Liberty High School senior Emily Ristevski has graduated with 81 other St. Louis area high school students from the 2018 Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The annual six-week summer program is for academically talented high school juniors and seniors, and pairs them with top research mentors from Saint Louis University, Washington University, UMSL, Confluence Discovery Technologies and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Experts from the five institutions take on student apprentices in laboratories and direct them in research projects. Emily worked with Dr. Angela Herbe, assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine and an oncologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Her research paper was titled “The TRIM Reaper; the role of TRIM23 in cell deaths of MPNSTs (malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors).” For many of the participants, working in labs with top scientists is the most important event in their decision to pursue a career in science. Emily plans to major in biology (pre-med) at either Case Western Reserve University or Duke University.
Students also attended lectures by nationally known scientists from the St. Louis science community, learned more about the higher education admission process and enjoyed social events such as a performance by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and a St. Louis Cardinals game.
“Being a scientist, as you know, is very rewarding. Scientists improve the human condition by identifying and solving problems,” said Darryl Chatman, Vice Chair of the University of Missouri System Board of Curators, at the graduation ceremony. “They create new technology and new gadgets. They build infrastructure, cure diseases, predict and warn us of dangerous weather conditions, create better and safer food – and that’s just to name a few things.”
This year’s STARS students hailed from high schools throughout the St. Louis region, as well as Iowa, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin, as well as Anatolia College’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Program in Greece. STARS is funded partially through BioSTL, Monsanto, UMKC School of Medicine, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the Office of the Chancellor at UMSL, Saint Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the St. Louis Zoo.