By Wendy Sarubbi | July 3, 2013 12:37 pm

About 40 high school students from Orange and Osceola counties will use microbiology to identify a crime suspect, discover how human muscles and organs work, and learn about career options in healthcare at a UCF College of Medicine summer science camp that begins July 8.

The camp is part of the medical school’s Health Leaders effort, a pipeline program designed to prepare students from medically underserved communities for careers in science and medicine.

This year’s camp is the second summer event led by Dr. Lisa Barkley, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion and an assistant professor of medicine at the UCF College of Medicine. She has brought together a team that also includes faculty members from the UCF Department of Education, research scientists from the medical school’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, and medical and undergraduate students.

“This is an exciting collaboration of people dedicated to getting the next generation of kids ready,” Dr. Barkley said.

During the first week, students will conduct experiments and science projects in labs on the main UCF campus. They will also receive training on preparing for college, improving their critical thinking skills, and get advice and mentoring from faculty in a variety of careers, including nursing and medical lab sciences. Students will also do individual research projects on a topic of interest and then present their findings to faculty members for judging.

During the week of July 15, students from 10 Osceola schools will tour UCF’s Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona and also visit medical and higher educational facilities in Osceola County and in Medical City.

The camp ends July 19 with an awards ceremony that will include students’ parents and high school teachers.

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