WESTERN SAN JUANS - Summer is finally here, and some regional high school students are out on their Pinhead Institute Summer Internship programs, spending the summer studying science while exploring the world alongside global scientific and industry leaders.
The program, founded in 2003,offers students the opportunity to gain practical skills and experience in scientific fields of study, including (but not limited to) math, physics, conservation, chemistry, and biology. Pinhead internships provide customized experiences and opportunities for students to work with people who have dedicated their lives to academic pursuits about which they are passionate.
Students from Nucla, Norwood, Telluride, Ridgway and Ouray middle and high schools can apply for internships in fields not available in San Miguel and Ouray counties, for what often is a life- changing experience. Since its inception, Pinhead has placed over 50 students in internships all over the world.
Here is what a few regional students are up to this summer with Pinhead:
Cirkine Sherry (Telluride High School) is delving into the field of neurology, interning at the Gabrieli Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on a study investigating dyslexia in pre-reading children, primarily looking at the part of the brain that is engaged while reading to hopefully show an abnormality in the brain that explains why some children struggle from dyslexia and why others do not. Sherry will administer both EEG scans – placing electrodes on the head – and MRI scans, studying the brains of the children affected by dyslexia.
Julia Vann (Ouray High School) is at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, working in the lab of Dr. Andrew Garcia, chronicling the development and use of humanized mice for the study of fundamental aspects of virology and immunology. Specifically, Vann will work with mice to address key questions regarding a variety of aspects of the human immune response to human specific pathogens, studying HIV transmission, HIV prevention, HIV therapy, HIV drug resistance and HIV latency and eradication.
Malcolm Major (Ridgway Secondary School) is spending his summer at the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in the Fairbanks, Alaska office, investigating the link between snow and sea ice chemistry with a focus on deposition of atmospheric mercury to the Arctic. He is also using biogeochemical tracers and geophysical measurements to investigate permafrost geomorphology and hydrogeology and the response of permafrost to climate warming.
Jon Young (Telluride High School) is also spending his summer at MIT, working with Pinhead Scholar Dr. Michael Otte. Young is helping Dr. Otte with the application of artificial intelligence to robotics, with a focus on path planning algorithms and multi-robot systems.
Tahsi Hackett (Ridgway Secondary School) is working under the direction of Dr. Robert Rodriguez at the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Specifically Hackett is working on imaging in blunt trauma, critical care in the ED, homeless and immigrant population access and care in the ED, and defensive medicine during his Pinhead Internship experience.
Brian Ensor’s (Telluride High School) internship takes him to the University of Texas, Austin, to work under Dr. Calvin Lin. Ensor is spending his summer in the computer science program, working to increase programmer productivity by improving system performance, correctness, and ease of programming.
And finally, Jordan Gardner (Telluride High School) is dedicating his summer to the development and application of unmanned vehicle systems with James Mack at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Gardner is working in the Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles where research will encompass scientific experiments, commercial applications, mitigation of natural and manmade disasters, security and national defense.
Throughout the summer, each student keeps an account of their experiences, for publication online on the Pinhead website, and in local papers, so stay on the lookout for Pinhead Intern “Letters from the Field” all summer. It is through the generous support of the Telluride Foundation, CCAASE, the Telluride Rotary and Pinhead’s many donors that these opportunities are available to our regional students.
Looking to support this program in the future? Contact Pinhead today, by visitingwww.pinheadinstitute.org or calling Executive Director Sonchia Jilek at 970/708-7441.