Empowering Tomorrow's Scientists: The Innovative Summer Research Institute

Empowering Tomorrow's Scientists: The Innovative Summer Research Institute at American Heritage Schools

In the heart of academic excellence, American Heritage Schools stands as an authority of innovation and learning. One of the most remarkable aspects is the Summer Research Institute, a transformative program that immerses students in the world of cutting-edge scientific study. With a focus on fostering intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and hands-on experience, the Summer Research Institute at American Heritage Schools has become a symbol of excellence in the field of education.

A Nurturing Ground for Inquisitive Minds

Each year, the Summer Research Institute at American Heritage Schools welcomes a select group of dedicated students on a six to seven-week journey of scientific discovery. The summer cohort of approximately 30 students expands to about 55 students in the fall.

Beyond the Calendar: The Purpose of Research during the Summer Months

What motivates these students to dedicate their summer vacations to work on their research? The answer lies in a strategic approach. During the spring semester, students conceptualize research topics and dive into background studies or create a plan to refine, improve, and iterate previous research work after a competition, making incremental changes, incorporating feedback, and refining various aspects of the project to achieve better outcomes. By the time the summer program begins, participants are prepared to go into the experimental phase of their projects.

The Summer Research Institute provides a unique opportunity for students to engage in undergraduate-level research, something that their demanding fall schedules often can't accommodate. By committing to six to seven uninterrupted weeks in the summer, these students can effectively complete the data collection phase of their research. The fall term then becomes a platform for data analysis, conclusion drawing, research paper composition, and preparation for competition season.

Diverse Areas of Exploration

The range of projects undertaken within the Summer Research Institute is vast and diverse. Covering fields like Microbiology, Biochemistry, Environmental Science, Engineering, and Systems Software, the program encourages students to explore new possibilities in their selected areas of study.

Recent and past projects showcase the program's dedication to innovative research. Examples include
- "A Novel Application of Artificial Intelligence and Microfluidics for the Development of a Cost-effective and Non-invasive Point of Care Tool for Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis"
- "Using Different Machine Learning Classifiers to Examine the Relationship Between Prodromal Huntington’s Disease and MicroRNA Expression in Blood"
- "Smart Microfluidics-based Impedance Aggregometry Biosensor for Detection of Platelet Hyperaggregation." 

These projects offer a glimpse of the innovative nature of the Summer Research Institute.

Equipped for Excellence: State-of-the-Art Facilities

Our state-of-the-art laboratory facility sets the Summer Research curriculum apart from other high school programs. The Science Research lab is equipped with Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) research facilities, allowing students to address urgent scientific issues of our time.

BSL-2 labs provide a secure environment for working with high-level pathogens and chemicals. The equipment includes fluorescent and inverted microscopes, microplate readers, spectrophotometers, a carbon dioxide incubator, a -86 degree freezer, a liquid nitrogen cryogenic tank, several Biosafety cabinets for sterile cell culture, hemocytometers for precise cell counting, an HPLC (High-Performance Liquid Chromatography), and even a Scanning Electron Microscope.

Students have access to this advanced equipment, guided by doctoral mentors who share their expertise and insights. This unique relationship between aspiring young scientists and seasoned experts enhances the students' experience and guarantees hands-on training and a deep understanding of both theory and practice.

Championing Future Leaders in Science

The Summer Research Institute at American Heritage Schools demonstrates our institution's strong commitment to nurturing the next generation of scientific leaders. 

By offering an immersive space for inquiry, hands-on exploration, and expert collaboration, the program enables students to push the limits of science and innovation. As these young scientists work on their research projects, they are not only shaping their own futures but also contributing to the advancement of human understanding and the betterment of society as a whole.