CSU Hosts High School Students for Future Teachers Academy

COLUMBUS, Ga. - While some high school students start summer by unwinding and enjoying a vacation, one group is diving into a variety of hands-on science and math activities at Columbus State University.

CSU selected 22 rising juniors and seniors from Columbus, Smiths Station, Ala., LaGrange and Manchester for the June 1-12 Academy of Future Teachers. identifying the students from a pool of applicants as potential science or math educators or future scientists and mathematicians.

On Wednesday, June 10, the students will model scientists in a pharmaceutical laboratory. They’ll produce analgesics such as aspirin and oil of wintergreen, the latter via steam distillation of softened leaves, creating an oil commonly applied topically or aromatherapeutically for muscle and joint pain.

Professor Bonita Flournoy will direct the project from 10 a.m.-noon and 1-2:20 p.m. in Lenoir 209. Flournoy and 14 of her faculty colleagues are guiding academy activities through the Math and Science Learning Center. CSU opened the center last fall thanks to a two-year, $400,000 science, technology, engineering and math grant from the state university system to address a dramatic shortage of science and math teachers. Associate Dean Cindy Henning led the STEM grant effort in the College of Science.

Associate professor and learning center director Kimberly Shaw said the academy — a cost-free scholarship opportunity — is building teaching and leadership skills, while improving problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. “By giving these talented students exposure to different areas of math and science, including the educational aspect of both, the academy participants are given the chance to explore career opportunities in math and science,” Shaw said.

In addition, to the analgesics project, the academy in its second week also will engage students in cryptography and Web design on Monday, geologic lab and field study on Tuesday and various other projects through Friday.

Among first-week activities, the students conducted chemical reactions with household products, programmed 3D animation software and practiced crime scene investigation techniques, including fingerprint analysis and DNA sampling

Students will design lesson plans for younger children based on their activities. They’ll apply their plans while working as volunteers with k-8 students in 13 summer camps between June 15-July 13 involving CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center, Columbus Regional Math Collaborative and TSYS Department of Computer Science.

“Experiences like these expose students to the real work that math and science teachers do,” Shaw said. “Such students are more likely to choose science and math education as a career, as well as be more likely to major in science or math in more general terms.”

For more information, go to http://mslc.colstate.edu/programs.asp or contact Jill Carroll at 706-507-8464 or Shaw at 706-507-8460.


Participating students

• Janiece Boyd, junior, Early College Academy of Columbus
• Gabrielle Bush, junior, Hardaway
• Tommy Butler, senior, Carver
• Dominique Carr, junior Hardaway
• Elizabeth Carson. senior, Northside
• Da’Jahna Carter, junior, Spencer
• JaQuanese Douglas, senior, Carver
• Jessica Drakeford, senior, Shaw
• Courtland Johnson, junior, Northside
• Divya Kannegenti, junior, Columbus
• Catherine Lockett, senior, Spencer
• Suvitha Radhakrishnan, junior, Columbus
• Julian Plowden, senior, Jordan
• Freddy Rincon, junior, Spencer
• Angelin Shajan, junior, Columbus
• La’Snosha Snowden, junior, Spencer
• Felicity Tommey, senior, Hardaway
• Mounika Yarlagadda, junior, Columbus

Reshonda Holmes, senior, Manchester High School
Laura Lallo, senior, Manchester High School

Hyorin Lee, junior, LaGrange High School

Smiths Station, Ala.:
Courtney Eatson, senior, Smiths Station High School