Newman University honored 19 high school students from different areas in Kansas for their participation in the Newman University 2014 Investigative Summer Science Program (ISSP).
ISSP is a two-week program designed to encourage students to pursue a career in the sciences by giving them hands-on experience with college-level research. This year, Newman celebrated the 25th anniversary of the program.
During their two weeks at Newman, students choose a research topic from a provided list and follow established research methods, then present their findings in a written paper at the end of the program. The students are encouraged to enter their papers at the annual meeting of the Kansas Junior Academy of Science. Students were also given the opportunity to hear science and healthcare professionals speak about their respective careers.
This year’s program was sponsored by Newman University and the Fred C. & Mary R. Koch Foundation. Newman waived tuition and the students received room and board and two hours of Newman college credit for completing the program.
ISSP is directed by Newman University Professor of Biology Surendra Singh, Ph.D., who created the program in response to a national concern about the diminishing number of young people pursuing careers in the sciences. Newman University Professors Casey McNeil, John Leyba, Ryan Huschka, Michael Bradley, Alan Oberly, Clint Stucky, Kathy Hammond, Meg Trumpp and Jane Weilert also contributed to the program.
“I’ve had the honor of participating in ISSP twelve times,” Leyba said. “The caliber of students that we recruit for this program never ceases to amaze me. It is very refreshing to see students so excited and motivated about science and medicine.”
Students visited the KU School of Medicine, the Sedgwick County Zoo and the Lake Afton Observatory during the two weeks. Students also got the opportunity to participate in a question-answer type lecture with former NASA Astronaut, Col. Charles Gemar.
“I think it’s important to get students more enthused about learning science by doing science,” Singh said.
The program is available to sophomore, junior and senior high school students with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and at least one completed high school science course. Student are selected through an application process, which considers their high school transcript, a letter of recommendation, and a 200-word essay explaining their career goals and why they should be admitted to the ISSP.
The average GPA of participants this year is 3.85, with 10 of those students holding a 4.0. Singh said he has worked with great students over the past 25 years, and this year is no different.
“These students are very bright,” he said. “Some of the papers they are working on are fantastic.”
The Newman ISSP program has helped the university build a reputation for its science, pre-med, nursing and health science programs. Former ISSP participants often enroll as freshmen at Newman upon graduating high school.
“The fresh perspective that each group of students brings to the program is incredible,” Leyba said. “I think the Newman University Investigative Summer Science Program has been, and will continue to be an important formative time in the lives of the participants and faculty alike.”
For more information about the ISSP program, contact Singh at 316-942-4291, ext. 2117, or via e-mail at [email protected]
2014 ISSP participants are listed by hometown below:
Celina Binkley (Atchison High School)
Bel Aire, Kan.
Sarah Myose (Sunrise Christian Academy)
Joshua Leyba (Bishop Carroll High School)
Garden City, Kan.
Corinna Lemke (Garden City High School)
Courtney Klaus (Mulvane High School)
Kansas City, Kan.
Lesslie Martinez (Bishop Ward High School)
Emily Collier (Caney High School)
Anja Tonkovic-Capin (Blue Valley North High School)
Joseph St. Pierre (Blue Valley North High School)
Madeline Lewis (Olathe Northwest High School)
Genevieve Stainbrook (Pike Valley High School)
Aidan Mannette (Goddard High School)
Carly Williams (Goddard Eisenhower High School)
Hasan Raffi (Wichita Collegiate High School)
John DeGraffenreid (Bishop Carroll High School)
Megan Sinik (Wichita East High School)
Osama Syed (Southeast High School)
Tommy Wong (Wichita Northeast Magnet)
Umama Ali (Wichita Collegiate)