"We have a positive sampling of the next generation of scientists in our mentorship program. Working with these students gives me faith in our future," said Miriam Polne-Fuller, director of the program and a Marine Science Institute research biologist.
The six-week program matched motivated high school students with professionals working in the fields of anthropology, astronomy, biology, communication, ecology, geography, marine biology, and psychology. Students earned university credit while gaining hands-on experience working with researchers who served as faculty advisors and research supervisors. Recreational activities for the students included field trips to fish and abalone hatcheries, marine and forest reserves, the Santa Barbara Channel Islands, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The students also observed midnight grunion runs at Goleta Beach, studied the development of baby grunions in a laboratory setting, and then released them back to their ocean habitat.
"I think everyone who wants to become a scientist should be able to experience this program," said participant Daniel Peng, whose dream is to go to Stanford School of Medicine and become a doctor. "The best part is having a one-on-one relationship with a scientist."