Last week, a crowd of 65 high school students gathered at Oregon State University to participate in the Summer Experience in Science and Engineering for Youth (SESEY) program, ending Friday with a poster exhibition of their work. Many participants were young women and underrepresented students who were given an opportunity to discover and embrace science and engineering as a viable career path. By working with undergraduate and graduate students at Oregon State, SESEY students explored real-life research and gained hands-on experience.
Alexis, a young woman at the age of 15, traveled all the way from her hometown in Seattle to participate in the SESEY program. She has always been interested in science, a field she says is dynamic and constantly changing. Alexis intends to become a biological engineer, hoping to one day work for the World Health Organization or the Center for Disease Control.
The SESEY program put her one step closer to her dream, showing her a world of opportunity and an inside look at the engineering discipline. During her time on the Oregon State campus, she performed research in biological engineering, working alongside students to evaluate temperatures and pH balances of water and entering data.
The program provides a valuable educational experience for participants such as Alexis, but it also gives students a glimpse of campus life. Visiting high schoolers can ask undergraduate and graduate students any questions about college, Oregon State, and the opportunities offered on the Corvallis campus.
Possibly the best part of the SESEY experience is that students —like Alexis – are surrounded by fellow engineering and science enthusiasts. The collaboration and community among high school students, all excited to be sharing a common interest, spurred a week full of extensive education on both engineering and what the future could soon hold.