The Junior Research Scientists (JRS), an outreach science program that engages Chicago’s urban high school students to be intrigued, aware of and develop skills related to astronomy and alternative energy technologies. Offered by the department of Science and Mathematics at Columbia College Chicago, in conjunction with After School Matters (ASM), high school students work with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) content experts and use Columbia College Chicago laboratories through the academic year and the summer. Chicago Public School students who are selected are invited to work as Basic Science Researchers within Columbia’s Laboratories.
The Junior Research Scientists helps increase participants competence in conducting scientific investigations and in communicating their findings to the scientific community as well as to the general public. Teens gain science and technology content knowledge and skills required to succeed in the 21st century STEM workforce.
Work done by participants of JRS, has been presented in Chicago Public School science fairs as well as national and international conferences.
In 2009, three students who participated in the 2008 summer program advanced to the Chicago citywide science fair and two advanced to the statewide fair.
In 2012 two students within the Alternative Energy track went on to win at the State competition.
In 2013 two students within the Alternative Energy track advanced to the State competition.
Participants in the Astronomy track were also invited to present their work at Chicago Adler Planetarium and at the ASM Annual Gala. At the Gala they meet and presented their projects to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore and former Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Teens that are interested in joining JRS, can sign up through After School Matters.