Teen researchers showcase projects at Mentorship Symposium

A recent Brock University event has shown the innovative research that can come from mixing bright young minds with a little bit of guidance from dedicated and knowledgeable mentors.

During the recent 2019 Mentorship Symposium, local high school students shared the findings of projects they worked on alongside Brock faculty members, touching on topics such as rock formations on Mars, computer programs that analyze Amazon reviews and plants that help in the fight against cancer.

The event capped off the 24th year of the Brock Mentorship Program, run through the Faculty of Math and Science, which has helped more than 500 students prepare for post-secondary studies since its inception.

In addition to faculty members from Math and Science, students were paired with academics from the Faculties of Applied Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities and the Goodman School of Business to explore topics in their areas of interest.

Each year, Grade 12 students from the Niagara region are nominated and encouraged by a teacher or staff member from their school to participate in the Mentorship Program. Students begin initial talks with their mentors on their projects as early as May.

Fittingly, 24 students from both the District School Board of Niagara and Niagara Catholic District School Board participated this year.

These students gathered at Brock Saturday, Feb. 9 to present their findings at the 2019 Mentorship Symposium.

Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon opened up the day by welcoming visitors and thanking Brock faculty and staff for their commitment to helping guide the budding researchers through their endeavours. He also offered his congratulations to the students for their accomplishments and completion of the program.

Ishan Herath said the mentorship experience has had a positive impact on his life.

“I really enjoyed my time in the program,” said the Grade 12 Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School student, who conducted his research with Brock’s Department of Biology. “I learned how to work in a professional research environment and developed skills that I wouldn’t have been able to in a high school setting.”

Giya Joseph, of Denis Morris Catholic Secondary School, said she was appreciative of the guidance she received from her time with the Department of Earth Sciences.

“It was a great experience for me,” she said. “I was able to learn new research methods and now have a better understanding of what I can expect in university.”

For their efforts, each student in the program is offered a scholarship should they decide to come to Brock.

“We hope that students get the most out of this experience and that this program motivates them to further their studies in a field they are passionate about,” said Heather Bellisario, Academic Advisor, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, and Mentorship Program Co-ordinator.


Applications for the 2019-20 Mentorship Program are now welcome and will be received until Friday, March 8. More information on the application process and abstracts from this year’s presentations can be found on the Mentorship Program web page.

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