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Cultivating students’ interest in science, math

It began with eighth-graders chasing grasshoppers, damselflies, and other insects outdoors on a warm sunny day. This idyllic summer scene then took an atypical turn into a laboratory setting where the students extracted DNA from their captured specimens to test for Wolbachia, an aggressive bacterial strain that infects many insects, using sophisticated “CSI”-style analytic equipment. They eventually presented the results of their research on the prevalence of Wolbachia in Buffalo to a panel of distinguished scientists.

“It was surprising that we were doing college work. I learned a lot.” Nia Brown,
Eighth-grade student, Excelsior Scholars participant

It was a summer camp that became an accelerated learning project, bringing together 47 of the area’s brightest middle-school math and sciences students for an intensive two-week experience. The Excelsior Scholars Program was inaugurated in August 2008 by UB’s Center for Educational Collaboration (CEC).

“The basic idea is to bring biomedical techniques, diagnostic procedures, advanced science and mathematics to students to prepare them for high school, college, and the work force,” said Eric Vosburgh, UB research assistant who helped coordinate the program.

The program, one of a growing number of learning opportunities being developed by the CEC in partnership with Buffalo Public Schools, continues this summer with hands-on, interactive science experiences built around the theme, “Medical Mysteries.” Plus, a newly developed summer science, math, and technology program called Passport STEM, is aimed at introducing middle and high school students to educational and career pathways for science-related fields.

DISCOVER MORE

“UB-Buffalo Public Schools Partnership expands its summer offerings for area middle and high school students”
More accelerated learning opportunities presented this summer

“Math, science summer camp set for top-performing Buffalo students”
Overview of the pilot 2008 summer program

Excelsior Scholars Program
Information and registration for the 2009 summer program

UB Center for Educational Collaboration summer programs

“When science is cool: UB’s Science Exploration Day attracts hundreds of local students”
Annual science learning opportunity for area students presented by UB