This summer five Rockwood high school seniors served as interns at the Bio-Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park. That facility at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center conducts biology, genetics and forensics-related experiments.
The students are part of a Rockwood Partners in Education (PIE) program known as Project Interface. This unique internship offers qualified seniors a chance to experience what their desired career. In this case the students are interested in science research.
Marquette High School senior Jay Murali said he has enjoyed his internship more than any other because of how hands-on it is and the flexibility it allows.
"We have a lot of freedom in how we choose to operate," he said. "We can go at our own pace in the experiments so we have a lot of freedom of movement, which is similar to a legitimate lab environment."
Marquette senior Emma Leary and Eureka senior Nathan Jackson said they have gained a lot from their experience.
Leary said, "We're introduced to professional equipment that most people wouldn't see in their lifetime and we get to learn what the equipment does and how to use it."
"It's really nice to be put in a lab environment and see another side of biology," said Jackson. "Here you actually get to apply it a lot more and conduct much more advanced procedures than those in a normal high school environment." Jackson said.
Project Interface Coordinator Kim Litzau said the purpose of the program is to offer students a real world opportunity.
"It gives students a good taste of what a career is really like in a setting that's professional," said Litzau.
Murali said his experience at BRDG Park has reaffirmed his decision to go into a field that incorporates science research.
"I think learning how to apply all the knowledge I've received in school is something I want to continue to do in the future," Murali said.
--by Nicole Gutierrez, student intern with Project Interface and the Rockwood Partners in Education program.