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Young Global Leaders Program Engages High School Students with Public Health

This year, the annual Young Global Leaders program for high school students worked with the Environment, Exposure Science and Risk Assessment Center at the college to introduce the students to public health concepts and practices, and enable them to participate in hands-on lab activities. The students loved the experience!

This year for the annual Young Global Leaders program, the Global Health Institute (GHI) partnered with the college’s Environment, Exposure Science and Risk Assessment Center (ESRAC) to deliver a new version of the program – Young Global Leaders: An Integrated Lab Experience Summer Program.

Students were on campus over the course of two weeks and explored Public Health with a spotlight on the microbial aspects of Environmental Health Sciences. They participated in a range of hands-on lab experiences led by research scientist Jonathan Sexton, PhD, MS, who oversees the ESRAC lab. Among the lab activities, students conducted an outbreak investigation, tested water samples for E. coli and coliforms, and conducted research on the efficiency of their own household disinfectants. Team leads included participation from undergraduate Environmental Science students Lexi Vance and Adalia Elizondo-Craig, alongside high school students Jeanette and Rocky, who were paired with Dr. Sexton as part of the Steps 2 Stem program.

Students additionally participated in experiential learning activities to explore Aging Research with Drs. Zhao Chen and Amanda Sokan. They were introduced to Global Health concepts and challenges by Dr. Gabriela Valdez, and learned about Industrial Hygiene with Shannon Newton, MPH, CIH. Visits to main campus, ASTEC, and the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research rounded out their experience. At the end of the program, students presented a summary of their research findings and overall program experience to their peers, parents, faculty and staff. The program was a resounding success and generated real enthusiasm from the students.

In all, thirteen students participated from a range of educational levels including rising sophomores, juniors, seniors, and one rising first-year undergrad. The high schools represented included BASIS Oro Valley, Catalina Foothills High School, Canyon del Oro High School, CITY High School, Sonoran Science Academy – Davis Monthan, St. Augustine Catholic High School, University High School, and Walden Grove High School.

The GHI and ESRAC teams extend their thanks to Dean Iman Hakim, generous and dedicated donors, parents, school administrators, teachers, and counselors alike for their support. They also send a shout out and a huge thank you to the student participants for their enthusiasm and commitment to Public Health!  

Summer 2024 program details and application will be announced in February 2024.

The Global Health Institute is able to make a greater impact in local and global communities thanks to generous and dedicated supporters whose contributions help fund student programs and scholarships. Please consider designating a gift for the Young Global Leaders Program today!

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