UIC honors young scientists for research at state science fair

Samuel Charles Bergmann (from left), eighth grade, St. Jude School; Anvesh Jalasutram, junior, Adlai E. Stevenson High School; Alexandria Kapko, eighth grade, Plum Grove Junior High School; and Bruce Neimeyer, UIC associate vice chancellor for special programs. Photo: Jim Womack (click on image for larger file size)

Student researchers included (L-R) Samuel Charles Bergmann, St. Jude School, Anvesh Jalasutram, Stevenson High School, and Alexandria Kapko, Plum Grove Junior High School, with Bruce Neimeyer, UIC associate vice chancellor. Photo: Jim Womack

UIC recognized dozens of middle and high school students from across the state for their outstanding health sciences research at the Illinois Junior Academy of Science Expo May 3.

UIC funded prizes ranging from $50 to $150 for 44 of the 1,400 students who competed in the academic challenge, held at Northern Illinois University. Students from across the state presented more than 1,000 projects and nearly 200 research papers at the expo.

“We want to help drive the students’ interest toward the areas of the health sciences, where there’s a workforce need in the state,” said Bruce Neimeyer, associate vice chancellor for special programs. “We want to not only pique their interest, but sustain it.”

UIC is a partner with the Illinois Junior Academy of Science through the UIC’s Health Science Learning Exchange. The science academy promotes opportunities in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — for students in grades 7 to 12.

“We are supporting an organization that already has statewide reach, depth, history and structure,” Neimeyer said.

Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares launched UIC’s Health Science Learning Exchange program in January 2013, part of the state’s Illinois Pathways initiative to promote careers in STEM fields.

UIC partnered with the DeVry Foundation, one of 180 members of the Health Science Learning Exchange, to fund the student awards, Neimeyer said.

“We want to create greater and earlier awareness of what it takes to go into the health sciences and the various career opportunities,” he said. “Some students think they can just be a pharmacist, doctor, nurse and that’s it. There are so many different areas in the health sciences and careers that are possible for them.”

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