Our Project SEED students would love to be writing this last blog entry, but as you can imagine, they are busy wrapping up their projects, so I've been recruited.
I've been involved in Duquesne's summer programs for three years now, and I have been sending my brightest science minded students to Dr. Aitken since Project SEED started here about 6 years ago. Over the years, I have seen the profound impact this experience has on the social and academic development of my students. These kids come from tough backgrounds and overcome terrible adversity. Project SEED provides them with unique opportunities to grow that we cannot replicate in our economically challenged high school. Each year I struggle (in a good way) to figure out which of my students to select, knowing that it is likely going to give them an advantage over their peers and open doors that leads to financial gains as they mature. It's a tough decision, but over the years, I've gotten good at finding the right combination of smarts, attitude, and personality. This summer's crop of students particularly excelled. They have shown sincere interest and concern and have worked long hours above and beyond the call of duty. Their mastery of the material has been impressive and has lead to rich and engaging group meetings. I'm proud of each of them for how far they've come in such a short period of time, and I look forward to seeing continued growth if they return next summer.
I'd also like to thank everyone who makes this possible. Without the support of the ACS, our generous corporate donors, the professors and staff of Duquesne's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Dr. Aitken, a dozen or so of my students would have had very different futures.