10th Graders Training as Experienced Microscope Technicians

10th Graders Training as Experienced Microscope Technicians

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Ed Yeates ReportingIt may not look like much on the outside, but inside students are doing some very unique experiments. It's a project inside a two million dollar laboratory, unheard of in most schools.

At the Divinci Academy in Ogden, Bill McManus heads to his classroom. But this one is unlike any you've seen in a high school. Inside, sophisticated electron microscopes - the kind usually found only in university research labs - are there, for the students.

Bill McManus, Science Instructor, DaVinci Academy: "It gives us a chance to give a hands-on science experiment, starting at the 10th grade level."

Hands on in more ways that you can imagine! McManus' goal is to eventually have graduating high school students here go directly into science labs as fully trained, employable, perhaps even certified electron microscope technicians.

And should they want to go on to college?

Bill McManus: "Through our program, we have a situation where most of them would be able to get full scholarships at universities."

The DaVinci lab is actually a company within a school where science takes on real world applications. In fact, McManus has tied the scopes with digital cameras, downloading images into a website which can be viewed anywhere in the world.

Conceivably, students could partner as teams, sharing data, or taking on new challenges - like Amellia Reeder. For her science fair project she's going to isolate the abnormal protein from her own cystic fibrosis disease, purify it, prepare it, and image it in high resolution 3-D.

Bill McManus: "This is equivalent to what most graduate students would do for a masters degree."

Amellia Reeder, 10th Grader: "I've seen sketches of it, but to actually see it will make so it's more real to me."

Milly's project is so sophisticated, results could easily be published in a scientific journal. Imagine, all from a 10th grader!

Fifty percent of the studentbody at the Ogden school is made up of minority and disadvantaged teens.

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