Academy of Applied Science
Our Best Kept Secret Unveiled
by Irene O'Mara, Director REAP
The Academy is well known for its programs that reach thousands of students around the nation-the JSHS and the Young Inventors' Program-but its best kept secret is the one program that perhaps has the most profound effect on the lives of a very select group of students.
There are many high school students across the country who would never "see" themselves as scientists or mathematicians or engineers were it not for a one-on-one summer program that opens their eyes and their minds. Known simply as REAP (Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program), this 21-year-old specialized program has introduced hundreds of minority students to the wonders that exist behind the doors of university research labs.
Without REAP there's no way these kids could open these doors and begin to discover their own potential for careers which, for most of them, there are no role models.
This summer 115 apprentices from 37 states are spending their days exploring science and technology. Each of them is working, one-on-one, with a university research mentor in one of 60 university labs around the U.S.
Grants from the Army Research Office (ARO) provide a stipend for the students for their participation in this year's summer program. The students tackle such challenges as Monitoring Dissolved Oxygen in Crayfish Ponds. (photo)
Administering this inspiring program is the Academy's job but the most difficult part is selecting a handful of students from the many who are recommended by their teachers. REAP makes a real difference in their lives.
"Through Dr. Sethuraman's unique teaching method, I learned the value of persistence and how to teach myself. Being able to teach myself, or self-reliability, will become invaluable. The emphasis on logic and method will enable me to solve almost any problem" stated Regina Thai of Florida State Univeristy under the guidance of Dr. Sethuraman. Corey Eucetola, an apprentice at Colorado State University stated, "This has revived my desire to learn physics. After failing PH 141 and 142, I was burnt out, but this program has been so enjoyable that I wish to take more physicsI will be teaching myself intuition which will benefit me in making decisions when I start my own business."
We must remember that REAP is targeted to the under-represented population of our country and, by our efforts and those of our dedicated mentors, we are MAKING A DIFFERENCE. Imagine what we could accomplish if money were not the concern!
We're planting very gentle seeds today and society will reap a very grand harvest in years to come.