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Grade 11 students participating in the University of Windsor's Science Academy examine a jar containing the invasive spiny water fleas during a tour of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.Grade 11 students participating in the University of Windsor's Science Academy examine a jar containing the invasive spiny water fleas during a tour of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

Past participants now mentors at UWindsor's Science Academy

Carefully tucked away in Layale Bazzi’s academic portfolio sits a certificate she received in Grade 11.

This certificate, while not her most notable accomplishment, represents a moment that forever influenced her academic career.

“When I first saw the University of Windsor’s department of physics in all its glory and met some of the students in the physics club at the time, it was like a whole new world opened up to me,” Bazzi said on Tuesday.

“Going to Science Academy in Grade 11 not only carved the first chip in the stone for my love of physics but also made me want to attend UWindsor.”

That first introduction to the University’s Faculty of Science was five years ago when Bazzi was a student at École Secondaire E.J. Lajeunesse.

This week, the physics major was helping to lead a group of 48 of the top academic Grade 11 students from across Essex County and introducing them to the various scientific programs and activities at the University of Windsor.

Science undergraduates Kiruthika Baskaran, Jake Frank and Layale Bazzi were all introduced to Science Academy as high school students and now help to lead the program.

Science undergraduates Kiruthika Baskaran, Jake Frank and Layale Bazzi were all introduced to Science Academy as high school students and now help to lead the program.

Michelle Bondy, USci Coordinator in the Faculty of Science, said the week-long academy allows high school students to participate in lectures, hands-on laboratory exercises and research lab tours within each department in the Faculty of Science.

“This is one of my favourite weeks of the year because we get to work with these awesome high school students and do science with them,” Bondy said.

“It provides a great opportunity for these high school students to meet UWindsor faculty, graduate students, undergraduates and staff members in these departments.”

Current Science Society president Jake Frank said attending Science Academy five years ago encouraged him to get more involved on campus.

“If it wasn’t for Science Academy, I may not have had that positive interaction with the Science Society president at that time,” Frank said, who is completing his undergraduate degree in health and biomedical science.

“Science Academy really opened up the various paths of scientific study and ways for me to get involved on campus.”

A Grade 11 participant and undergraduate leader participate in the "Amazing Race" event during the UWindsor Science Academy on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

A Grade 11 participant and undergraduate leader participate in the "Amazing Race" event during the UWindsor Science Academy on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

Kiruthika Baskaran was also among the first group of Grade 11s to attend Science Academy.

A student at Vincent Massey Secondary School, Baskaran said she originally had her sights set on other universities away from home.

“When you first attend Science Academy you see that you are part of something, not just one in 1000 like you would find at other universities,” Baskaran said, who recently graduated with a three-year general science and will be attending medical school in the fall.

“You feel more important, more engaged and it’s much easier to get involved in research and extracurriculars.”

Bondy said over the last five years, Science Academy has grown to become an exciting program that is sought out by high schools in Essex County.

For more information about the UWindsor Science Academy, visit uwindsor.ca/scienceacademy.


By Dylan Kristy

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