June 2, 2011

School for Science and Math graduates set bar for future classes

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High school students celebrate after graduating from the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt. (Photo by Tommy Lawson)

School for Science and Math graduates set bar for future classes

The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt graduated its first cohort of students who completed the four-year program in a ceremony May 15 held in the Chapman Quadrangle.

Bonnie Miller, M.D., senior associate dean for Health Sciences Education, and Katie Johnson, M.D., co-founder of the Shade Tree Clinic, were the featured speakers.

The program is a joint venture between Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools that offers high school students honors elective credits during both the academic year and summer sessions that immerse them into an interdisciplinary, research-based curriculum spanning multiple fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

This year's 20 graduates are all continuing their education at various colleges and universities this fall, including Vanderbilt University, Emory University, Columbia University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Davidson College.

“These graduates are exemplary; they have set the bar high for our future classes through their many accomplishments. Their scientific curiosity is both infectious and inspiring,” said Angela Eeds, Ph.D., director of the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt.

As a part of their senior year coursework, students partnered with the Community Engaged Research core, supported by Vanderbilt's Clinical and Translational Science Award and Metro Public Health's federally supported Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant.

Through these partnerships, students engaged in community-based research projects including obesity-prevention interventions at local community centers, assessment of the impact of residential lawn fertilizers on water quality in the Richland Creek watershed, and studying how the Nashville flood impacted residents with chronic illnesses.

Additionally, 26 students from 14 area middle schools have been selected for the School for Science and Math Class of 2015. Students were chosen on the basis of test scores, grades, personal essays, teacher recommendations and in-person interviews. These students are the fifth cohort to begin the program.

For more information, visit http://theschool.vanderbilt.edu.