their baseknowledge in the areas of science, math and engineering in a way that deepens theirunderstanding and prepares them for careers in these fields and for a lifetime ofachievement.The program seeks to maintain a balance between academic and social components,providing students an opportunity to build relationships with university students andfaculty in addition to fellow participants. Our objective is to create and support a STEMcommunity well beyond the six-week summer experience.Program Goals and Objectives 1. Introduce students to the research environment – Students will be able to identify appropriate materials, equipment, safety measures, and necessary tasks that need to be completed within the lab. Students will conduct experiments, analyze and interpret results, and organize presentations based upon their research. Additionally, students will understand the ethics of conducting scientific research and will be able to recognize issues related to intellectual property. 2. Prepare students for college – Students will be able to identify schools that meet their interests and will understand the process of applying to a university or college. By practicing writing a college essay and hearing from admissions counselors, students will be prepared for the application process that lies ahead. Students will also have a better understanding of the diversity of a college campus after they experience the mixed socioeconomic, racial, and cultural backgrounds of fellow participants, and the range of students they encounter in the lab setting—from undergraduates to post-doctoral researchers. 3. Teach students to work collaboratively – Students will be able to demonstrate their ability to work as a member of the research team. Teams will each create a PowerPoint and Research Poster which will be presented to program participants, research mentors, families and friends, funders, and the Northeastern community at large. 4. Increased exposure to STEM pathways – Students will be exposed to a variety of STEM fields during weekly research seminars, special presentations by lead faculty and staff from STEM departments, and field excursions to STEM industries. These presentations and excursions will introduce students to a variety of STEM professionals, allowing them to gain a better understanding of the numerous opportunities available with a STEM background. 5. Continue Networking and Support –By means of various available platforms, past participants will remain connected with the greater Young Scholars community—past students, coordinators, and Northeastern faculty and staff. The YSP program has established a presence on social and professional networking sites (Facebook and LinkedIn, respectively) in order to provide students the ability to remain connected as friends and as potential colleagues.Research Assignments and Participating FacultyEach year, a request is sent out to partnering faculty from affiliated centers and researchprograms, as well as any new faculty who have expressed an interest in outreach.Typically, the program will receive more research assignments than it has funding towork with. Recent research assignments included but were not limited to the followingtopics: Nanotechnology for gene therapy; Noninvasive brain-computer interface design;Nitrite/nitrate removal in wastewater; Effect of drop landing on the knee joint stress fieldand ACL injury; Investigating jet fuels using gas chromatography; and Spin spraydeposited microwave magnetic materials. Supporting faculty are drawn from across thecampus, providing a wide range of offerings for participants.Post ProgramThe NUYSP has had approximately 293 student participants to date. Since the programwas resurrected in 2004, there have been 130 students. Over 94 percent have chosen tomajor in a STEM-related field including Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science,Engineering, Nursing, Physics, and Pre-Med at some of the most prestigious institutionsacross the country. Additionally, we continue to request feedback from studentsregarding how their experiences with the Young Scholars Program have continued tohave an effect on them as they continue through college.

Mega, Y. J., & Duggan, C., & Sullivan, D., & Horn, L., & Dimarzio, C. A. (2012, June), Young Scholars Program: Summer Research Opportunities for Gifted and Talented Students Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22258

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015