School students 'adopt' a scientist from UC

20 July 2016

Four Lincoln High School students have 'adopted' researchers at the University of Canterbury Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research.

School students 'adopt' a scientist from UC

UC Professor Maggie-Lee Huckabee welcomes new and aspiring researchers. "Research education in our centre is focused on the more experienced mentoring those with less experience, from PhD candidates to undergraduate students. Adding in high school students is a perfect way to 'infect' potentially great scientists with the research bug."

New science needs new thinking, supported by the wisdom of experience, and a Canterbury school and the University of Canterbury are helping make this concept a reality.

Already making their contribution to science as teenagers, four Lincoln High School students have ‘adopted’ researchers at the University of Canterbury Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research.

All four Year Nine pupils are working with academic researchers at the UC Rose Centre’s Swallowing Rehabilitation Research Laboratory.

Lollie Stollard and Alex Griffiths are working with UC Bachelor of Speech and Language Therapy Honours student Sasha Adams to collect normative data on a test of chewing and swallowing in children. Their project will contribute to an international data set with data from Ireland, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands, to be presented at a conference in Spain later this year.

Two other students, Renee Dobbs and Amber Thompson, are working with UC PhD student Paige Thomas. Their project is evaluating the rate of fatigue in the muscles that are used in swallowing. This information will help develop a test of muscle weakness that underlies swallowing impairment in stroke patients. 

UC Professor Maggie-Lee Huckabee supervises the research programme at the Rose Centre and welcomes new and aspiring researchers. 

“Research education in our centre is focused on the more experienced mentoring those with less experience, from PhD candidates to undergraduate students.  Adding in high school students is a perfect way to ‘infect’ potentially great scientists with the research bug,” she says. 

The Adopt-a-Scientist programme, organised by Lincoln High School science teacher Dr Rose Travis, pairs Year Nine students with local researchers.

“By giving our students an opportunity to participate in real science with real researchers, they are exposed to the possibility of a career in research,” Dr Travis says. 

“It’s the commitment and support of our community scientists, Principal Kathy Paterson and the Head of Science, Willem Tolhoek, that allows the programme to run as smoothly as it does, providing invaluable experience to students who would not otherwise experience science in the real world until after graduating high school.”

The ‘Adopt a Scientist’ programme has run at Lincoln High School for four years.  The aspiring teenage scientists will showcase their work at a presentation night in November, in front of their ‘adopted’ scientists.

For further information please contact:

Professor Maggie-Lee Huckabee, University of Canterbury Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research at St George’s Hospital, Christchurch, Phone (03) 364 2042, Email maggie-lee.huckabee@canterbury.ac.nz

or

Margaret Agnew, Senior External Relations Advisor, University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 2775 | Mobile: 027 5030 168 | margaret.agnew@canterbury.ac.nz
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