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Green River High School Student Benefits from UW Summer Program

July 16, 2014
Student demonstrating research
Green River High School student Brian Nussbaum explains his project in a University of Wyoming Department of Chemistry laboratory. He is taking part in the six-week Summer Research Apprentice Program that helps promote interest in science careers. (UW Photo)

Hearing second-hand about a University of Wyoming summer program got Brian Nussbaum interested in doing scientific research, something that will help him once he gets into college.

Nussbaum, who will be a Green River High School senior this fall, is taking part in an intensive research program designed to promote interest in science careers.

The Summer Research Apprentice Program at UW is a six-week, paid summer research program for students who have completed their sophomore year of high school. Current high school juniors and seniors, such as Nussbaum, also are eligible for the UW program.

He heard about the program from his dad’s co-worker -- at FMC Corporation in Green River -- whose son participated in similar camp last year on the UW campus. He encouraged Nussbaum to apply for the summer program.

“It’s been very beneficial,” Nussbaum says of the program on the UW campus. ”I’ve meet a lot of new friends. This is the first time I’ve been away from home for a substantial amount of time and it has taught me to be proficient with my time.”

SRAP began in 1985 to provide minorities, first-generation college (neither parent completed college), and female students the opportunity to gain a meaningful firsthand experience in science, mathematics, engineering or other related science research.

SRAP stimulates interest in science careers and is a valuable opportunity to gain firsthand experience in research at UW, says Lisa Abeyta, SRAP project coordinator. Other benefits include exposure to workplace expectations, educational and cultural opportunities on a college campus, and team-building and problem-solving activities for participants.

“I want high school students to know that, even though they may be the first in their family to go to college, it is not impossible. College is an attainable goal,” she says.

Program participants are chosen primarily from the Rocky Mountain region, but others from across the United States also have applied for the annual summer program at UW. This summer, 22 students from nine states are working on research projects.

Based on their interest, participants are paired with a UW professor or post-doctoral researchers, and spend their days in the laboratory performing various research experiments. Among available research areas of interest offered to students are chemistry, energy research, ecology, botany, molecular biology, mathematics, statistics, engineering, nursing and psychology.

Nussbaum, who plans to enroll at UW when he graduates high school and major in U.S. history, says the program benefits him in the long run because it gives him the chance to do actual research, which will help him with college coursework.

SRAP students will present their research work in front of class members, family and invited guests during the program’s final day, Friday, July 18.

Nussbaum is working on “Microfluidic Trials” in the UW Department of Chemistry.

The program is funded by the Wyoming National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NSF EPSCoR) through the National Science Foundation grant.

To learn more about the program, contact Abeyta at (307) 766-6059 or email

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