More than 100 high school students took part in this year’s Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) K-12 STEM summer program, which was completely virtual due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The students were able to work with mentors virtually and do research which was meant to help them explore future careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Despite the challenge of not being able to participate in-person, students said they enjoyed the experience.
“This was my first real research experience,” said Lynn Xiong, a rising freshman at IU Bloomington. “Even though it was virtual, I loved it and learned a lot. The experience affirmed my desire to go into research.”
During July’s Project STEM End of Project Presentations, Xiong shared her summer work, which involved researching and designing an experiment to study inflammatory mediators generated in microglial cells. One of Xiong’s mentors, Joanne Kays, MS, collected the results of the experiments since Xiong was not able to do them in-person. Xiong was able to do the analysis on her own, which she says was an amazing experience.
The COVID-19 pandemic also influenced some of the research projects, including Lalith Roopesh’s work. He chose to study factors leading to hospitalization, ICU admittance and ICU outcomes due to COVID-19.
“I did a lot of data analysis for my work, which was caused by COVID-19,” said Roopesh, who is a rising senior at Carmel High School. “This experience was really good despite everything being cancelled.”
Roopesh worked with the team at Regenstrief Institute, making sure his data he analyzed stayed consistent as he worked through the summer.
Watch more videos from the Indiana CTSI Project STEM Summer Research Symposia here.
Watch videos from the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center Research Symposia here.