From Student to Scientist: An Initative by Madison Smither YYGS ‘15

December 1, 2015

From Student to Scientist is a program that I have initiated along with a friend and fellow high school researcher at my school. We are both involved in research at Tulane University and competed at Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair 2015 last May. We are passionate about helping other high school students to get involved in research and pursue science, and From Student to Scientist is an initiative to help other students to reach beyond their school science curriculum and pursue science and all of the opportunities it has to offer.

We have launched a seminar series at our high school through From Student to Scientist, and we had our inaugural presentation this past week, titled “From Student to Scientist: The IRP Seminar”, guiding students in the completion of their Independent Research Projects, a program at our school through which students complete a year-long scientific experiment. We had an amazing turnout: students filled the entire auditorium. We will be expanding this seminar series to include guest speakers from Tulane University and Ochsner Health System, and we hope to expand the series to other schools in the area as well!

From Student to Scientist will be partnering with the Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair to reach many science teachers and students in New Orleans and beyond as well as to connect to STEM professionals and organizations in the city. In addition to being involved in the Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair itself, we plan to host an outreach event this spring with GNOSEF to aid students in getting started on their own scientific projects, and we hope to host other outreach events geared towards underprivileged middle and high school students in the city to inspire scientific inquiry. With GNOSEF’s help, we hope to contact the International Science and Engineering Fair and the Society for Science and the Public to implement From Student to Scientist at ISEF and other SSP-related events.

I am so excited about what this initiative has to offer. Being able to connect with students in New Orleans and beyond and to share with them all that science can do is something that I am very passionate about. Through my non-profit organization Safe Light at Night I have been able to reach a population of teens all over the world, and spreading the word about light exposure has inspired me to expand my passion to science education through From Student to Scientist.

Safe Light at Night has gotten a wonderful response from the New Orleans medical community, and we are actually about to begin a clinical study at Ochsner Health System studying the health effects of light exposure at night. Being able to generate this kind of response and impact at sixteen years old is so motivating and special, and through From Student to Scientist, we hope to show other high school students that they, too, have the power to make a difference. Every student should have the chance to pursue their dreams.

The community of Young Global Scholars I met this summer at YYGS SPI has been so supportive of this new initiative, and I look forward to the possibility of expanding this program internationally with their help, exchanging ideas and perspectives with students from across the globe. I truly have YYGS to thank for inspiring me to always push myself and to connect with others, building connections, organizations, and initiatives that can take science further to inspire the world.