10 Years of Bringing Young Scientists to the UA

News Release Date: 
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

With the addition of the 2016 cohort, 330 interns will count themselves as alumni of the KEYS summer program.

(UANews--Miguel Mayagoitia) High school students have been involved this summer in intense laboratory and science literacy training under the tutelage of University of Arizona researchers through the Keep Engaging Youth in Science program.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the seven-week program — called KEYS for short — that is recognized as one of the state's premier pathways for developing science interests and skills in pre-college students.

This summer, KEYS students were able to work on a variety of research projects related to plant science, biomedical engineering and other disciplines. KEYS will host a research showcase and closing ceremony on Friday, marking the culmination of the high school students' hands-on experience with UA research.

Marti Lindsey has been at the heart of the program since the beginning and has influenced the development of KEYS and the students participating in it.

"Students can do so much with their lives if they get passionate about science," said Lindsey, director of the community outreach and education program for the UA College of Pharmacy's Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center. "Once you get into the lab and you understand that science is actually very dynamic and about discovering the unknown rather than the known, the thought of the idea that 'I might want to be a scientist' takes hold."

Since its origins, the program has flourished under the co-direction of the College of Pharmacy and the BIO5 Institute, assisted by dedicated staff and supporters who help fund the program so that qualified students won't see the program's cost as a barrier.

Students from across Arizona are recruited for KEYS. Each is placed as an intern in the lab of a faculty mentor and trained to contribute to research being conducted in the lab. The program has grown from nine students in 2007 to 48 interns annually in the last several years.

Read more here.