It isn’t every day that a 13-year-old student finds herself studying and conducting college-level experiments, but that’s exactly what Joy Preston, found herself doing this summer.
Preston was one of 30 middle school students worldwide selected to attend the Joint Science and Technology Institute (JSTI), a program that provides students the opportunity to complete science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) challenges and projects. According to the institute’s website, the program “enables students to work with real-world scientists and increase student awareness of career opportunities in STEM-related fields.”
For Preston, the camp further increased her desire to go into the healthcare field.
“I really enjoy science, so I was really excited when I found out I was chosen to go,” said Preston. “I really want to be a nurse when I grow up and work with children who have cancer, so science is a really important subject to study.”
Each day students work in their assigned groups on a number of projects. Preston was assigned to the forensic chemistry project group and learned how to identify unknown substances.
“We took different chemicals and put them over fire to see what color the flame turned. Based on what color the flame turned we could know what chemical it was,” explained Preston.
JSTI’s other project groups include robotics, 3D printing, videography and engineering drones. To give students a full-spectrum experience – visual, auditory, reading, writing and kinesthetic – each group begins with lectures, and then dives straight into the laboratory to reinforce the concepts just learned.
Preston plans to continue her love of science while attending Ocean Lakes High School’s Math and Science Academy next year and is already preparing her application to attend JSTI’s high school program next summer.