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UW Summer Program Prepares Rock Springs Student for Research Work

July 16, 2014 — Jason Edman made his official University of Wyoming visit count.

While walking around campus, a UW guide told him about the Summer Research Apprentice Program (SRAP), an intensive research program designed to promote interest in science careers.

The program immediately perked Edman’s interest because he plans to major in biology this fall at UW. He recently graduated from Rock Springs High School.

SRAP 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, and recently graduated high school students such as Edman, also are eligible for the UW program.

“Being here for six weeks helps me learn about the campus, and helps me learn about the program that I am interested in when I do come here to UW,” he says.

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.

Edman’s research project is titled, “Characterizing a Novel Protein in Caulobacter Crescentus.” He is conducting actual research with a UW mentor in the Department of Microbiology.

“It’s really awesome to have hands-on experience in the lab,” he says. “The program gives participants really good academic training, but it also develops friendships.”

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.

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

Jason Edman of Rock Springs explains his research project conducted in a University of Wyoming Department of Microbiology laboratory. He is taking part in the six-week Summer Research Apprentice Program that helps promote interest in science careers. (UW Photo)

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