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MVTHS Senior Trisha Nair completes STARS Program

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Trisha Nair recently completed the STARS (Students and Teachers As Research Scientists) program at the University of Missouri St. Louis.  “STARS is a program funded partially through various private industries and universities in St. Louis.  It introduces both high school students and teachers to the various aspects of the scientific enterprise as practiced by successful scientists in academic, private, and governmental research institutions.

High potential, secondary school students and science teachers have the opportunity to participate in a variety of research projects.  During this six-week summer program, students and teachers do research within a community of investigators under the supervision of a practicing research mentor.  Through student-mentor partnerships, student participants apply various problem-solving strategies to independent research projects, write a 15-20 page technical report, and orally present their results in a seminar format.  Teachers prepare a detailed lesson and accompanying teacher guide based on the learning cycle instructional strategy relating to the use of the laboratory information from their research experience.

Formal instruction is provided in oral and written communication skills, basic statistical analysis, and, for teachers, the process of developing learning cycle-based lessons and their presentation in the classroom.  Lectures will be presented by nationally-known scientists.  Career confabs in the form of discussion with practitioners are used to introduce students to a variety of career opportunities.

This year, ninety-six senior high school students came to the University of Missouri-St. Louis STARS Program as aspiring scientists and left as award-winning researchers. Of these, 32 STARS Program participants have won a special recognition… the Partnership of Research Institution’s Award for Excellence in Research after presenting their research papers to their peers, parents, and project mentors.

The scientific papers are the end product of six weeks of participating in UMSL’s pre-collegiate STARS program, which pairs high school students with prominent area scientists to conduct undergraduate-level research projects.

Research papers were reviewed by a panel of experts from Monsanto, Confluence Life Science, SIU-Edwardsville, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The reviewers looked for overall quality based on standards the scientific community uses to determine worthiness for formal publications.

In its 30th year, STARS has sent more than 2,200 students with research experience to top universities. This cohort is likely to follow suit!!

We are honored and proud of our MVTHS student, Trisha Nair for receiving this high honor.  Trisha’s research was:
“Intracavity laser absorption spectroscopy of CuO: rotational analysis of the β2Δ5/2-X2Π1/2  and the β2Δ3/2-X2Π1/2 electronic state.” Dr. James O'Brien and Dr. Leah O'Brien, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

In addition to this honor, Trisha just received word that her paper, along with co-authors Dr. James O’Brien and Dr. Leah O’Brien, will be published in a high regarding chemistry journal.  This is quite an honor for a high school student to be published!!