A total of 21 students from Kansas, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri and Nebraska recently experienced the Investigative Summer Science Program (ISSP) at Newman University.
ISSP was created to give high school sophomores, juniors and seniors a chance to have a positive experience in the sciences — increasing their interest and motivating them to explore possible careers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
The Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation once again provided generous support as the 2017 ISSP sponsor.
The two-week program, which just finished its 28th summer session, consists of research, interactive class time, guest speakers, field trips and other activities — the most exciting being a tour of Koch Industries in which students were able to participate in actual experiments at the facility.
Newman senior Jonathan Serrano-Ramsey was one of this year's ISSP camp counselors/RA's and said he saw great things happening with the students.
"I feel it’s important for them to be exposed to a variety of different sciences and to foster individual and team growth at the same time," said Serrano-Ramsey. "I enjoy seeing the change in the kids from the first to the last day — them coming out of their shells, and having fun with each other."
ISSP student Taylor Brynds from Girard, Kan. said the program has changed her view of college and her future career.
"For me, the experience of participating in the Newman University Investigative Summer Science Program widened my options for the future and altered my perspective on scientific fields, careers, and ethical issues," said Brynds. "Due to fun activities, scientific investigation, college life, and getting to meet new people, ISSP was an overall positive experience that allowed me to have a great time while learning about fields and careers in science that I will explore further in the future as I choose my college major and my eventual job."
The learning that happens during ISSP is geared toward academics and the STEM fields, but students attending the program also find that they learn much about themselves in the process.
Rebekah Loudermilk from Wichita, Kan. was one of those individuals. "I am truly grateful for the experience I was given to be a part of this camp," she said. "And I am glad that I have learned so much more about not only science, but also myself. I have learned what I need to be able to succeed, how to work better with groups, and triggers I may have when it comes to college, which I will be going into this next coming year."
Students receive two hours of college credit after successful completion of the program, which includes presenting their research on a topic of their choice to faculty and other students.
The week ended with a traditional luncheon banquet in which students were presented with awards for their accomplishments in ISSP. Group awards are also presented during the ceremony.
Spencer Warner (Girard, Kan.), Megan Smith (Overland Park, Kan.) and Brynds were presented with certificates for the "Director's Award for the Best Research Presentation."
The "Director's Award for the Best Creative Presentation" went to Theresa Maus (Viola, Kan.), Judy Cho (Wichita, Kan.), Emma Van Lieshout (Overland Park, Kan.) and Xiaolong Tian (Bel Aire, Kan.).