Research program draws gifted high school students (Released: 7/15/98)
by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu, Office of University Communications.
Storrs , Conn. -- Fifty-six talented high school students from Connecticut and five other states are attending this year's Mentor Connection, a three-week summer research program at the University of Connecticut.
And thanks to an $89,000 grant from the State Department of Education, 32 Connecticut students have received $1,800 scholarships to enable them to participate in the program at no charge.
The program, which is open to students who will be juniors or seniors in the fall, was established in 1996 to offer the opportunity for gifted high school students to take part in creative projects and research investigations with faculty, staff, and graduate students as mentors.
Mentor sites include excavating at a Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation, exploring the effects of nutrients on genes, and studying the New England nature writing of Emerson, Hawthorne and Thoreau, as well as advertising, puppet arts, communications and the Internet, international relations and biotechnology.
Mentor Connection is affiliated with the Neag Center for Talent Development, headed by Joseph Renzulli, a professor of educational psychology, and is based on Renzulli's research about how gifted students learn. Although there are other programs where students can take college courses, according to Renzulli the apprentice-mentorship model on which Mentor Connection is based is unique.
"It's a wonderful opportunity to get students involved with a person that's on the front-edge of research. For a kid, that's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," says Renzulli.
"Students will enter the real world of research," says Jeanne Purcell, the director of the program. "With their mentors, they will become a community of scholars of all ages, working together on important problems that are at the forefront of various fields of study in the arts and sciences."
The program was established with a $300,000 gift from William Berkley, a UConn trustee, and the W.R. Berkley Foundation.
The program runs from July 6-24.
The following list includes the mentor site for each participant: