(Photo, below) L-R, top row down: Rushikesh Joshi, Lang Qin, Mandar Kathe, Pinak Mohapatra, Garrett Nerone ’21, David Breckenridge, Sonu Kumar, L.-S. Fan, Noah Kistler ’22, Anish Gupta ’22, Wenda Williamson and Anuj Joshi during the final Zoom meeting of the Fan Lab’s summer mentoring program.
Click HERE to view a story written by Dr. Fan’s on The Ohio State University’s website.
Despite ongoing state COVID-19 safety protocols, the ninth year of the renowned St. Charles Summer Internship Program still took place—although configured a bit differently and on a smaller scale from years past. Thanks to the efforts of a number of Ohio State University staff and faculty, several of our students were still able to get to spend significant time honing their research skills and receiving invaluable experience over the summer break.
Earlier in the year, many of the professors who had participated in the internship program during previous years agreed to continue their work with our students. A few new ones even came onboard. But then the pandemic hit and the future of 2020’s program looked in serious doubt. Ohio State, like all other universities, shut down all classroom learning. Not only were its classrooms closed, but the professors also couldn’t even get into the buildings that housed their offices, let alone their labs.
“However, one of the things that we learned during the pandemic is that educational creativity often inspires new approaches to learning,” said David Breckenridge, St. Charles’s Research and Military Liaison who initiated and coordinates the program.
Professor L.-S. Fan of The Ohio State University College of Engineering, provided a group of high school students with a chemical engineering research experience in his lab online via Zoom.
“Despite our circumstances this summer, I felt it was still important to proceed with the class in order to provide students with an experience that promotes critical and creative thinking in the field of chemical engineering,” Fan explained.
St. Charles Preparatory School students who took part included Garrett Nerone ’21 (St. Brigid of Kildare School, St. Brigid of Kildare Parish), Anish Gupta ’22 (Phoenix Middle School) and Noah Kistler ’22 (St. Paul School, St. Paul Parish).
The seven weekly sessions provided a robust introduction to chemical engineering and current research in chemical looping, with interactive sessions to gauge the students’ interests and bring out maximum value. “It was very interesting to learn what chemical engineers do,” said Noah. “I liked seeing how stuff in school is applied in the real world.” All the students agreed on that point. “It wasn’t just a test. It applied to the real world,” Anish said.
David Breckenridge, St Charles’ college liaison, coordinated the sessions. “Chemical engineering is clearly beyond the norm for a high school student. The internship helps them get familiar with things they will encounter in college,” he said.