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2014 Fall Highlights of Hope

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FALL 2014 VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE’S HIGHLIGHTSof HOPE Science Academy Establishes Lifelong Love of Science MEET EUNICE EYAMBA. EUNICE IS A SENIOR AT INNOVATION CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL, AND WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING TRACK OR FILLING OUT COLLEGE APPLICATIONS, SHE’S STUDYING SCIENCE. THIS SUMMER SHE PARTICIPATED IN THE GRAND RAPIDS AREA PRE-COLLEGE ENGINEERING PROGRAM (GRAPCEP) AT VAN ANDEL RESEARCH INSTITUTE IN THE LABORATORY OF TRANSLATIONAL IMAGING UNDER THE DIRECTION OF DR. ANTHONY CHANG. said Dr. Steven Triezenberg, director of Van Andel Education Institute. “Her experience really brings to life the duality of Van Andel Institute’s mission–that of biomedical science and science education,” he said. A Promising Future Eunice’s short list of colleges she’d like to attend includes Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University or Aquinas College, where she hopes Eunice Eyamba reflects on her time at the Science Academy and in the GRAPCEP program. A Young Passion for Science Eunice’s passion for science shone early. Her third-grade counselors encouraged her to apply to attend Van Andel Education Institute’s Science Academy where she became one of the inaugural cohort students in July 2006. Eunice speaks fondly of her first experiments with fish and pill bugs and building an ecosystem environment. She compares her studies at the Science Academy as “more hands on…the expectations were higher” than in her regular elementary school. Fast forward to her GRAPCEP internship, and Eunice reports that Van Andel Research Institute expectations were high, too. “Dr. Chang encouraged me to keep going, to do more. I had to practice my final presentation three or four times, but I had a really great time,” she said. “Eunice is anecdotal evidence of one successful outcome of the Science Academy cohort program,” “DR. CHANG ENCOURAGED ME TO KEEP GOING, TO DO MORE. I HAD TO PRACTICE MY FINAL PRESENTATION THREE OR FOUR TIMES, BUT I HAD A REALLY GREAT TIME.” –Eunice Eyamba to study biomedical science with the goal of becoming a pediatrician doing translational medicine. Love of science runs in the family, as Eunice’s mother is a nurse and her father also works in a health-related field. GRAPCEP internships are only possible through generous donations…thank you for your support! 4 | Van Andel Institute Highlights of Hope

A Celebration of Learning: Science Academy Students Recall Favorite Memories VAN ANDEL EDUCATION INSTITUTE’S (VAEI) SCIENCE ACADEMY CELEBRATED ITS INAUGURAL OUT-OF-SCHOOL-TIME COHORT PROGRAM CLASS IN MAY AS THE STUDENTS PREPARED FOR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION. EIGHT YEARS AGO, THESE STUDENTS MADE A COMMITMENT TO IMMERSE THEMSELVES IN SCIENCE FOR 60 HOURS PER YEAR FOR THREE YEARS IN ADDITION TO THEIR REGULAR SCHOOL DAY. “Fond memories I wouldn’t trade for anything.” At the celebratory reunion, students shared their fondest memories from the experience and the impact the program has had on their education. Students recalled working with the animals – especially Toby the tortoise! – field trips to swamps and working with others who were passionate about science. “I liked it a lot because I like hearing other people’s opinions and how they went about their experiment,” shared Alondra Vergara-Diaz, a 2014 Grand Rapids City High School graduate starting at University of Michigan. Other students spoke to the impact of the cohort program in high school. Students felt like they had a head start in science classes since they had experience writing lab reports, journaling and setting up experiments. “It’s prepared me for high school and beyond.” The students are headed in all different directions to continue their education, and their interests are diverse. They plan to major in everything from pre-med and biology to aerospace engineering, marketing and journalism. Regardless of their future path in life, all students acknowledged the valuable skills – teamwork, writing, problem solving and critical thinking – they acquired from the cohort program. “It taught me how to be creative and interact with my peers to work towards something,” said Liam Kirkbride, a 2014 Grand Rapids City High School graduate attending Michigan State University. Since these graduating students first entered the VAEI laboratories, the cohort program’s reputation and Participants in the inaugural Out-of- School-Time Cohort Program recall their fond memories working with the animals, conducting experiments and making friends. popularity has exploded. Today, the Science Academy receives far more applications than it can accommodate, and the staff is expanding their reach of K-12 teachers and students through professional development resources. “Thank you” The Science Academy Cohort program is provided free of charge to participating students thanks to the generous support of donors like you. Thank you for your continued support. Your gifts are changing students’ lives! below: Students from the inaugural Out-of-School-Time Cohort Program reconnect eight years after beginning the program. Van Andel Institute Highlights of Hope | 5

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