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.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"Yikes, it's May!" Update

As of this morning, we have 25 confirmed SIFTers. And so far, only one will be unable to attend the orientation session on May 18. Lydia and I will construct an alternate orientation plan once we have all of the RSVPs on Friday. Obviously the best case scenario is that only one SIFTer misses the session, but we can still squeeze in a shorter session if necessary. I am concerned that we could lose the data point for that participant if we don't get the pre-program survey/assessment administered. Will have to think on that...

Interestingly, I have received an additional application for the program. This is significantly after the application deadline, but it is from a student in a targeted school district and she has very strong recommendations from her teachers. I will consult with Jon and Lydia to see how they think this should be handled. My inclination is to accept her, especially with one of her recommending teachers mentioning that she is "the very best student I've ever taught!" That is definitely the kind of student that we want to be engaged in this program...

Lydia and I will be meeting with an additional instructor tomorrow. Jon has found someone with teaching and field research experience to act as a link between the SIFT and TERF programs and we would like to bring her on board as soon as possible. It will be good for her to establish a relationship with the first cohort of SIFTers so that they are familiar with her when some of them move on to become the first cohort of TERFers in 2009-10.