For six weeks this summer, three Wesleyan high school students put aside any thoughts of summer relaxation to take advantage of an opportunity to work with seasoned researchers at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering through the Draelos Scholars Program. Established by Drs. Michael and Zoe Draelos of High Point, The Draelos Scholars Program is an intensive university-level experience designed to give students from across the Triad a hands-on experience in the world of research while still in high school.
Today, their dream is alive and well. Last spring, Wesleyan rising seniors, Keaton Fuller, Samuel Huneycutt and Spencer Twiddy were selected as Draelos Scholars. In July, they began their work under the guidance of mentor university researchers and by mid-August were presenting their key findings before an audience of university deans, doctoral candidates, researchers and their proud families during a traditional “White Coat Ceremony.”
Mark Twiddy, Spencer’s dad shared, “This opportunity was first rate. Not only was he able to work in a state-of-the-art facility, with extremely advanced high-tech scientific equipment, the ability to collaborate with doctoral candidates and scientists is truly exceptional for a high school student.
Spencer and Samuel studied Boron Nitride Nanotubes Purification with Dr. Jeffrey Alston and plan on publishing their research findings along with Dr. Alston this fall. Meanwhile, Keaton worked alongside doctoral student Kyle Nowlin on observations involving Epoxy.
According to Molly Huneycutt, Samuel’s mother, “I feel indebted to Drs. Draelos for giving this outstanding opportunity to my son, along with Dr. Alston, the professor who served as Sam’s mentor. Samuel thoroughly enjoyed this learning experience, and I truly believe that it will help to steer him as he narrows down his choices … following high school graduation this coming spring.”
We are ever grateful for Drs. Draelos, former Wesleyan parents and wonderful supporters of our school, for stepping forward in 2016 to make this program available to Wesleyan students. Thanks too, to staff members like High School Principal, Tim Rickman, and College Counselor, Michelle Ledbetter, for assisting our students in connecting with programs like this one. Keep up the great work Team Wesleyan!