Summer Camp Provides Pharmaceutical Research Experience for Hispanic High School Students

Achievement date: 

From July 8 to 14, 2012, the NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (CSOPS) at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM) hosted the Pharmaceutical Engineering Summer Camp (PESCa) for 23 precollege students from across Puerto Rico. UPRM is a core partner of CSOPS, which is based at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.


PESCa provided a unique experience for high school students and underrepresented groups in science and engineering. The group of students, selected from a pool of 174 applicants, was composed of 18 young women and 5 young men.  All participants were Hispanic and between the ages of 15 and 16, with 14 juniors and 9 sophomores. This initiative is consistent with CSOPS’ goal of enhancing STEM education at the K-12 level to create the next generation of researchers, with an emphasis on pharmaceutical and chemical engineering.


This is the second iteration of the PESCa program. The first was held in June 2011 and hosted 21 students, of which 15 were women and one had a hearing disability. The camp provided hands-on experience for the students, who performed experiments in operations and manufacturing, prepared detailed scientific reports, and presented their results orally. The campers also visited a local manufacturing facility.