Nishimura Lab hosts high school students to promote interest in STEM fields
Hands-on experience excites enthusiam for engineering in students of all ages, so the Nishimura Lab hosted nearly fifty high school students this summer as part of Cornell Engineering’s CATALYST Academy. The CATALYST Academy is a selective one-week summer residential program that enables high school students from all over the country to gain valuable insight into engineering research. The program aims to promote interest within the engineering field by exposing high school students to classes, lab sessions, and research at Cornell University. This year, the Nishimura lab with students in the Schaffer lab and visiting veterinary students in the Leadership Program for Veterinary Scholars, came up with the program theme: “Beyond the Image.”
Throughout the week, the students rotated through modules planned by members of the Schaffer-Nishimura Lab, all of which investigated the idea of an image as a powerful tool for scientists and engineers. Students learned about many aspects of imaging from neuroscience, to optics, to image analysis and cutting-edge research. Academy participants experimented with using images as data to better understand the world around them. The activities combined multiple fields of study – biology, physics, engineering, and math—into activities among which included modeling an eye, performing histology, imaging in vivo in mice, building a microscope, as well as exploring Beer’s Law. During each module, students were aided by undergraduate researchers in the lab who encouraged and gave room for scientific exploration and discovery. Although the Academy students came from diverse backgrounds from all over the nation, all were united by an inspiring eagerness to explore engineering research.