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5 students earn week-long STEM experience at Indiana University

By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications

Five Scecina students will spend a week in July living in a dorm at Indiana University in Bloomington and attending biology classes, while also having some campus fun. 

They have been accepted into the Jim Holland Summer Enrichment Program at IU. This is an opportunity for high-achieving, underrepresented high school students “to broaden their horizons in genetics, evolution, environmental biology, molecular biology, plant sciences, and more,” according to the IU website.

The Scecina students attending this summer are Osighe Akpeokhai, Jania Weathers, Simbiat Abdul, and Justice Green, who will be sophomores next year, and Dezirae Harris, who will be a junior. This summer they will take part in discussions, participate in hands-on laboratory experiences and field trips, and also learn about scientific careers and how to succeed at college. The activities are led by a team of IU faculty members and Indiana high school teachers. 

Scecina biology teacher Mrs. Marianne Echelbarger, who gave the students information about the program, said she encouraged all her eligible students to apply for this unique opportunity to help instill an interest in biology and in going to college. 

Mrs. Echelbarger has had students in the past at other schools who participated in the program and loved it. “I had one student who called me from Bloomington. He was so excited, and he said, ‘I just want to let you know I’m here.’ 

“It’s just such a great experience for them,” she said. “They’re going to meet students from all over the state.” Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA and high scores in science and math to be eligible. They must also have recommendations from their science and math teachers and from the Guidance Department.

Mrs. Echelbarger said she was thrilled that five students from Scecina were chosen to participate. 

The week-long experience is free to students who are accepted although they pay the $75 fee to apply.

Simbiat Abdul is looking forward to the experience. She has never spent a week away from home, and her mother made sure she applied. 

“I think it will look good on a college application,” she said. 

The IU Jim Holland Summer Science Programs are specifically designed to address the ethnic and racial disparities that exist in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. The Holland program also hopes to attract the students to IU for their college education. 

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