11 High School Students Reach for the Stars as NASA Interns


11 High School Students Reach for the Stars as NASA Interns

TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY, AL -- (August 5, 2004) --Eleven high school students served as NASA interns this summer with the Tuskegee University Center for Food and Environmental Systems for Human Exploration of Space (CFESH), thanks to Tuskegee University, NASA and USDA funding. The program has been held for five summers now, according to the program coordinator Robyn Drew.

Each intern had a scientist/mentor as a guide in six-week research projects. At the end of the session, students presented their research to invited family members and friends, students, faculty and staff of the College of Agricultural , Environmental, and Natural Sciences, the sponsor of the program.

Drew says, “Although we have had many outstanding students over the years, this year’s interns was quite a remarkable group of bright young scientists, maybe the best ever. We were so proud of them.”

The interns, their topics and their mentors were:

  • Stephon Adams:  Can Extracts from Herbs Prevent Corrosion?  Mentored by Dr. Adriane Ludwick of the Chemistry Department who is currently investigating ways to prevent corrosion of Egyptian maritime vessels;
  • Keturah Cates:  Comparative Determination of Organic Carbon in Soil Samples by a Wet Chemistry Method and by a High Combustion Method. Mentored by Dr. Kokoasse Kpomblekou -A, a soil scientist whose research concerns broiler litter content and its proper application as a soil amendment to Alabama agricultural lands; Yeipyeng Datiri : Analyzing Sweetpotato Storage Roots’ Developmental Process.Mentored by Dr. Marceline Egnin , research scientist at the Center for Plant BiotechnologyResearch, engaged for years in peanut and sweetpotato biotechnology relative to TuskegeeUniversity’s CFESH project;
  • Michaela Donner : Effectiveness of Deworming Treatments on Reducing Parasites in Goats. Mentored by Dr. Ralph Noble , faculty research scientist in the Animal Sciences program and goat farmer, a widely known resource person throughout Alabama on goats.
  • Charmaine Echols:  Trends of Acid Phosphatase Activity Within Artificial Wetlandsin Alabama.  Mentored by Dr. Ramble Ankumah, coordinator of the Environmental Sciences program at Tuskegee University, who is currently engaged in artificial wetlands research in Alabama.
  • Iesha Elerbe:  Leaf Curl Virus Field Detection in Sweetpotatoes. Mentored by Dr. Marikis Alvarez , horticulturalist at the George Washington Carver Agricultural Experiment Station, currently conducting field studies on sweetpotatoes, squash and peppersas well as being on the CFESH staff;
  • Amber Henderson: Antimicrobial Activity of Edible Coating Applied to Food Products (using cheese and strawberries).  Mentored by Dr. Jun-Hyun Oh of the Food and Nutritional Sciences Department who is researching the use of a more environmentally-friendly edible coating to prevent food spoilage rather than plastic;
  • Kyra Jones:  Physical Properties of Five Potential Plant Growth Media Formulatedfrom Sweetpotato Biomass and Their Ability to Support Seedling Growth. Mentored by Dr. Desmond Mortley , coordinator of the CFESH project, and leader for the Crop Development team;
  • Laquita Lassiter:  Community Economic Analysis of Macon County, Alabama . Mentored by Dr. Tasha Hargrove , who is working on a project examining minority community land and security issues.
  • Nicolas Mahone:  Identifying Signaling Mechanisms to Inhibit Prostate Cancer Progressions. Mentored by Dr. Timothy Turner , currently engaged in prostate cancer research in collaboration with the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
  • Aleigha Williams:  Molds in Our Environment. Mentored by Dr. Sulaiman Gbadamosi, microbiologist at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health. He was so pleased with her work that he asked Aleigha to prepare a poster of her data for Tuskegee’s Annual Veterinary Symposium next March and again at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology next May in Atlanta. 

All of the students attend Booker T. Washington High School in Tuskegee except for Yeipyeng, Amber and Nicolas who attend the Alabama School of Math and Science in Mobile , and Laquita who attends Bullock County High School in Union Springs.

Contact Person:  Marie Loretan, 727-8035.

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