High School Students Conduct Research on Optics and Lasers

Achievement date: 
2014
Outcome/accomplishment: 

The Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology (ERC EUV), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center headquartered at Colorado State University, is helping high school students make better career choices by providing them with opportunities to engage in challenging research projects at a time in their development when students need to establish their independence.

Impact/benefits: 

This ERC activity is laying a foundation for establishing a new generation of scientists and engineers. High school students are still immersed in an environment in which teachers normally establish the pertinent lessons and information to be learned. In a laboratory environment, the knowledge that each student needs depends on what is critical for understanding the research being done. The ERC provides an opportunity for high school students to experience that distinction.

Explanation/Background: 

Since 2003, thirty high school students have participated as interns in the ERC's “Research Experience for High-School” (REHS) program. These students have engaged in EUV-related research projects during the summer or academic school year. The figure shows fourteen students who participated in just the past two years.

The impact of this program can be gauged by the career paths of these students after graduation from high school. Remarkably, all of the students who participated in the program are presently enrolled in college pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) majors!