SEATTLE — While most high school kids spend August soaking up summer, these students are taking in science.
"The Pathways Explorers Program at Fred Hutch, funded by the National Cancer Institute, provides students going into 10th or 11th grade in the fall with an experience at a world-class cancer research center," said Jeanne Ting Chowning, Senior Director of Science Education for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Hundreds of students apply for the two-week immersion program, with an emphasis given to applicants who are underrepresented in health science fields.
Fred Hutch program inspires teens to pursue careers in science
"We feel it's very important for all students to be exposed to science careers especially if they're curious and they are passionate about science. And so we wanted to establish something that allowed them the opportunity for access to scientist and research where they might not have had those opportunities," said Chowning.
Getting into the coveted program can be the biggest accomplishment of their young lives.
"I was so excited. My mom was right next to me, and I was like, 'Oh my god mom I got in!' And it was like I got into college," Said Angeline Yu, a rising junior at Skyline High School.
For future Redmond High sophomore Andrew D'urso, the program has exceeded his expectations. "The people here are amazing. All the other students are incredible. Everything has been excellent. Everyone is incredibly knowledgeable. They answer every question we throw at them."
But the answers these students get aren't just confined to the classroom, they also perform experiments in labs alongside scientists.
"This is a lot more hands-on. It's a lot more to the point. It's incredibly interesting," said D'urso.
Yu adds, "They realize we are all at different levels and they make sure no one falls behind."
They may be in high school now, but Fred Hutch hopes their Pathways Explorers Program will help shape these young students of today, into scientists and doctors of tomorrow.
Chowning said, "To think about these students being the ones who could be creating the next cures or treatments, that's really exciting to me."
Applications for 2020 Pathways Explorers Program opens in January.