We do what we do at the Academy because we're passionate about connecting bright young people with exciting and fruitful (and critical) careers in math, technology, engineering, and the sciences. And there's no better reward then to hear from those who have participated in our programs and found inspiration and direction and possibilities they never understood were well within their grasp.
While our successes bring a sense of satifisfaction and renew our energies, we truly savor that patriotic tingle that comes from helping, just a little, to keep America strong—in her armed forces and on the frontiers of technology and innovation that fuel our prosperity.
Below are some of the success stories we're pleased to share.
Ralph Rodriguez, now CEO of 3 companies (Blue Hill Research, Delfigo Corporation and New Technologies) and member of AAS Board of Directors says, "The founder of the Academy of Applied Science, Dr. Robert H. Rines was my MIT professor, business mentor, IP attorney, technology collaborator and friend. His guidance and inspiration enabled me to think differently about my own inventive and scientific process. His unique creativity and belief in my work enabled me to achieve amazing success. Today, millions of people across the globe use the technology that I created for identity and fraud detection when accessing their online banking accounts."
One of our JSHS student winners was invited to meet President Obama and join students from other nationwide STEM related programs at the White House Science Fair. We've posted these links to the press release and the video as well as the President's remarks when addressing to the student winners presenting at the White House Science Fair. Following the White House Science Fair, one of the student participants, Shannon Diesch, set up a Facebook group in hopes of connecting with some of the other students that participated in the Fair.
Dr. Kathy Seggerson completed the post-doctorate program at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. As a biochemistry and genetic researcher, she is specializing in Ribo Nucleic Acid (RNA) processing. Dr. Seggerson participated in the Kentucky JSHS for three years during high school at Notre Dame Academy and went on to the National JSHS in both 1985 and 1987. In describing the impact JSHS had on her, Kathy noted, “Attending the state and national symposia was a fun and exciting reward for the hard work I had done during the year on my science project. The experience of meeting other kids interested in science was enriching and encouraging. These things probably encouraged me to pursue science when I attended college.”
Dan Weitz, three-time National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium participant from the Northern New Jersey Regional and three-time winner tells us that “the format of the JSHS permitted me exposure to student research in virtually every field. I walked away from each symposium intoxicated not only by what I had learned, but what I had been exposed to. I suspect that few scientists have the privilege of such interdisciplinary exposure, particularly at such a young age. I was taught that research was enormously rewarding and that risk-taking was an essential element of good science.”
Dan credits his JSHS experience for giving him the ability to see his own work (plasma physics and fusion during his JSHS research years) in the context of both other scientists and society as a whole. The exposure to a range of disciplines that JSHS fosters gave him the ability to speak of his work to scientists outside his field and to recognize the synergy between his work and theirs.
Although possessed of a smoldering interest in geology from a young age, Phillip Szymcek admits that he was not a hot science student in middle school and that his participation in the Southern Illinois Junior Science and Humanities Symposium during high school was actually his first out-of-class science experience. That spark of interest fully caught fire in college as Phillip carried out fossil foraminifera research at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
"I am firmly convinced that the program provides strong reinforcement for students interested in science and engineering as a career, and also provides high quality assistants for university research. I appreciate the opportunity to once again take part in the REAP program."—Dr. Robert Cody
"[REAP] let me see for myself the hard work and dedication that is present in the career choice I make."
"The Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program has been an awesome experience for me. I learned new concepts and skills, and relearned a few I’d forgotten, while hanging out with really cool people. It was the environment school tries to be. I’m definitely looking at a Math and Statistics major in college." —Anthony Kuhns (apprenticed at Florida State University)
"I have recently graduated from high school and plan to attend the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in the fall to major in mathematics with an emphasis in biology. I would like to thank you so much for your support. I was so excited to be accepted into the program, and this summer has greatly exceeded all of my expectations. My goals were to gain more research experience and to learn about life as a researcher. I would definitely say that I have accomplished those goals, but also much more. I really enjoy the work I am doing and my mentors have inspired me to continue to do research in similar fields. Once again, I would like to thank you for your tremendous support. I truly appreciate your support and hope that you continue to support to this amazing program." —Minna Chen (apprenticed at The Jackson Labratory)
"Thanks to your support, [my apprentice] students were able to profit from participating in cutting-edge research while truly contributing to ongoing projects. Though we always feel their absence at the end of the program, we look forward to finding out how their futures unfold. More important than the specific skills and knowledge students acquire at the Laboratory is the confidence they gain in their ability to succeed in scientific careers and make important contributions to human health…the summer was a life-changing event. Your support of the program is an investment in worthy students and also scientific progress. All of us at the Jackson Laboratory deeply appreciate your supporting these young scientists who have such great promise." —Dr. Jon R. Geiger, The Jackson Laboratory
"My time spent at Purdue Calumet has been instrumental in helping me form a more holistic understanding of what biochemistry research is about. After being exposed to all these different techniques, I have gained an appreciation for the delicacy of both living and nonliving experiments. For example, though I have dealt with spectrometers before in high school, REAP’s experience at Purdue Calumet has taken the understanding to a higher level. The experience I have gained during my weeks spent there will undoubtedly provide a more expanded understanding of research at the college level and a gateway to research in the future. By gaining a deeper appreciation for research, I am now considering doing research at an undergraduate and postgraduate level. REAP and Purdue University Calumet have certainly presented an excellent opportunity to indulge in first-hand experiences in the biochemistry laboratory and offered a positive stepping stone in the path of research."
"I would like to thank all the laboratory researchers and students in Dr. Howe's laboratory in Mayo Clinic for their help, guidance, and support. I would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Minnesota Academy of Science, the Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program, as well as the Academy of Applied Science for providing me the opportunity to pursue my interest in Neuroscience in a professional environment." —Riya Madan (apprenticed at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine)
“We would like to thank you for all of your time and dedication to the REAP program. You gave our sons Ron and Nick a life changing opportunity to participate in real university research as incoming high school seniors. They learned alot during their experience over the summer, interacting with their mentors, and the wider university community, and becoming more prepared for their future as college students. Nick and Ron discovered what research is all about, and now they are passionate to continue. As parents, we believe that the exposure made possible by the REAP program will make a difference in their lives. We are greatful for all that they learned. Thank you for making it possible!” —Ron and Daniela Ostezan
Allison Cobb, Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP), apprentice in 1993 and 1994, who recently received a promotion to territory manager at Hormel Foods, her first employer, attributes much of her drive, direction and interest in the food industry to those two summers spent working at the University of Illinois Food Science Department under REAP mentor Dr. Shelly Schmidt. Allison’s interest in science and business as a high school student led to a B.S. with honors in food service and human nutrition at the University of Illinois followed by a M.S. in food services with a specialization in food marketing at Michigan State University. She began at Hormel a month after graduation and got the promotion less than a year later. Allison believes her REAP summer apprenticeship experience has shaped her goals and career.
“My experience at the Jackson Laboratory firmed up my desire to pursue a career in biology. The laboratory experience and interaction with people who make science a large part of their life gave me insight into what a science career is all about - and for me it was what I was looking for!” —Joshua King
“This [as a REAP an apprentice at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs] has definitely strengthened my love for physics. I decided to take Honors Physics instead of regular physics because of this job. I think I will go on to take AP Physics and am considering it strongly as one of my career choices. I am already a step ahead of my physics class. It is pretty much summed up by our motto in the physics lab: ‘Physics Rules!’” —William Lavery