Voelcker scholars win big in science competitions

Outstanding San Antonio area high school students who are members of the Voelcker Biomedical Research Academy at UT Health San Antonio excelled at two recent science competitions.

The academy was founded in 2009 through a gift from the Voelcker Fund. The goal is to encourage high school students to enter scientific, technological, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers to solve the health care research questions of the future. Students are selected in a competitive process and matched with UT Health San Antonio faculty mentors.

Two Voelcker scholars won grand prizes in the recent Alamo Regional Academy of Science and Engineering competition. They are:

  • Emily Garcia, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Fair III (Biological Sciences) behavorial, mentored by Jennifer Potter, Ph.D., M.P.H.;
  • Uma Srinivasen, Health Careers High School, Fair II (Health Sciences) biochemistry, mentored by Ratna Vadlamudi, Ph.D.

Four Voelcker scholars were winners in the Alamo Junior Academy of Science awards, held in February. They are:

  • Emily Garcia, Young Women’s Leadership Academy,  behavorial, mentored by Jennifer Potter, Ph.D., M.P.H.;
  • Janelle Arnold, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, biochemistry, mentored by Borries Demeler, Ph.D.;
  • Carla Carmona, NEISD STEM Academy, medicine and health, mentored by Alex Martinez/ Andrea Giuffrida, Ph.D.;
  • Beril Saygin, Keystone Upper School, biological sciences, mentored by Georgianna Gould, Ph.D.

“We are extremely proud of the continued success of our Voelcker scholars at these fairs,” said Irene C. Chapa, Ph.D., director of the Voelcker Biomedical Research Academy. “It is a testament to their strong work ethic and to the dedication of both the scholars and their mentors. The Voelcker Academy encourages participation at science fairs as we are strong proponents of developing the scholar’s abilities to communicate eloquently, both in scientific arenas and as advocates for science and science education within the community at large.”


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