High School Special Topics Program
What is the Special Topics Program?
This spring The STEM & Leaf Corps is expanding its Special Topics Programs for High School Students!
Selected high school students will complete a program on a topic of their choosing, meeting one hour each week throughout the Spring 2021 semester with our volunteer STEM & Leaf Mentors and other program participants. Our mentors include 8 National Merit Scholars, 2 BS/MD Candidates, and 1 PhD Candidate from a variety of backgrounds. This is an unparalleled opportunity to learn about topics traditionally unavailable in high schools, showcase your talents on a collegiate level, and create projects that will have impact in your local community!
Thanks to the pandemic, we have successfully pivoted to virtual learning so the vast majority of the topics will be available to any student with an internet connection in the Western hemisphere.
What are the Topics?
This semester's topics are
Public Health in the Hispanic Community: A Story of Science, Culture, and Language (Discussion + Project)
Energy: History, Economics and Sustainability (Discussion + Project)
Intelligent Investing: The Warren Buffett Way (Lecture + Discussion)
History and Philosophy of Economics (Discussion + Project)
Regional Academic Support Database (Project-Based)
Modern Healthcare: Who Gets It? (Discussion)
Biotechnology Journal Club (Research)
Middle Eastern Politics (Discussion)
Ancient Greek Philosophy (Discussion)
Science Writing (Research)
Music and Memory (Discussion + Research)
Past topics included:
Computational Biology (Project-Based) [Fall 2020]
Computational Linguistics (Research) [Fall 2020]
Mathematical Linguistics (Research) [Spring 2020]
Students must be 13 years or older
Students must be in high school
Must live in Western Hemisphere
Parent/Guardian permission required
Parent/Guardian must submit application
Its more fun with friends! Let them know about this opportunity!
Application Deadline: Friday, January 22 at 11:59 PM CT
"The STEM & Leaf Corps gave me an unique opportunity to dive deeper into biological topics through an interesting project. I learned valuable information about coding, which I had little knowledge of beforehand, so it was an amazing learning experience!"
~Prashamsa Ghimire, Computational Biology, Fall 2020
Frequently asked questions
How are you addressing concerns of student safety?
I don't see times or days for weekly meetings. When do the groups meet?
When parents or guardians fill out the application, they are able to indicate their child's availability. Mentors will choose the most qualified students who are able to meet at a time with all of the other students in the group. This time will be finalized after applications close, between January 22 and 29, by the mentors leading the group.
What are some examples of the previous projects?
Students in the Computational Biology program each chose a disease and mapped out the biology on a cellular and molecular level. Then they wrote programs that modeled the disease, the body’s response to the disease, or how doctors would respond to the disease. They also read a New Kind of Science, discussing the notion of biological complexity and aspects of evolution. One student's project modeled Crohn's colitis and incorporated set and random variables into the program such that the "patient" would have different genetics, symptoms, and outcomes nearly every time the program was run. Check out his Python file here!
What if my student is interested in more than one project?
Parents/Guardians will rank their children's preferred topics on the application. If the student is accepted they will be matched into one program. However, if there is availability and parents indicate availability for more than one program, students may be considered for more than one program. Preference will be given to students who have not been placed.
How big are the groups?
Our topics this semester were either requested by previous students or proposed by mentors and vary widely in their aims and modalities. Thus mentors will be making the decisions based on how many students they can feasibly accomodate while maintaining a small-group feel to the program. That being said, the groups may vary from 3 to about 30 students.
Is The STEM & Leaf Corps a 501(c)(3) nonprofit?
Yes! We are registered in the great State of Texas. Tax-deductible donations are greatly appreciated and go towards supplies for our project-based programs with elementary and middle school students. Click here to donate!
Is this really free? Is it completely virtual?
If you are an undergraduate student and interested in leading a special topics program, please click here and complete the form.