Local High School Students Conduct Summer Research at HPU

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HIGH POINT, N.C., June 21, 2017 – Yasa Jasim, a rising senior at T. Wingate Andrews High School, knew what an important step she was taking for her future career when she put on a High Point University lab coat and began her scientific research on campus.

Jasim is one of eight rising seniors from High Point Central High School and T.W. Andrews High School who are conducting research alongside HPU professors and students this summer, thanks to the Draelos Scholars for Science Program.

“My assistant principal told me about this program and how it’s focused on science,” she said. “I want to major in biology or chemistry when I go to college, so I’m excited to have this opportunity to learn what it’s like to conduct experiments and work inside of a lab.”

The program, in its second year, began June 12 and continues through July 28. It is made possible by Zoe and Michael Draelos in partnership with HPU and the High Point Community Foundation. Zoe is an internationally known and respected researcher who works with major corporations all over the world. She is particularly well-known for her work with the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, and her state-of-the-art research center is located in High Point. Michael is a well-known and respected gastroenterologist who has practiced medicine for 30 years in the community.

In addition to Yasim representing Andrews, the following High Point Central students were selected: Hope Anglesey, Caroline Dau, Yodit Getahun, Georgia Howell, Jack Maxwell, Kelsey Snelgrove and Harrison Strag.

The Draelos’ goal for the program is for high school students to find discovery through research projects.

“Mentorship is a key component of this program,” says Dr. Michael Draelos. “We are indebted to the professors at HPU for serving in this important role to elevate these students to the next academic level. We can’t wait to watch these students as they learn and grow.”

“We are pleased to bring our passion for research and scientific discovery to high school students and grateful to HPU and the Community Foundation for creating this tremendous opportunity for these students to share in that passion,” adds Dr. Zoe Draelos.

The research areas students are contributing to this summer include cancer cell biology in relation to prostate cancer, heat stroke in relation to altitude sickness and much more.

Jasim knows that science is a challenging field that requires a high level of knowledge, skill and dedication. She says she looks forward to growing as a professional this summer.

“I’m excited to learn what it’s really like to be out there experimenting and even failing and trying again so I can learn from that failure and go on to succeed and develop as a scientist.”

HPU faculty are also excited to work with rising scholars.

“Through the Draelos Scholars Program, High Point University offers some of High Point’s best high school students an opportunity to research alongside internationally known scholars in STEM fields,” says Dr. Joe Blosser, the R.G. Culp director of service learning. “I love this program because it inspires high school students to pursue research in the sciences from a young age, and it allows HPU undergraduates a chance to try their hands at mentoring younger students. We are blessed to have great high schools close by, and this is another example that shows we are High Point’s University.”

“This is my second year serving as a faculty mentor in the Draelos Scholars program,” says Dr. Matthew Kuennen, assistant professor of exercise science. “Both of my Draelos Scholars have been outstanding. I look forward to the opportunity to connect with and help prepare local high school students for scholarly research in the future.”

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