Students Shine at Summer STARS Program

This past summer, three Westminster Christian Academy students participated in the 2019 Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Incoming seniors Annie Davidson, Katelyn Jeong, and Molly Li spent six weeks of their summer working alongside some of St. Louis’ top research scientists while also exploring their own independent projects.

Annie explored surgical procedures to regenerate amounts of bone too large for the body to regenerate on its own under the guidance of Dr. Sara McBride-Gagyi’s at St. Louis University. Annie’s independent research focused on CT imaging and she presented her research, “Synthesis of a Barium Sulfate Gel Optimal for CT Imaging,” at the conclusion of the program.

Katelyn assisted Dr. Rachel Wamser Nanney, an assistant research professor in child traumatic stress and trauma-focused interventions at UMSL. As part of Dr. Nanney’s lab, Katelyn studied the brain and its reactions to physical and chemical stimuli, specifically what physically happens during and following traumatic stress. At the culmination of the program, Katelyn presented her independent research project, “The Effects of Domestic Violence and Sustained Conflict on the Cognitive Abilities of Affected Individuals.” 

Molly spent her summer at the Danforth Plant Science Research Center working under Dr. Elizabeth A. Kellogg. Dr. Kellog’s lab studies cereal crops and their wild relatives in the grass family, plants on which all of civilization depends. Her unique contribution has been to forge connections between scientists in the front lines of biodiversity research and those breaking new ground in genetic and genomic studies. Molly focused her research on “Genotyping and Phenotypic Characterization of the shattering1 Mutant in Setaria viridis.”

Nearly 90 high school students and seven undergraduate researchers were selected to participate in the 2019 STARS program. Selection is determined based on a student’s interest in science, GPA, test scores, student essay, and letter of recommendation. Scientists who work in the fields of biology, chemistry, computer science, earth science, engineering, environmental science, medicine, psychology, and public health act as research mentors.

We are proud of these students and honored to have them as part of our community. May the Lord continue to bless them as they prepare to serve Christ in college and career! 

Thank you,

Barrett Mosbacker
Head of School

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