The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday September 29th

Summer program aims to fill gaps in science fields

This summer session, UNC is housing two dozen students significantly younger than the rest.

Twenty-four high school students are participating in a six-week academic boot camp as part of the University’s new science scholarship program.

The Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program, which accepts students after a competitive application process, aims to help top students pursuing professions in science and math. Lauren Thomas, the program coordinator, said the primary goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented students in science.

Michael Crimmins, a UNC chemistry professor, said the program will promote a significantly higher number of minority students into possible Ph.D. programs.

“Promoting more underrepresented students in (science) is what is really needed in the U.S. employment workforce for this discipline,” Crimmins said.

Chemistry professor Joe Templeton, a leader of the program, said the summer camp portion of the program aims to better prepare students for the fall.

“The students have common goals, and they are living together and supporting each other,” Templeton said.

“We hope that would position them for success for their first year or two in all the courses at Carolina.”

Along with taking three courses, for which the students will receive seven credit hours, the participants are required to partake in study sessions, cohort projects and activities, lab tours and seminars this summer.

Thomas said the program is beneficial because it creates an environment for the science scholars to thrive, while also attracting top undergraduate talent to UNC.

The program is modeled after the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Templeton said.

He said UNC’s program has been funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

“As we were gathering information (for initiating the program) and after talking to colleagues at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, we heard from (the institute) this spring that they would support our program,” Templeton said.

“This quickly stimulated us into bringing potential students to interview for our program.”

Thomas said the program has also been supported by the University.

The participating students will be part of the program throughout their four years at UNC and will receive a $10,000 scholarship each year they remain with the program.

Templeton said he is thrilled to see so much support for the program.

“We’ve just had encouragement in direct support from so many units around campus, from the medical school to admissions,” he said.

“It’s been really wonderful to see how supportive people want to be. When we identify the way that they could assist in making this program successful, they step forward and do it.”

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