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Rawlins Student Participates in UW Research Program

July 16, 2014 — Kim Barrios has never been on the University of Wyoming campus even though she lives less than 100 miles away.

What led Barrios to her first visit this summer is a six-week program and, it turns out that, in the fall, she will enroll as a UW incoming freshman. She just graduated from Rawlins High School (RHS).

Barrios currently 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 Barrios, also are eligible for the UW program.

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.

Barrios first heard about SRAP when UW representatives came to RHS and has enjoyed the program.

“We are doing a lot of different things and working on our individual research projects,” Barrios says.

She plans to major in architectural engineering at UW. She currently is working on her individual research project, titled “Artificial/Natural Rainfall Simulation and Soil Moisture Measure,” in the Department of Geology and Geophysics.

“I really like this program because I’m learning different things such as I didn’t even think about doing rain research and working with rain gauges. I didn’t even know that people did those kind of things,” she says smiling. “So, learning different things will just help me down the road in my college education.”

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.

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.

“This has been a good experience for me. It has helped me get to know the campus and what I am going to be doing in engineering,” Barrios says.

The SRAP 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

Kim Barrios of Rawlins explains her research project in a University of Wyoming laboratory. She is taking part in the six-week Summer Research Apprentice Program that helps promote interest in science careers. (UW Photo)

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