The pipeline that connects university research to the public, from new drug treatments to insights about our own history, is one of the very important functions of higher education. The pipeline that connects young students to one day become those very researchers is just as important:
Run by UGA Human Resources, Young Dawgs is doing more than capturing the imaginations of high school students and preparing them for future careers. It's also partnering with local school districts and earning awards on the national level. The program recently received the 2013 Community Service and Outreach Award from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, a recognition that came with a $10,000 award.
The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources' award recognizes the efforts of institutions to engage their employees through community service and outreach. The Young Dawgs program accomplishes this each semester by having students come to campus to intern with UGA faculty and staff in fields ranging from early childhood education to genetics.
The summer, though, is dedicated to science.
High school students spend six weeks studying areas such as chemistry, pharmacy, genetics, astronomy, physics and cellular biology. They work with professors conducting research on various topics including cancer, muscular dystrophy, erosion, ecosystems and moths.
Narayanan is working with Kowalski in UGA associate professor Scott Dougan's cellular biology lab, which studies the molecular and cellular basis of pattern formation in vertebrate embryos and uses zebrafish as its lab model. She most enjoys "the fact that everything's hands on, and I get to experience everything for myself," she said.
She wants to be a pediatric cardiologist who both works with patients and conducts research. "It's more interesting," [Narayanan] said. "You never know where research is going to take you."
Well said. Great job by our HR colleagues and thanks to Franklin College faculty for opening their labs for these important learning experiences. There are so many benefits of attracting the most people possible to campus; to study, to learn, to experience - to discover the possibilities for their own lives.
Image: Young Dawgs intern Monisha Narayanan and UGA doctoral student Aimee Kowalski study zebrafish in associate professor Scott Dougan's cellular biology lab in June 2013, courtesy UGA photographic services.