Hancock County Technical Center and Lewiston Regional Technical Center students selected for Aspirnaut Summer Research Internship
Three Maine technical center students have been selected to join high school students from around the country to attend a paid summer research internship in the Aspirnaut™ program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee. Olivia Servidio, Katherine Gell and Elizabeth Leaf were selected from a pool of 200 applicants from around the country.
Olivia Servidio is a student in Lewiston Regional Technical Center’s (LRTC) Medical Science Program. The program relates core academics to health care and life science topics. The program focuses on integrated “hands-on” learning experiences that enable students to preview their chosen career. Olivia is also enrolled in Bridge Academy Maine, a program to bring early college programming to CTE’s in Maine.
“This is a once in a lifetime experience,” commented Pam Abzan, LRTC’s Medical Science instructor. She went on to say, “the opportunity for Olivia to conduct original research at a premier medical school will open doors for her the rest of her life.”
Hancock County Technical Center students Katherine Gell and Elizabeth Leaf are students in HCTC’s BioMedical Research Support Program. The program explores techniques and technological applications in biomedical research. Elizabeth and Katherine are also enrolled in Bridge Academy Maine, a program to bring early college programming to CTE’s in Maine.
“I am so proud of Sarah Petroulis and her work in developing this program and preparing her students for these amazing opportunities that will undoubtedly change their lives.” said Amy Boles, director of the Hancock County Technical Center. She went on to add “Career and technical education, coupled with Bridge Academy college classes, is preparing students for rigorous post-secondary education as well as the world of work. The old adage and stereotype of CTE has to become a thing of the past. ALL students should feel they have the opportunity to access these amazing programs and that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.”
Aspirnaut™ Summer Research Internships are hands-on and mentored laboratory experiences for high school students interested in a career in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). Participants reside for six weeks on the campus of Vanderbilt University and conduct biomedical research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Interns are paid a stipend for the time they work in the lab, provided room and board, and given the opportunity to interact with university faculty and administrators. Students have been involved in research ranging from understanding diabetic kidney disease and breast cancer to designing microfluidic devices with engineers.
Aspirnauts (as the students are called) engage in various professional development and enrichment opportunities. These include one-on-one individualized career planning sessions, college planning, ACT/SAT prep, networking opportunities with high-profile professionals in the scientific community, and cultural and social activities.
“We are thrilled to welcome Olivia Servidio, Katherine Gell, and Elizabeth Leaf into the Aspirnaut™ Summer Research Internship Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Their motivation, interest in science, and college-level courses through Bridge Academy Maine, make them excellent candidates,” commented Rachel Baugh, associate director or Aspirnaut™.
“Bridge Academy Maine is proud to partner with the Aspirnaut program to bring this opportunity to our partner schools in Maine,” remarked Brian Langley, executive director of Bridge Academy Maine. He also noted, “Bridge Academy Maine and the Aspirnaut program are prime examples of how collaboration can bridge the gap between high school and post-secondary by providing a seamless pathway for students to a high wage-high demand job.”