This educational collaboration between Washington University's Tyson Research Center and the Missouri Botanical Garden's Shaw Nature Reserve is designed to engage St. Louis area high school students in scientifically-based exploration of the natural world. Linked programs of field training (SIFT) and field research (TERF) provide teenagers with experiences that realistically reflect research in environmental biology. Participating teens learn a variety of field investigation skills and then have the opportunity to put those new skills to work assisting career scientists with real research projects.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Apps Are Coming, The Apps are Coming!

More phone calls, some faxes, one scanned app via e-mail, one app dropped at SNR, and even a run out to the parking lot for a hand delivery! The applications are coming in. Time to start a database, I think.

I'm not sure that we will have 60 participants, but we will certainly be able to have good sized groups in each of the two summer sessions. And I think we will have a diverse group of teens in regards to ethnicity, home location, and public/private school. However, the girl applicants are outnumbering the boys at this point.

I am taking quick looks at the applications as they come in, but we will not make any decisions until Friday, April 25, 2008. I will have an acceptance e-mail ready to go for after the selections are made that morning. Time to get going on the enrollment package materials...

Based on the preliminary numbers, Lydia and I have decided to have a single orientation session on May 18, 2008 at 2:00 pm. The Assembly Building at the Dana Brown Overnight Center is plenty large to handle the selected SIFTers and 1-2 parents each. This session will serve several purposes.
  • Final check of the enrollment forms
  • Communication about what to bring and what to expect for the SIFT summer sessions
  • Tour of the SNR facilities, especially the overnight cabins
  • Pre-program surveys and interviews with our evaluator Kathi Beyer
  • Introduction of SIFT program staff
  • General parental reassurance and get acquainted type activities
It is so exciting to finally be at this point in the planning. Connecting with the applicants, parents, and teachers is really bringing the project into reality.