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UGA Young Scholars get experience in fields of interest

Posted July 12

— Bailey Veeder is working on energy-efficient housing while enhancing his college resume this summer, thanks to the University of Georgia Young Scholars Program.

The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences coordinates the program, which offers high school students, like Veeder, the opportunity to study alongside world-renowned scientists during a six-week internship on UGA's Athens, Griffin and Tifton campuses.

During the internship, which concludes Friday, Veeder, an Athens native, is helping mentor Craig Kvien, a professor in the college's Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at UGA-Tifton, develop a 5-kilowatt solar power system for the Future Farmstead home and its edible landscape.

"I decided to return for another Young Scholars internship because I wanted to gain more experience in my field of study. It is something to do over the summer, and it looks great on a college application," Veeder said.

Veeder is one of 12 high school students interning this summer at UGA-Tifton. Other Young Scholars based in Tifton are Lauren Asbell, of Milledgeville; Bret Bernard, of Tifton; Mackenzie Brown, of Ashburn; Cole Byers, of Tifton; Julie Jernigan, of Ocala, Fla.; Katie Kemeness, of Tifton; Laura Lane, of Oakfield; Michael Pannell, of Valdosta; Mitchell Riley, of Moultrie; Carlee Snow, of Tifton, and Reaiah Tyson, of Ocilla.

Students who intern with the program are paid for up to 30 hours a week of work and gain valuable research experience. The program also allows students to experience life at CAES and introduces them to new career options.

"We have a lot of fun with the program. We enjoy getting to know the students, and I think they have a great time as well," said Suzanne Lamb, UGA-Tifton Young Scholars Program coordinator for the last four years. "There's nothing like gaining experience in a field that interests you.

"That's why this program has been so successful. Students discover what it's like to do research."

This is Asbell's second year in the program. The rising senior is working with Clint Thompson, public relations coordinator at UGA-Tifton. She promotes CAES research and events through UGA-Tifton's social media channels.

"It has been interesting to learn the different methods of getting information to the masses," Asbell said. "With just your phone now, you can take pictures, update popular social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. This internship has been fun and educational."

For many of these high schoolers, the program provides them an opportunity to fulfill joblike duties for the first time. They handle the responsibilities of having a schedule and meeting requirements and deadlines.

"Even in a short, six-week window, the lessons these students learn is invaluable as they prepare for college and pursue their career path," Lamb said. "I hope they realize that, and cherish this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Applications for the Young Scholars Program are accepted from October through January. Before final decisions are made, selected students are vetted through an interview process.

Snow is finishing her first year as a Young Scholar. She worked with UGA vegetable plant pathologist Bhabesh Dutta. Snow's project focused on testing the role of micronutrients on disease-resistant genes.

"I will take away the experience of working with world-renowned scientists and appreciate the opportunities that have opened many doors for my future," she said.

Michael Pannell is a Young Scholar on the University of Georgia Tifton campus.


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