UHD Scholars Academy hosted two workshops for high school students and teachers in July. The first workshop – Watershed Wonders – included 28 high school students and 25 teachers from various schools in and around Houston. Funded by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the workshop gave participants hands-on instruction in studying watersheds using scientific techniques in chemistry and biology. In addition, teachers received guidance in developing lesson plans in alignment with TEKS standards and integrating probeware technology within a mentored research setting.
The participants received small stipends at the end of the week. UHD instructors Jon Aoki, Poonam Gulati, Brad Hoge and Mian Jiang worked with Mary Jo Parker, executive director of Scholars Academy and principal investigator (PI) of the grant, and Rene Garcia to bring the activities to fruition. The faculty were assisted by UHD undergraduates Doris Amaro, Geraldine Lerner, Andrea Wood, Han Vo, Ryan Cherian, Katherine Freeman, Richard Wrangpetch and Linda Rubio.
The second two-week workshop – Camp STEM – included 112 rising ninth- through twelfth-grade students who received TI-89 graphing calculators upon successful completion. The camp was supported by a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission focusing on industry clusters of biotechnology/life sciences and petrochemistry in Houston industries and workforce. Parker also served as PI of this grant.
The students engaged in lab activities with UHD instructors Rachna Sadana and Jiang, learned about mathematical functions with Mitsue Nakamura, and reviewed SAT Verbal and Math sections with Parker and mobile application programming from Karim Temani, respectively. The students also participated in working lunch presentations from UHD professors and outside industry experts all in the focal areas of the industry clusters. In addition, Aoki and Jiang reviewed basic biology and chemistry to give a sampling of introductory STEM courses at the university level.