A pair of high school students perform a scientific experiment at the UCLA School of Dentistry.
High School students spend their summer learning science.
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Staff Writer
While many high school students spend their summer hanging around the house, a group of black and Latino students have found a more constructive way to fill up their time. These students are spending time at in the laboratories of the UCLA School of Dentistry.
The students are learning how to determine whether a DNA sample can remain stable for long periods without refrigeration. They are cataloging the properties exhibited by stem cells taken from the leg bones of mice in hope of finding new ways to re-grown human bones. They are helping scientist in the saliva diagnostics laboratory transition from working on mouse stem cells to human ones. They are blending cocktails of antibodies trying to find the best mix that may someday result in a new pharmaceutical.
Most importantly, they are learning that a career in science is well within their reach. This program has shown these students a side of science that they did not know existed. The only scientific career that some of them had ever considered was that of a medical doctor.
This is a yearlong program, with the students dorming for six weeks on UCLA’s campus.
There is a nationwide shortage of dental professors and dental students from underrepresented backgrounds. This program is designed to open the student’s minds to science, and to pave smooth paths for their futures.
“This unique partnership between the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the UCLA School of Dentistry has already made great strides in expanding the pipeline for future dentist-scientists in the African-American and Latino communities,” said Marvin Marcus, chair of the dental school’s division of public health and community dentistry. “Four of the students in last year’s program were accepted to UCLA for the fall semester, and all of them are going to college with the intention of continuing to study science.”
For more information on this program and on the UCLA School of Dentistry contact them at (310) 206-6063, or visit their website at http://www.dentistry.ucla.edu