As a summer researcher at UC Davis, Oak Ridge student Kimberley Berg is investigating how plants recognize an invading pathogen and develop immunity. Courtesy photo

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Local student spends summer as UC Davis researcher

While most high school students are lounging around the pool, playing video games, or maybe working at the nearest mall, one local student is spending her off-time doing research at UC Davis.

Kimberley Berg, a senior at Oak Ridge High School, is among a select group of students attending the UC Davis Young Scholars Program this summer. The advanced science program, offered by the School of Education, introduces up to 43 high-achieving high school students to the world of original research in the biological and natural sciences.

Participants work one-on-one with research faculty in state-of-the art laboratories for six weeks. Each student works on an individual project and prepares a professional-level research paper and presentation about his or her work.

“Students work under the direction of real-world researchers,” said Rick Pomeroy, program director and teacher educator in the School of Education at UC Davis. “In fact, these high school students are engaged in research that most college undergraduates don’t have an opportunity to do.”

Berg is investigating how plants recognize an invading pathogen and develop immunity.

The program, which kicked off this year on June 24, immerses students in the entire college experience. During the first two weeks of the program, participants attend lectures focusing on recent developments in biology and natural sciences in the mornings and conduct lab science every afternoon. During the last four weeks of the program, students work full-time in their labs. Students live in campus dormitories and take field trips every weekend.

To qualify for the program, students must have a strong academic record, have taken biology and two years of college preparatory mathematics, and recommendations from teachers. In addition, applicants must write a personal essay. Tuition is $4,500, with tuition assistance available based on need.

“All of the participants are highly qualified academically, take honors or advanced placement courses in high school, and have high GPAs,” said Pomeroy. “Most importantly, though, they have all demonstrated a desire and ability to conduct original scientific research and have the potential to contribute significantly to the field.”

The program ends August 4. Students are in the labs through July 31 and available for interviews in person or by phone through the end of the program.

Special to Village Life

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