Kolbe lauds science students, raps high school system

By Katherine Kisiel

Arizona Summer Wildcat

High school students are getting prepared for college, but it's not necessarily happening at their schools.

Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., said it's happening because of university programs such as the High School Biology Research Apprentice Program at the University of Arizona.

Kolbe spoke in the College of Pharmacy last Thursday to high school students who had just completed the five-week program.

He said these programs are very much needed for students interested in scientific research.

"Secondary schools are not providing enough challenges needed for these students to achieve their maximum capability, which this program provides," Kolbe said.

Kolbe's speech focused on how important these programs are for U.S. students to learn to deal with challenges not only in their jobs, but their lives

Program Director Carol Bender said the best thing about the program is it helps students become familiar with more than what their high school can provide. The program helps students understand the research aspect of science as opposed to just the basics, she said.

Margie Uswandi, undeclared sophomore, attended the program two summers ago.

Uswandi, who is now enrolled in the undergraduate biology research program, said the high school program really strengthened her perception of scientific research and helped her studies at the UA.

She said her high school in Mesa provided the basics, but the program's in-depth techniques definitely enriched her knowledge of scientific research.

Uswandi said she choose the UA because of its quality of research. She felt the program paved the way for her studies in biochemical research.

In the program, each student is assigned to one faculty member and receives hands-on experience in their field of interest. The students put over 40 hours a week into real projects going on at the medical laboratories and actually participate in their experiments.

The program is very competitive Bender said. "Out of 60 applicants this year, we only took 10 students."

She said the university looks for students who have a strong interest in research science, which could be anything from plant science to biological research, and good standings in math and science.

Bender said the program enables the faculty to train the next generation of scientists and training is important for these students.

The program started in 1989 with five students and has seen over 100 students in the past six years.

The program is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Flinn Foundation.

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