OHSU

OHSU Teems With Oregon Teens For Summer Science Experiences

07/19/06  Portland, Ore.

Pahua Cha and Ivan Martinez are not spending the typical teenage summer vacation. They're at the OHSU Cancer Institute researching cognitive remediation and maternal problem-solving-skills training in childhood cancer. Cha and Martinez, both 18, are in their second summer with the CURE Program, a research mentorship training held from June 19 through August 20 designed to offer research experiences to Portland area high school students from socially and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The program, supported by OHSU's Cancer Institute and Center for Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, is one of the many summer programs for Oregon school students to help interest minorities in health careers.  

Martinez is solid looking like the athlete he is, having lettered in soccer. He wears a T-shirt with Mollala High School -- from where he just graduated. He is passionate when he talks about why he is at OHSU this summer. 

"I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life until I came here last year. Now I know I want to be a neurosurgeon. There were so many things I had never heard of about the brain. I just want to keep learning about the brain. I want to help people with epilepsy so that they can have a normal life," he said. 

Martinez is going to Willamette University in Salem this fall. He will be the first in his family to go to college. 

Cha also wants to be a doctor. She grew up patching up her 11 siblings. "There was always someone getting injured. I was the one with the peroxide bottle and makeshift bandages," she said. Cha, who is from Aurora, is a graduate of North Marion High School and is going to Stanford University this fall. Her family is Hmong, and moved from northern Laos to this country in 1979. 

Cha and Martinez also want help provide health care to minorities when they become physicians. 

They have both had times when they saw and felt that health care is not the same for minorities as it is for others. Martinez wants to practice medicine here as well as in his native Mexico. Cha said that she hopes to incorporate some of the Hmong traditional medicine into future research. 

"So if I'm going to be a geeky nerd scientist, I'll also be able to help other people," she said.             

Other OHSU summer programs for school students:
Environmental and Biomolecular Systems faculty in the Department of Environmental and Biomolecular Systems at the OHSU OGI School of Science & Engineering offer upper-level high school students hands-on research experience. Students interact with faculty, postdoctoral, doctoral and master's students while learning new skills and contributing to scientific research. The students are working on coastal margin observation and prediction, and in basic and applied microbiology. 

MedStars is a residential summer experience designed to help high school students aged 16 to 19 learn how to pursue a health care career and health career options. The Area Health Education Centers Program sponsors the MedStars program planned for July 18 - 21.Students from rural communities, particularly ethnic minority students, who have demonstrated an interest in a health career are accepted into the program based on their letters of recommendation and application.

Neurological Sciences Institute Merit Underrepresented Minority Supplement Program provides up to $5,000 a year to a high school student and junior faculty member to participate in research in the Balance Disorders Lab of Fay Horak, Ph.D. The participants in this program are members of ethnic or racial groups determined by OHSU to be underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral research. 
The Oregon Institute on Disability and Development (OIDD) Summer Youth Program provides an opportunity for several high school and college students to become exposed to some of the work being accomplished at OIDD. Students participate in activities in various programs both at the Child Development Research Center and at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital. 

Partnership in Scientific Inquiry class is designed to allow Portland area high school students an opportunity to experience scientific research. The class provides an overview of scientific research and pairs students with a mentor. Students prepare a five-page research proposal that describes work that could be done in the mentor's lab during the ensuing summer. This program begins in the spring and may continue into the summer if the student and mentor agree to do so. High school credit can be obtained for participation in this upper-level class. 

Cell and Developmental Biology Research Fellowship program enables undergraduates from across the country to gain paid research experience by working on a specific project in the laboratory of selected faculty members. The program is designed for students who are interested in pursuing research as a career.

Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (CROET) Summer Student Research Awards are two-to three-month paid summer internships designed to introduce college sophomores, junior and seniors to various fields of biomedical research. Interns potentially are able to work with more than 20 scientists conducting research at CROET.

Equity Summer Research Program is for sophomores and juniors who are interested in biomedical sciences and may be considering a medical degree or doctor of philosophy program. This eight-week, paid summer program places students in OHSU research labs to provide hands-on experience, mentoring and the association of graduate students, professors and other like-minded undergraduates. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. 

HAMS, Health Care Adventures in Medicine and Science, is a one-week summer enrichment program offered by OHSU Center for Diversity & Multicultural Affairs. Twenty selected undergraduate students job shadow health science professionals, use clinical equipment and attend classes similar to those taught through OHSU's various professional graduate programs.

Murdock Undergraduate Collaborative Research Program is designed for talented students from local Oregon colleges and universities who are interested in pursuing a career in biomedical research, particularly those who are considering graduate school or an M.D./Ph.D. program. Students participate in ongoing research projects with investigators at OHSU and are paid a small stipend. Students who are already committed to a career involving only clinical practice, such as private practice physicians or dentists, are specifically discouraged from applying. 

Summer Fellowship Program in Neuroscience gives undergraduate students in-depth research experience in neuroscience with an established scientist. Each summer a group of students is selected from a nationwide applicant pool to work and learn in laboratories at the Neurological Sciences Institute. The curriculum consists of valuable hands-on lab experience and lectures in the basic neurosciences. Summer fellows receive a modest stipend.

OHSU is a partner in Saturday Academy's Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering Program that offers pre-professional experience in science and engineering careers. The program provides high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors with an intensive experience in a professional, scientific or engineering environment. It also provides the opportunity to explore interests and to make informed educational and career decisions. Positions are available throughout Oregon and southwest Washington.

For eight weeks during the summer, apprentices participate in the program for the equivalent of a full-time position at their mentors' workplaces. Some students work on special projects designed to be completed in eight weeks; others contribute to the ongoing work of the mentors. Some apprentices are credited as authors or co-authors on professional publications or products used by their mentors. Many students are hired to work with their mentors in following years. Most apprentices receive school credit for successfully completing the apprenticeship and participating in the conferences. In addition to the eight weeks at the mentor's site, apprentices participate in other activities designed to broaden their experience of science, math and technology.

Most applications for these summer programs are due in December. Students need to contact scied@ohsu.edu in late fall for contact information about summer programs and to learn about requirements and deadlines.

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