Summer doldrums? Not at West Virginia University.

WVU offers an array of July programs, classes and research opportunities.

Young scientists are donning their lab coats and safety goggles for the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience. The program, which began June 1 and runs through July 31, is coordinated through the University Honors Program.

SURE focuses on giving 23 students hands-on experience, researching everything from biology and chemistry to agriculture and engineering.

Like professional scientists, students are expected to attend seminars and give poster presentations to show what they have learned.

“Not only do students get experience working in a lab with fellow majors, they also have the chance to collaborate with other types of majors and see how to make all their talents go together to create a well-run lab,”said Martina Bachlechner, a professor in physics and SURE mentor.

“They also get to see that not every experiment is straight from a textbook and works right the first time,”she added.

SURE is not all work and no play. When students aren’t busy with experiments, they get to go on day trips to fun places such as Kennywood amusement park and Greenbank Observatory.

Summer classes have proven to be popular

Summer Session II classes continue to be another popular option. With more courses to choose from this summer, about 6,300 students are enrolled in the second session that started July 5 and continues through Aug. 11.

“Students frequently use summer courses to balance academic-year course loads, enroll in courses that are highly competitive during the fall and spring terms, and to graduate early,”said Sue Day-Perroots, dean of Extended Learning.

“The increase in online offerings offers extra flexibility for WVU students who want to work and take classes,”she noted.

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* HSTA opens doors for high school students

Empowering talented minority and underrepresented high school students is what the Health Sciences and Technology Academy , or HSTA , summer institute is all about. The first of five sessions took place last week.

Teachers from area middle and high schools are joining forces with university faculty and about 500 students from 26 West Virginia counties for laboratory and classroom training and activities.

The partnership also provides support for community-based science projects mentored by teachers, health professions, students and volunteer community leaders during the school year.

Summer HSTA sessions include math, July 5-22;”Fun with Science,”July 10-15; and biomedical science, July 10-15 and July 17-22 .

* SAP helps new college students get started on the right foot

Recent high school graduates looking to get a jump-start on college are attending WVU ’s Summer Advancement Program, July 5-28.

This gives them an opportunity to earn college credit for two classesUniversity 101 (freshman orientation) and their choice of Introduction to Western Civilization, Introduction to Psychology, Pre-calculus Mathematics or Elementary Statistical Inference.

While students get acclimated to college life, they will live in Stalnaker Hall, the honors residence hall on the Downtown Campus; meet with mentors and tutors; and learn good study habits, said Keith Garbutt, director of the University Honors Program.

Young scientists flock to Governor’s School

Eighth- and ninth-graders, meanwhile, are sharpening their academic skills at the Governor’s School for Mathematics and Science, where they are working in research groups to plan a large sports complex.

Sessions are July 6-15 and July 17-29 at WVU . Students take classes in math, physics, biology, chemistry and engineering that will give them the tools they need to work together to produce their final project, said Garbutt, GSMS dean of students.

Besides classes and projects, participants will are enjoying recreational activities and field trips, including visits to PNC Park and SportsWorks in Pittsburgh .

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Summit helps students pursue a college education

From July 21-24, WVU will be the site for College Summit, a national program aimed at increasing the number of high school graduates who go on to college.

The summit, started in 1993, has been featured in President Bush’s Education Department Report on College Access Innovations. The program works off the premise that low-income students are able to succeed in college, but need extra help getting there.

For four days, area high school seniors will learn all the ins and outs of the college admissions process, including how to write an effective essay, apply for financial aid and scholarships, and select a school.

“At our workshops, students who otherwise may not have considered college as an option will gain the tools they need to pursue a college education and change their lives,”said Randy Shillingburg, director of development for College Summit West Virginia.”After attending our workshops this summer, these seniors will have the knowledge to help their classmates get to college, too.”

Only 46 percent of low-income high school students across the nation enroll in college or other postsecondary programs immediately after high school, compared to 82 percent of high-income students, he noted.

By comparison, 79 percent of the students across the nation who attend College Summit summer workshops have enrolled in college, and the college retention rate for these students is 80 percent.

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Conference features nationally renowned writers

The 2005 West Virginia Writers’Workshop, July 21-24, will get participants’creative juices flowing when it brings them face-to-face with some of their favorite writers.

This year’s faculty includes award-winning poets David Baker, Ann Townsend and Michael Waters; novelist Michael C. White; and WVU authors Gail Galloway Adams, Mark Brazaitis and Mary Ann Samyn.

Conference-goers will meet with fellow writers in a workshop setting, as well as individually with their workshop instructor. There will also be panel discussions on publishing; craft classes in fiction, poetry, nonfiction and translation; and evening readings open to the public.

Students who attend the conference will work three days with graduate students in WVU ’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, attend creative readings and participate in craft classes. They will participate in one-on-one tutorials as well.

A schedule is available online