Lab offers HS Summer Research

UR Laboratory for Laser Lab Energetics presents its 16th annual High School Summer Research Program for local high school students this summer.About twelve students who have finished their junior year will be selected through a competitive application process, which includes an essay describing the interest in the fields of science, a recommendation letter from a current teacher and an interview. “For the past 15 years, this highly regarded program provided excellent education to the community of Rochester,” Dr. Stephen Craxton, a senior scientist at LLE, said. “We offer the taste of what top research facility is like to the future scientists.”For approximately seven weeks during the summer, accepted students will work at the LLE for 40 hours per week, supervised by members of the research staff and compensated for their work. Moreover, students will have the opportunity to conduct research by having access to LLE’s 60-beam Omega laser, the world’s most powerful fusion laser.”This Omega laser provides scientists with cutting-edge researches,” Craxton said. “So we’re trying to give [the students] the sense of how scientific research is done. “Through this summer program, I hope that the students can obtain necessary skills to think, interact and solve problems and concepts of science,” Craxton added. “And I hope that lots of them eventually go into scientific careers.”In the past, several students received recognition by competing in the national science competitions such as the Intel Science Talent Search, formerly known as the Siemens Westinghouse competition. From last year’s program, three students advanced to the semifinals of the Intel competition. “I have great expectations toward these students who are highly motivated in our distinguished research program,” Craxton said. University prepares to be accredited again in March

President Thomas Jackson recently discussed UR’s re-accreditation process, putting emphasis on decentralization within the university as the main issue to be reviewed. The procedure, administered by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, requires the university to pass high standards of quality and effectiveness, based on peer evaluations. “The alternative self-study model is designed to be more in the nature of a peer review process,” Jackson said. “It takes the standards [set forth in the traditional model] and assesses strengths and weaknesses, standards addressed and partially addressed.” Jackson feels this offers more insight into the progress at UR. “It allows a lot more understanding – a time for reflection by the university,” he said. UR’s main focus was decentralization. “In some way all universities have a degree of decentralization, particularly at professional school level, since 1990. It [places] fiscal responsibility down to units [which are] the structure and operation of The College. It’s a requirement of the departments to file reports, and fund-raising successes show [that changes have stayed],” he said. “Functions are handed off to The College, placed under [Dean of the Faculty] Tom LeBlanc. It’s a coherent model under our particular umbrella,” Jackson explained. UR has made much progress in this category. Dean of Students Jody Asbury, Director of Athletics and Recreation George Zwanderzwaag and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid John Burdick all used to report to the president or one of the vice presidents. Now they all report to Dean LeBlanc. “We were last re-accredited in 1991 and it was reaffirmed through a periodic review in 1996,” he said. Jackson reaffirmed UR’s chances saying, “The team is coming March 22, 23, 24. I think we are ready for the team to come,” he said.

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