Education

Monrovia’s Oak Crest Institute Works to Inspire an Interest in Science

The Institute will offer opportunities for both high school and college students this summer. – Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

By Susan Motander

Oak Crest Institute of Science uses many channels to stimulate an interest in science and research in young people. For their service to the community, the chemistry and biology research center was awarded the Monroe Award, the Chamber of Commerce’s recognition of a non-resident. The center is dedicated to education as well as pure research.

Next week they will be at the Monrovia Public Library on Monday, and Wednesday through Friday from 2-3 p.m. each day to introduce young people to scientific methods by showing them DNA isolation in strawberries, looking at pond water and gram staining bacteria – among other things. The program is called SciLab and is being held during spring break.  It is designed for elementary school students.

And this is just one of the many programs with which the Institute is involved. There is a charter school, Anahuacalmecac (a Nahuatl word – the language of the Aztecs) International University Preparatory of North America, which goes to the Institute for special science programs using microscopes and other specialized equipment.

This summer even more young people will be introduced to scientific methods during the three sessions of the Junior Research Academy. Registration opened two weeks ago and the sessions are filling fast according to Dr. Paul Webster of Oak Crest. The Academy is a joint project of the city and the Institute. The city employs high school students who are trained by the staff at the Institute. These students then work with the seventh, eight, and ninth grade students enrolled in the academy.

The three sessions are July 1 – July 12, July 15 – July 26, and July 29 – August 9. The cost is only $100 per session (some scholarships are available). Each morning will be spent in the laboratory while the afternoons are dedicated to field trips to such places as Monrovia Canyon Park and the labs at Huntington Library and Gardens. The Junior Researchers will participate in daily hands-on scientific experiments. The Academy is limited to residents of Monrovia and students enrolled in the Monrovia Unified School District schools. For more information contact the Monrovia Community Center at (626) 256-8246.

But this is not the only opportunity for young people this summer. For students enrolled in high school and college, internships are available. The eight-week program allows the interns to learn practical skills in an active research laboratory. The research projects the interns may be involved with include microbial ecology, new therapeutics, atmospheric chemistry, and bioremediation. The time commitment required of the interns is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. five days a week for the full eight weeks. This is a volunteer position. Applications in the form of a cover letter and resume are due by April 15. The internships will begin June 10 with an orientation and training and will conclude on August 2.

For information on this program contact Paul Webster at p.webster@oak-crest.org. The Institute is located at 132 W. Chestnut in Monrovia.

March 27, 2019

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Susan Motander


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