Congratulations are in order for the 10 local high school students who just completed the Project SEED Program, a 9-week, paid summer internship that has science-minded teens from disadvantaged communities across the nation conducting actual research in professional labs.
These 10 diligent students have spent their past summer performing about 360 hours of crucial work at Chevron’s Richmond Technology Center, which is located on the Refinery campus in Richmond.
On Thursday, the students will culminate their experience by sharing their research results with their teachers, mentors and a representative of Project SEED, which is funded by Chevron and is a program by the American Chemical Society.
The talented students participating in this summer’s program include Jose Alfaro, 10th grade, Richmond High; Ansoni Carmona, 11th grade, Kennedy High; Joakin Ejie, 11th grade, Hercules High; Sahil Gill, 10th grade, De Anza High; Karen Gonzalez, 10th grade, Richmond High; Brian Higareda Gomez, 11th grade, Richmond High; Sarah Latino, 10th grade, El Cerrito High; Angie Rodriguez, 11th grade, Richmond High; Jose Vasquez, 11th grade, Richmond High; and Nathalie Velazquez, 12th grade, Richmond High.
“We are particularly glad to have had a lot of female participants this year,” said Andrea Bailey, community engagement manager with Chevron Richmond. “In investing in local education, one of Chevron’s goals is attracting and recruiting more females into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses and careers.”
Aside from having more female interns, this year’s 10 interns is the largest class placed at the Chevron Richmond Technology Center, which is one of a number of labs across the nation participating in Project SEED.
“[All 10] are from the West Contra Costa Unified School District,” said Kenneth Nelson, a Chevron employee who runs the local program.
The program provides invaluable experiences to students who have a knack for the sciences but may not have access to mentors in the field. More than 8,500 high school students across the country have benefited from Project SEED over nearly five decades.
“Not only is there a high rate of college graduations for the SEED students, there are also many examples where they received American Chemical Society scholarships,” Nelson said. “I’ve had a number of students I’ve mentored who have received the $5,000 annual scholarship, which is renewable for three years.”
To be eligible for Project SEED, students must have completed high school chemistry and received a recommendation from their chemistry teacher. They are then placed in professional labs during the summer to perform meaningful scientific research under the guidance of an experienced mentor.