STVM STEM Students Team Up With Akron College of Polymer Science for Hands-On Research Experiences

May 26, 2017

St. Vincent-St. Mary High School has had a partnership with The University of Akron to encourage students in STEM. Since 2009 in coordination with Dr. Matt Becker, students have had the opportunity to partner with professors in their field of research to learn the scientific process in a hands-on experience. Students are selected for the program in May and begin in the fall, by collaborating with their professor and a high school science teacher to create a project that they can complete in one year using the technology and knowledge available to them at the research facility. At the end of the experience the students are able to show their work at science fairs and at the end of year symposium. 

Students have researched how spider silk can be used to create a stronger more durable thread, how gecko toes can be mimicked to create a self-cleaning tape and how to make more efficient and cost saving solar cells. They have also used computer modeling programs to predict how carbon nanotubes can clean water to making a polymer with anti-fouling properties to be used in the medical field for making infection prone procedures safer. 

Sixty-three students have gone through the program since its inception. Approximately two-thirds of the students who go through this program go on to select a science major or focus on engineering. 

We are so grateful to The University of Akron for extending this partnership to our students.Thank you to Dr. Matt Becker for his leadership and coordination of the participating professors and laboratories and to all members of the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering for their dedication to our students. 

Together we are opening new doors and worlds previously unexplored by our students and the scientific community at large.