Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

An Introduction to the World of Research: Prestigious Science Institute Ignites Young People's Passion for Scientific Inquiry

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

An Introduction to the World of Research: Prestigious Science Institute Ignites Young People's Passion for Scientific Inquiry

Article excerpt

Courses in advanced theory. Conducting research projects with top-notch professors. Guest lectures from Nobel Prize winners. Sounds like the life of a graduate student, but it was actually how 75 outstanding high school students from around the world spent six weeks of their summer vacation.

Lynwood Walker and Dawn Mackey, both 17, were two of those students who converged on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to participate in the highly competitive and prestigious Research Science Institute (RSI), an intensive academic program in mathematics, science and engineering for high school students sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education (CEE).

"Magical" is the word Walker uses to describe his experience at RSI. Mackey expresses similar sentiments as she reflects on the program. "The most rewarding aspect was having the opportunity to meet, live with, and learn from an amazing group of students and staff who love science and math as much as I do," she says.

Established in 1984, RSI provides third-year high school students, who are chosen on the basis of their academic achievement, an introduction in the world of research and a foundation upon which to build their professional careers.

"RSI students can best be described as humble individuals who do extraordinary things, kids united under an unfathomable passion for scientific inquiry" says Walker, who conducted his summer research at the Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory at MIT. Beginning his senior year this fall at Hahnville High School in Boutte, La., Walker says he was exhilarated by the experience.

"This really provided me with an opportunity to see exactly what research really is," he says. "I loved every minute of it--late nights in the lab, analyzing data, performing test--all of it."

Indeed, one of the program's primary goals is to identify individuals who have the potential to become leaders in their fields and equip them for academic pursuit To that end, program applicants are required to have minimum PSAT scores of 75 in math (49 is the average score) and 140 combined in math and verbal (48 is the average score). Once in the program, RSI students receive expert encouragement, guidance and mentoring, and through study, research and interaction with each other become a cohesive group of young scholars and members of the larger scientific community.

"It is rare to find so many people my age who have such an interest in science," Mackey says about her RSI colleagues at MIT. "They are all very interesting to talk to because they are so knowledgeable in various fields and impassioned about many topics, including the humanities and politics as well as the sciences. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.