Fehmi Damkaci, assistant professor of chemistry, plans to continue and expand a program he piloted in July 2010 to pique the interest of inner-city teenagers in science fields.
Plans call for the program to grow to expose more high school students to more disciplines in the sciences, technology, engineering and math.
The summer program’s goals mirror the aims of the college’s Possibility Scholars program and may groom some future participants in that year-round, four-year program.
“We will be educating students who are capable of doing high-skilled research” in emerging fields like materials science, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, Damkaci said.
The program is open to students with two of three conditions: member of a low-income family, part of a minority group underrepresented in the sciences or a first-generation college student. Participants work with a teacher from their own school and a student mentor from Oswego.
In the July pilot, Damkaci hosted four students recruited from the Syracuse Academy of Science. In summer 2011, between 10 and 15 students from the school will arrive on campus to get hands-on science experience. Damkaci is pursuing external funding to further expand the program.
Long term, a goal of the early intervention summer program is to help retain science professionals in Central New York.
Photo: High school students and their college mentor in the pilot summer program