Amy Kingston works in the lab during the internship program. (photo courtesy of the Chinook’s Edge School Division)

Amy Kingston works in the lab during the internship program. (photo courtesy of the Chinook’s Edge School Division)

Sylvan Lake student participates in unique U of A science internship

Amy Kingston was one of 43 students who got to participate in the summer internship program

An École HJ Cody High School student has returned to Sylvan Lake with a wealth of experience after a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Amy Kingston recently participated in the Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST) summer internship program at the University of Alberta.

The WISEST program is a six-week paid research internship for female and gender diverse high school students.

For the program, there were only 43 spots and securing one took a long process, Kingston said.

“To earn one of the spots in the program you needed to have an 85 per cent or higher grade average, answer around ten 250-word questions, and write a 750-word essay. Then after the first vetting, there was a virtual interview stage.”

During the summer internship, Kingston was placed in the geo-biology lab in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. There she worked in we labs executive a variety of experiments.

“I learned a lot of hard skills being placed in a wet lab, like proper safety procedures and skills needed to execute experiments.”

Those weren’t the only skills learned, she added.

“I also developed my scientific writing and reading skills through annotating and reading research papers and making my own research poster.”

Having the opportunity to discover how scientists figure out what they do was amazing, Kingston said.

“I got to meet so many amazing students and professors, from one who studied ancient DNA preserved in the Yukon permafrost to a club that has developed and launched satellites from the international space station.”

Being a part of the community that had developed among the students was the best part of the experience though, she said.

“Everyone is so kind and just as enthusiastic about science as me. I had so much fun making friends and learning alongside some of the smartest students I have ever met.”

The program also gave Kingston a confidence boost to take with her into the 2023-24 school year at HJ Cody.

“This year at school I have gained valuable confidence in myself. I did a lot of public speaking and networking that helped me come out of my shell. I believe that will be very valuable for connecting with my instructors and fellow classmates.”

Staff at HJ Cody are proud of Kingston and all she’s accomplished.

“It’s amazing to see her excitement for her future and make career connections that are meaningful. We can see great things in Amy’s future and we are so pleased for her,” Principal Alex Lambert said.

Kingston has plans to apply to become a student in the Bachelor of Science program at the University of Alberta later this fall.



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