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Rice Offers Variety of Summer Opportunities

Source: Rice News, May 4, 1995
By Katherine Kerr
Rice News Correspondent

Although classes officially ended on April 28, the learning at Rice continues through the summer.

Programs to increase high school and undergraduate minority students' interest in mathematics and the sciences, courses to inspire and rejuvenate teachers and sports camps to improve athletic skills are among the summer offerings.

Science internships

A partnership of Rice and the Baylor College of Medicine is in its fourth year of offering summer internships to 32 students from the South Texas Science Academy, a science and engineering magnet school in Mercedes near Harlingen. Students are selected based on academic performance.

During the two-week internship that begins on May 30, students attend workshops, demonstrations and seminars. The goal is to spark an interest in the sciences and engineering and enhance minority representation in those fields, said Fred Rudolph, professor of biochemistry and cell biology and director of the program.

Premedical Academy

The Rice/Baylor Honor Premedical Academy gives minority premed students a taste of a medical environment and gives them an extra boost so they are better qualified for medical school, said director Ron Sass, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. One measure of the program's success is the 85 percent acceptance rate into medical schools of students who have been through the Premedical Academy.

From June 4 to July 13, 125 premed college and university students from around the nation will take six credit hours at Rice, hear minority speakers and be tutored for the MCAT exam. The academy is one of five such centers around the country funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Galveston Bay for Girls Only

Two new programs that target middle school girls and elementary through middle school science teachers will be offered at The Rice School/La Escuela Rice.

Galveston Bay for Girls Only is a two-week science day camp for seventh- and eighth-grade girls from the Houston Independent School District, said project director Nanda Kirkpatrick. That particular group is targeted for the integrated math, science and technology program because "that's when they start dropping out of math and the sciences," said Kirkpatrick.

In addition to classroom learning and connecting to the Internet, the students will take field trips to Galveston Bay to analyze the water, compare it to fresh water sources and identify organisms.

Funded by the Howard Hughes Institute for Undergraduate Biological Science Education Program, the day camp will run from July 10 through July 21. Girls were selected for the program based on essays and grades.

Galveston Bay On-line

Galveston Bay also is the focus of a program offered to 24 HISD teachers in grades three through eight. Kirkpatrick said the teachers will combine classes, on-line work and trips to Galveston Bay to develop 12-hour lesson plans they can implement in their classrooms.

Instead of stipends, the teachers will leave the Galveston Bay On-line program equipped with an assortment of classroom materials and equipment, such as modems and salt water aquariums, Kirkpatrick said.

High school researchers

Five area minority high school students and a high school science teacher will be paired with Rice faculty for an eight-week program that offers a hands-on research experience and provides role models in the sciences, said Bruce Cooper, a lecturer on biochemistry and cell biology. Several projects are available. One of the most popular monitors the behavior of mockingbirds and grackles on campus. Not only do students band the birds and observe their behaviors, they also do blood analysis and genetic testing to determine the relationships among the birds.

Funded with a National Institutes of Health grant, Cooper said the program was developed with the hope that it will inspire enthusiasm for the sciences in other youth when the summer students return to their home schools. The program runs from mid-June through August.

Spend a Summer with a Scientist

Richard Tapia, professor of computational and applied mathematics, runs two programs, Spend a Summer with a Scientist and the Mathematical and Computational Sciences Awareness Workshops. Both are funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Since 1989, the Spend a Summer With a Scientist program has paired 15 graduate and undergraduate minority students from colleges and universities around the nation with Rice scientists. The purpose: "to get them to fall in love with science and to go onto graduate school in a science area," Tapia said.

From May 15 through Aug. 15, students will work with professors on various projects.

Awareness Workshops

About 50 teachers from the extended Houston area will participate in the Awareness Workshops, a program to develop role models in mathematics and the sciences. Tapia said the programs give "teachers a confidence and understanding that allows them to guide and counsel with authority."

He attributes the program's success to the fact that teachers talk to real scientists who can provide a sense of context for the sciences and mathematics in everyday life. The program focuses less on the academic discipline and more on making the teachers more aware and sensitive to the world in which they live, Tapia said.


Rice coaches in specific sports are offering summer camps that teach the fundamentals and hone the skills of young athletes.

About 1,400 boys between the ages of seven and 17 are expected for overnight and day basketball clinics, said assistant men's basketball coach Todd Smith. The first clinic begins June 9 and the last ends July 28, with costs ranging from $70 to $275. For more information, call 527-4075.

In addition to improved basketball skills, girls who sign up for the girls basketball camp will leave with their own regulation basketball, said assistant women's coach Wooly Hatchell.

Day and overnight camps are available to girls ages 10 through high school senior level and range from $95 to $265. Camp opens June 2 and the last concludes on Aug. 6. For more information, call 527-4037.

Volleyball coach Henry Chen expects 300 youngsters at camps from July 8 through July 23. Five three- and four-day sessions will be offered for boys and girls from the fifth through 12 grades. Costs run from $85 to $155. For more information, call 527-4077.

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