Top Students Chosen for Wright Scholar Research Program

Two students will spend their summer in the prestigious Wright Scholar Research Assistant program. What makes these two Eagles unique compared to years past is that the two students were the Class of 2018 valedictorian and salutatorian. Katie Kohnen ‘18 and Jasmine Hughes ‘18, respectively, are also participating in the Wright Scholar Research Assistant Program for a second year.

“Throughout the program last year, I learned an incredible amount about new genomics technologies, procedures, and tests along with the basics of several fields of engineering,” said Kohnen. “I was interested in applying for the Wright Scholar program again in order to expand my knowledge about genetics and operate laboratory equipment. I know that the Wright Scholar program is an extraordinary experience and opportunity to prepare me for my future.”

Hughes agreed, “Last summer, I learned so much information about the characterization process of materials, specifically polymers and polyimides. I gained a lot of skills that I would never have learned without being in the program, and some of those skills are how to use characterization and other processing equipment. Also, I look forward to working again this summer on new projects and learning how to use different machines.”
Last summer, Kohnen worked in the Human Performance Wing and Hughes worked in the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate section. Both seniors will be focusing in the same subjects this summer, with a focus ahead to their college studies.
“I plan on majoring in biology and psychology on a pre-medicine track with a possible minor in Spanish,” Kohnen shared. “My experience as a Wright Scholar has taught me what research is like and has prepared me to perform more sophisticated research on a collegiate level. Although Wright Scholars have traditionally focused on solely STEM/engineering professions (mostly mathematics, physics, and computer science fields). It has recently expanded to include more participants who are interested in medicine.”

“In college, I am majoring in engineering and currently planning on going into chemical engineering specifically,” Hughes noted. “My experience with the Wright Scholar Program last summer actually played a part in my choosing to pursue chemical engineering in college because most of my mentors and colleagues were chemical engineers.”

In 2017, five students represented CJ in the Wright Scholar Research Assistant program. Eight students were selected in 2016 and seven were chosen in 2015.

When asked about the opportunities they have experienced through the Wright Scholar Research Assistant program, Kohnen said, “I encourage everyone who is interested in a STEMM-related field to apply to this program in the future, as it truly introduces you to a variety of professions, topics, and people!”

Hughes added, “This opportunity is a fantastic experience, and I would recommend it to any junior and senior student who is interested in the STEMM field. The opportunity to be in the program is an once in a lifetime experience, and it will definitely help me in college and beyond.”

You can learn more about the Wright Scholar Research Assistant program here.

Posted May 23, 2018

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