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UT Austin Hosts Top High School Scientists, Provides Opportunity to Meet Faculty Researchers

February 16, 2018

On Feb. 15 and 16, The University of Texas at Austin hosted members of the American Junior Academy of Science (AJAS), the nation’s only honor research society for high school scientists. The university hosted the group as part of their annual conference that is held in conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual meeting that was held in Austin.

“The students are extremely impressive, and we were honored to host them and show them around our campuses,” said Maurie McInnis, executive vice president and provost at UT Austin. “UT Austin is one of the world’s leading research universities, and our faculty love sharing their work with students and hearing about their interests and what they want to explore.”

Highlights from the campus tour:

On the morning of Feb. 15, the 139 AJAS students were divided into groups and led on private tours of the Cockrell School of Engineering, College of Natural Sciences, Dell Medical School and the Jackson School of Geosciences, where they were able to speak with faculty members, meet student researchers in the Freshman Research Initiative and learn about different areas of research.

That afternoon, the students heard inspiring words from Mark J.T. Smith, dean of the Graduate School at UT Austin, before being driven to the J.J. Pickle Research Campus, where they were taken on guided tours of the Texas Advanced Computing Center, Jackson School Museum of Earth History, Microelectronics Research Center, Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory, Biodiversity Collections and other sites.

Students were then given the opportunity to have a sit-down breakfast with 10 UT Austin scientists on Feb. 16. The scientists from the Cockrell School of Engineering, College of Natural Sciences, Dell Medical School and the Jackson School of Geosciences were able to answer questions and provide advice as the students prepare to embark on their college journeys. Dr. David Vanden Bout, the College of Natural Sciences’ interim dean, addressed the group and discussed the importance of scientific mentors.

“I hope that every student left UT Austin inspired by our faculty and the things that they learned, and that they continue to follow their passions in various areas of research. I know that they will all do amazing things,” said McInnis.