Local students enjoy summer program at U of A

  • Aug. 7, 2013 3:33 p.m.

Two young local Red Deerians are getting the opportunity to advance their skills via a summer research program.

Emilee Anderson and Shawna Dawson are among only 40 Grade 11 students chosen from across Canada to work in University of Alberta research labs this summer. They are taking part in the U of A’s 29th annual Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST) Summer Research Program.

Anderson and Dawson both attend Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School. Anderson is working this summer in the chemistry lab studying a class of drugs used in cancer chemotherapy. Dawson is in the psychology department analyzing songbird vocalizations.

The U of A’s WISEST program encourages young people of both genders to explore less traditional careers in engineering, science and technology, building their confidence and enthusiasm for scientific enquiry in these fields, as well as a desire to contribute to research vital to Alberta’s leading role as a knowledge centre in Canada.

The summer research program takes place on the U of A campus from July 2 to Aug. 14.

The students spend six weeks working as members of research teams gaining hands-on experience that allows them to explore their interests and assists in choosing careers. This year they are involved with projects in the Faculties of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, Engineering, Medicine and Dentistry and Science.

To enhance their journeys into research, the students meet weekly to discuss their experiences and explore other opportunities for learning, such as presentations, lab tours and group discussions with women and men working in less traditional career roles.

The overwhelming success of the University of Alberta’s WISEST program is supported by surveys that show more than 85% of former program participants have pursued or are currently pursuing, studies in sciences, medicine or engineering. Careers in these fields are what the Alberta and federal governments consider pivotal jobs for the 21st century. WISEST has also received many national and international awards for its innovative approach to learning.

– Fawcett

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