One studentís story  pg. 2

In the past two years, three of the seniors have achieved semifinalist recognition in the prestigious Siemens (formerly Westinghouse) national science competition.

Too often in regular science classes, “students … find themselves doing a cookbook kind of lab, and there’s not the open-ended question and hypothesis-driven kind of project,” says Shepherd, a professor of Pathology and Medicine and associate professor of Biochemistry.

“We’re trying to do that here … To me, that’s the way to build critical thinkers and problem solvers, and that’s what I’d love to see in schools” throughout the country.

Shepherd recognizes that high schools and universities have very different cultures. But “with a good relationship between a university or institute of higher education and the K-12 system,” she insists, “there can be some wonderful partnerships built up that can be mutually beneficial.”

The goal is nothing short of revolutionary.

“What’s the Sputnik of your generation?” Shepherd challenges the students. Cures for cancers? A vaccine that prevents AIDS? A solution to the energy crisis?

“You want to give something to these students that they can grab a hold of, so they can say, ‘Yeah, I want to be that kind of scientist,’” she says.

“The challenge is what will excite students and keep the spark going.”

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