Imagine taking part in a scientific research study intent on developing a nanostructure that could provide all-in-one detection, diagnosis and drug delivery treatment of cancer cells; on devising an environment friendly, portable sensor that could measure manganese and lead levels in the human body; or on experimenting with a practical application of a printable thermoelectric energy system.

Imagine discussing your findings with working scientists in a real-world Cincinnati laboratory. Imagine being an author or co-author of a scientific, peer-reviewed journal article. Imagine earning a full U.S. Patent.

Imagine doing all this before graduating from high school.

You can at the Science Research Institute at The Summit Country Day School, a college preparatory program designed for students who plan to seek degrees and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Building on a strong foundation in the sciences through the Middle and Upper School curriculum, the program’s goal is to increase scientific literacy and allow for participation in authentic scientific research.

Unique in Cincinnati, the Science Research Institute is headed by Jessica Sakash Replogle, Ph.D., who received her doctorate in biochemistry from Boston College and bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from University of New Hampshire. She has been published in numerous professional, scientific journals from her work at Boston College and Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Most recently, Dr. Replogle has taught chemistry, biology and biochemistry at both the university and high school level. Through three sequentially tiered classes and an authentic scientific research experience, the Science Research Institute gives motivated students a head-start on college-level scientific research and writing. Dr. Replogle connects students with mentors in Cincinnati’s scientific community who provide authentic laboratory research experiences.

We offer acceptance into the highly competitive program to qualified applicants based on high school academic and leadership accomplishments. Applications are evaluated holistically taking into account good character, motivation, scientific pursuits outside the classroom, academic performance, work ethic and emotional intelligence. We do not necessarily admit applicants with the longest resume or highest test scores. Up to a maximum of 14 students can be accepted.

Science Research I: Introduction to Scientific Thinking is a seminar-style class which focuses on increasing scientific literacy. The course gives students in-depth understanding about the scientific method, the component parts of a peer-reviewed journal article, how to read and constructively critique scientific writing, ethical behavior in science and the broad scope of scientific disciplines and research areas that could be available to them in college and in careers. The course helps students make the connection between the research that goes on in a real-world laboratory and what they see in textbooks.

Science Research II: Research Methods and Designs is a seminar-style class which prepares students to work in a research lab. With the help of Dr. Replogle, students will find a mentor from the greater Cincinnati area’s scientific community and secure a position in their mentor’s research laboratory for the following summer. Students will review and present articles written by their mentor to prepare them for summer work in the research laboratory. Guided by their instructor and mentor, they learn how to write a research proposal on a topic of interest. The course also develops a deep understanding of what students need to know before they walk into a laboratory environment: how to keep a lab notebook, safety issues, use of the specific types of laboratory equipment they will encounter, what to wear and how to communicate professionally in group meetings. This course develops an understanding of the research process and communications skills relevant to scientific research.

Science Research III: Summer Laboratory Experience places students in an authentic research laboratory in Cincinnati for a minimum of four weeks. Working with their professional mentor on a specific research project, students will take part in laboratory experiments which will develop technical and analytical skills specific to their area of interest, keep scientific notebooks and develop communication skills relevant to scientific research.

Science Research IV: Scientific Communications Upon conclusion of their laboratory experience, the students will write their results in a scientific, peer-reviewed journal format. They will create a poster presentation of their results as well as a PowerPoint presentation that they will use for an oral presentation that will be shared with their peers and the Summit community. The written paper, poster and oral presentation will prepare a student to submit their work to local and national competitions. However, interest in participating in a competition must be acknowledged early in the series of Science Research Institute courses since mentors will need prior knowledge of this goal and paperwork may need to be filed in advance.

"These courses will make Summit students better prepared to take science classes in college, because we have increased their scientific literacy,” says Dr. Replogle. “They will be ahead of their peers in conducting research and writing in a scientific format. Because they will know the variety of research opportunities available to them, they will be able to hone in on what interests them. And because they will already know how to behave in a laboratory setting, they will be more experienced than their peers in the competition for undergraduate laboratory research positions. In turn, experiences as an undergraduate will put them a step ahead in seeking research positions as graduate students and jobs in the real world.”

The Science Research Institute is actively seeking mentors in research laboratories at area hospitals, universities, government, industries and other research facilities. Potential mentors should contact: Jessica Sakash Replogle, Ph.D.