13 local youth scientists graduate | SierraSun.com

13 local youth scientists graduate

Special to the Sun

Youth Science Institute participants taking a break from working in a chemistry lab. Back Row: Mitchell Martin, Tatum Bunnett, Charlie Zendner, Avery Fournier, Edward Parkhill, Sophie Pokorny, Cas Dalsey, Avery Spencer, Carley O¹Conell and Diana Hitchen. Front Row: Athena Collier, Laynie Saidnawey, Esten Flores, Zali Hankinson and Katie Haran. Missing from photo: Aiyana Fraas.

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Thirteen local high school students recently graduated from UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center's 2015 Youth Science Institute.

All student participants indicated that they found the program very useful for helping them determine which science fields they will pursue upon graduation from high school.

One participant commented after the program, "I'm still very interested in science, and the program heightened the potential of science in my life."

Now in its ninth year, the Youth Science Institute is run by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center in Incline Village. The program is dedicated to exposing high school students to various fields of science by bringing a different science professional in every week to provide an interactive lesson for the participants.

Each week, for 16 weeks, students from Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline Village met with experts in a variety of fields including limnology, robotics, programming, chemistry, neuroscience, wilderness survival, psychology, forensics, engineering, forest ecology, geology, wildlife biology, animal behavior, geomapping, and green building.

The students, who hailed from five local high schools, worked together as a team and enjoyed volunteering to mentor elementary school students at TERC's Annual Science Expo.

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Some weeks the YSI team met in TERC's classrooms or laboratories on the Sierra Nevada College campus, and some lessons were taught on guided hikes on Mt. Rose.

A highlight for the students were the lessons they learned on Lake Tahoe aboard the UC Davis Research Vessel, the John Le Conte. The Youth Science Institute helps participants build relationships in the local scientific community and creates a supportive environment for them to explore their interests in science.

Participants confirmed which branches of science they most want to explore and study as they continue in school.

Visit terc.ucdavis.edu/ed-outreach/ed-programs/y-s-i.html for more information on the Youth Science Institute.