ARLINGTON, VA — August 23, 2010 — Three Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) students participated in the 2010 Research Science Institute (RSI) this past summer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass.
The three students that participated in the program were:
- Kevin Burdge, from Heidelberg High School, in Heidelberg, Germany;
- Tristan Fitch, from Brussels American High School in Brussels, Belgium, and;
- Yukino Nagai, from Kadena High School in Okinawa, Japan.
Mr. Charlie Toth, Principal Deputy Director and Associate Director for Education, cited the importance and the benefits of the RSI program to students.
“These students should feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment in having been selected for the RSI program,” said Toth. “It is truly a remarkable and a rewarding learning experience for students to be able to shadow a scientist and see what they will eventually be doing in their career field.”
Over the summer the three students each worked in a university laboratory with a researcher in Boston.
Kevin Burdge worked in MIT’s Theoretical Physics Department investigating the connections between the curvature of space-time in relativistic physics and a quantum phenomena known as entanglement.
Burdge was selected as one of the five top oral presenters this year. His presentation was entitled “Holographically Computing the Entanglement Entropy of an Annulus in a Strongly Coupled Conformal Field Theory.”
Tristan Fitch worked at Kingsbury Lab at Boston College to sift through databases of diazo compounds (compounds which have an unusual nitrogen double bond on one end). He and a team were looking for compounds that they could make faster and easier with diazo compounds. When one was found they created it, determined the purity and percent yield of the compound and tried to maximize it.
Yukino Nagai worked at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with one of their researchers on a gastroenterology project. Nagai worked with the researcher to treat mice infected with Helicobacter pylori, bacteria responsible for most ulcers and many cases of stomach inflammation. Her project entitled, “Active Transport of Azulene-Ammonium Ion Pairs across Gastric Cell Membranes,” focuses on testing a hypothesis about what happened inside the mice that caused the problem.
All three students also cited the incredible amount of impact that the RSI program had on them and their lives as they embark on a future in science.
Tristan Fitch talked about the program being essential to helping him make a decision about his career in the science field.
“These learnings have both helped propel me in a single direction-applied chemistry, and helped me to understand better the ocean of knowledge left to discover,” said Fitch.
Kevin Burdge stated that the experiences that he had while attending RSI have helped him clearly identify his plans for the future.
“In the future I hope to attend an institution such as MIT or Harvard and study physics, and after that enter the field of research and/or teaching,” said Burdge. “At any rate, I hope to continue learning for the rest of my career, regardless of what it is, as l enjoy nothing more than learning, which is why RSI has truly been one of the greatest experiences in my life thus far.”
Nagai is taking a number of advanced placement courses this year to prepare for college and her future.
“Next year, I will take the most rigorous courses offered at Kadena High School, including AP computer science, AP chemistry, AP English literature and AP Spanish language. I also plan to apply to MIT and the University of Chicago and pursue a degree in biochemistry or chemical engineering.”
The program concluded on 31 July.
RSI is a six-week residential summer program sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education (CEE) in collaboration with MIT. The program is held from June through August and allows 80 high-school juniors from all over the world to work under the mentorship of eminent scientists and researchers.
One student was chosen from each of DoDEA’s areas: Europe, Pacific, and the Americas. Students participated in college-level classes taught by distinguished professors from the top leading universities throughout the nation. Classes are designed to enhance students’ research skills as they work to complete hands-on research guided by mentors from corporations, universities and research organizations.
To learn more about RSI visit the CEE’s website: www.cee.org.
Students interested in participating next summer should contact their school to learn more about application deadlines. More details on how to apply will be available later in the year on DoDEA’s website: www.dodea.edu/students/rsi.cfm.
DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for Department of Defense (DoD) dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality, public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, the United States, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Education Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.