The 2013 Project SEED program sponsored by the Greater Houston Local Section (GHS) recruited talented and disadvantaged high school students and placed them in three academic research laboratories. Since reestablishing the program in 2008, GHS has formed relationships with eleven school districts and multiple universities. Since that time, ACS-GHS has hosted more than fifty-five (55) interns. Two of the interns were awarded Project Seed scholarships and currently are studying at Rice and Notre Dame University. Compared to most Project Seed programs it is a small but a very effective and expanding program. In 2014, GHS will collaborate with Baylor College of Medicine to merge the respective Project Seed programs into one even more effective program with benefits of each program being transferred as well.
All Project Seed student interns except one has entered a college of their choice. The lone intern chose to enter the armed forces in order to pay for his matriculation to medical school after his military service. Former SEED interns have attended and graduated from: Prairie View University, Notre Dame, Rice, University of Houston, Columbia, Boston University, Texas Tech, St Thomas University, Texas State University , Houston Community, Washington University, and Florida State University to name a few. Once in college, more than forty per cent (40%) of the former SEED interns have chosen a science or math related major or minor.
In 2013, eleven (11) high school students from four (3) school districts served as interns and experienced "hands-on" research under the supervision of seven (7) scientists/mentors. The scientists/mentors serve as role models and encourage the students to consider careers in science and chemistry.
In addition, in 2013 funds were provided from a grant entitled, “Growing Project Seed in Pittsburg and Houston” from Bayer USA Foundation. This Teacher Research or Technology internship program was initiated to provide Houston and Pittsburgh area high school chemistry teachers with an opportunity to perform meaningful research and/or experience recent technology. Through this generous grant, three Houston/Baytown area high school chemistry teachers were selected to conduct research within corporate/industrial labs. The teacher interns were placed at Bayer Baytown, Schlumberger, and Shell Technology Center. The Science Professional Group (a Technician Affiliate Group) led by Rhonda Nwosu located at Shell Technology Center assisted with on boarding and introducing the teacher internship concept to the Shell site. In addition to contributing to the research and technological efforts at each site, the teacher-interns were asked to explore the opportunities and challenges of having high school Project SEED students participate in summer research experiences in industrial/corporate rather than the typical academic settings. The teacher-interns selected to participate were: Roxana Allen, St. John’s School in Houston. Roxana worked at the Shell Technology Center, her mentor was Dr. Mike Potter; Mallam Phillips, Hightower, Fort Bend ISD, Missouri City, TX. Mallam’s worksite was Schlumberger; his mentor was Dr.Valerie Lafitte and Amanda James, Impact Early College High School, Goose Creek Consolidated ISD in Baytown, TX. Amanda’s worksite was Bayer Baytown; her mentor was Dr. Ricky Ferrell. .
Carolyn Burnley serves as area coordinator by recruiting and managing the program. 2013 stipends were provided with donations from the Greater Houston local area section (GHS), Shell Oil Company and of course the ACS Project Seed program. This year, the high school Project Seed program consisted of one (1) Summer II interns and ten (10) Summer I interns. GHS paid gas stipends again this year in order to enable transportation for seven interns to travel to Prairie View University each week. Prairie View is located forty-five (45) miles away from the city of Houston so transportation to this highly supportive program is an issue each year. On Friday, August 2, 2013 at the H.E.S.S. building, the interns presented posters of their research. Project Seed parents and friends were present including mentor Professor Mamie Moy (UofH), Dr. Allong, Rhonda Nwosu, Dr. David Van Kleeck, Lisa Houston, our valuable GHS Treasurer; and all Project Seed mentors. Former Project Seed interns, Chelsea Harris and Marchelle Roberson were also present; both of whom now major in Chemistry.
The 2013 Project Seed mentors and interns are listed below:
Project SEED II Student Intern
Mentor – Dr. George Bennett
Christine Mai – North Shore High School, 2013 Project Seed Scholarship Recipient
Project SEED I Student Interns
Prairie View University
Mentors: Dr. Remi Oki- Dr. H. Fan- Dr. Gina M. Chiarella &
Dr. Yingchun Li
Me'Kelle Robert Caballero – Hightower High School
Erick Castillo – North Shore High School
DeShuntrice Jones – North Shore High School
Tamar Johnson – Yes Prep SW High School
Denwis La – North Shore High School
Edwin Rodriguez - North Shore High School
Kevin Yee – Northshore High School
Sam Houston University
Mentor – Dr. David Thompson
Kelly Gray – Huntsville High School
Xavier McNeil – Huntsville High School
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Mentors - Dr. B. Montgomery Pettit & Gillian Lynch
Ashton Cooper – Clear Springs High School
The ACS-Greater Houston Local Section would also like to thank the dedicated team of administrators, assistants, student members and graduate students at Prairie View University; University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and Sam Houston University. The primary goal of the Greater Houston Project SEED is to assist in the expansion of the career outlook of economically disadvantaged students. We are definitely exposing the student interns to actual lab experiences that they would not otherwise be able to experience. Their introduction to successful mentors that also introduce them to research and college preparation definitely has long term benefit and impact.