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Summer camps allow high school students to earn while they learn

Two computer science summer camps to be held at New Mexico State University will give local high school students the opportunity to get paid to learn about a promising new field in science.


ng Women in Computing Summer Camp is exclusively for female high school students and will be held four hours every weekday July 10-Aug. 11. Female students accepted into this program will receive free books, materials and meals, as well as $200 weekly for five weeks. Accepted participants will also have the opportunity to participate in monthly luncheons during the academic year to meet experts and learn valuable skills for their future college careers.

Applicants must have at least a 3.2 GPA, a transcript that reflects a background in math and science courses, two letters of recommendation from teachers and a written essay stating why they think they would benefit from attending this camp. Female students from high schools in Las Cruces and surrounding areas including El Paso and Canutillo are eligible.

The High School Bioinformatics Summer Camp is open to male and female high school students and will be held weekdays July 17-July 28. Participants in the camp will receive free books, materials, meals and $100 weekly for two weeks.

To be eligible, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA, a transcript that reflects a background in math and sciences courses, two letters of recommendation from teachers and a written essay stating the reasons why they think they would benefit from attending this camp. High school students from Las Cruces and the Gadsden Independent School District are eligible.

The summer camps are funded by the National Science Foundation through grants procured by Enrico Pontelli, associate professor of computer science, and Desh Ranjan, professor and head of the department of computer science at NMSU. The camps will focus on the fields of computer science, computational biology and bioinformatics.

Ranjan said bioinformatics can be defined as "the science that uses advanced computing techniques for management and analysis of biological data." He said the complete sequencing of the human genome, a major scientific breakthrough, would not have been possible without bioinformatics. Better drug design, gene therapy and the development of new varieties of disease-resistant crops also rely on bioinformatics.

"These summer camps offer students a wonderful opportunity to gain experience in a university setting and to network with other students with similar interests as well as with the faculty and staff at the computer science department," said Linda Sandoval, program coordinator for the NMSU department of computer science.

To apply go to http://www.cs.nmsu.edu/CREST. Although the deadline for applications is April 28, review of applications is ongoing and students are strongly encouraged to apply early.

Austin Craig
March 9, 2006