The UPR in Humacao and Cayey announce scientific research camp for high school students

The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in Humacao and Cayey announced the return in person of the science research camp Experiment with PREMfor high school students in Puerto Rico.

The camp, organized by the Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) and sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), It will be from May 31 to June 11, at the Humacao and Cayey campuses of the UPR.

According to the director of PREM, Dr. Idalia Ramos, “the camp will provide the opportunity to participate in the study of properties of materials and their technological applications, working directly with faculty from the Physics, Chemistry, and Computational Mathematics departments of the PREM campuses.” Humacao and Cayey”.

This year, they will have the special participation of Dr. Frances Arnold, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018. On the first day of camp, Arnold will chat with students about her scientific journey, the challenges she faced as a woman in science, and provide advice.

According to the education director of the PREM program, Dr. Kevin Alicea Torres, “we are very excited to receive the visit of Arnold, who was the first woman to use chemical engineering to create new enzymes (proteins) that can have an infinite number of applications. ”.

Arnold, a professor of chemical engineering, bioengineering and biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), is a pioneer in directed enzyme evolution, a chemical engineering method that allows the manipulation and modification of the function of enzymes. proteins.

Currently, she is the director of the Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Center for Bioengineering at Caltech, holds more than 60 patents, and co-founded three companies in sustainable fuel, chemical, and agriculture. In 2021, she was selected by United States President Joe Biden to co-chair the White House Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Experimenta con PREM began in 2005, and since then it has impacted more than 300 high school students on the Island, providing them with research experiences in laboratories and workshops for their academic, personal and professional development.

Last year, NSF awarded $4.2 million to the UPRH PREM program for the continuation of its educational and research projects.

during the camp Workshops will be offered on programming, scientific dissemination, data science, diversity, inclusion and equity in science, university careers, among others.

Also, they will carry out teamwork and final presentations with the results of their investigations.

For her part, the rector of the UPRH, Dr. Aida Rodríguez Roig, highlighted that “it is the third consecutive year that our institution receives a Nobel Prize, a distinction and recognition given to exceptional personalities, world transformers. These are unique experiences available to our students, the university community and the general public”.

Experiences that bear fruit

For former student and camp participant Grace Sánchez Santiago, the experience was her first exposure to laboratories and scientific research.

“In my third year of high school I gave myself the opportunity to explore the field of science in Experimenta con PREM, which gave me the experience of working in two chemistry laboratories and conducting research with nanoparticles, a new topic for me at that time. so. After the camp, I wanted to know more about chemistry and, now, about four years later, I am in my second year of the Industrial Chemistry baccalaureate at UPRH”, Sánchez Santiago highlighted.

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The UPR in Humacao and Cayey announce scientific research camp for high school students