The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology has wrapped up its second annual High School Lab Skills summer intern program, providing an immersive learning experience for a group of local high school students to experience the world of cutting-edge research. The department celebrated the success of the program with a breakfast event on Aug. 17 that highlighted and honored the commitment of all its participants.

For six weeks, a cohort of talented and motivated Brighton-Allston High School students explored chemical experimentation and discovery. This program was designed and planned in partnership with the Harvard Ed Portal to expose students to the frontiers of chemistry and inspire them to consider careers in science.

The program’s curriculum offered a well-rounded experience, combining science literary lessons with hands-on laboratory work. Under the guidance of professors and seasoned researchers, interns engaged in collaborative projects and experienced the excitement of scientific research.

“This program’s goal is to identify and support high school students who are not aware of STEM laboratory career options in chemistry,” said Deana Reardon, executive director of CCB. “For CCB, this program complements our collective focus on increasing diversity in our department, cultivating mentorship, and forging outreach efforts within the Boston community.”

The HSLS program began in the spring when CCB graduate students taught a weekly class about science literacy and laboratory skills at the Harvard Ed Portal. The high school students in attendance had been nominated by their teachers. At the end of the semester, the students demonstrated the skills they had acquired and then each student was paired with a CCB lab group that was able to provide a research internship over the summer.

The graduate student mentors provided guidance and instruction to the high schoolers as they performed experiments, read scientific papers, and experienced scientific research in action. The interns also participated in laboratory research, attended group meetings, lunched with faculty and staff, performed experiments, and utilized the department’s advanced research facilities.

“The work of this program cannot be done without our graduate student mentors,” Reardon said.  “They are the face of the department, their labs, of making science accessible to students, and they are truly the key to make this program successful.”

The high schoolers credit the program with exposing them to careers in the STEM field and new skills in chemistry research.

“Over the summer, I’ve been learning how to attach a sugar onto a functional group called a phenol” said intern Adriyana Chandler. “In the future I’m excited to learn how to create my own nucleophile to attach on to an electrophile.”

Looking ahead, CCB is committed to building on the program’s success into the future.

The interns and their mentors are listed below; photos and video are available at CCB:

  • Marwa Alsabahi, Ni Lab. Mentor: Jeshurun Luke
  • Adriyana Chandler, Jacobsen Lab. Mentor: Jonathan Wong and Agata Bikovtseva
  • Marissa Debrito, Betley Lab. Mentor: Ivan Arvizo
  • Malik Nelson, Balskus Lab. Mentor: Antonio Tinoco Valencia
  • Elizabeth West Raye, Mason Lab. Mentor: Jason Calvin

Read Full Story