High school students converge on URI for SMILE Challenge Weekend, April 1-2

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Student teams work on challenging biotech laboratory activities

WHO: 80 high school students from the SMILE program (Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences) from Central Falls, Coventry, North Kingstown, Pawtucket, South Kingstown, West Warwick and Woonsocket, along with 15 mentors from Amgen and more than 20 URI student mentors.

WHAT: Challenge Weekend provides students with opportunities to work together in diverse teams to address challenging scientific problems. This year, SMILE students will work on a biotechnology engineering challenge centered around chlorophyll, which will require them to isolate, collect and purify chlorophyll from plant material and analyze the samples using high pressure liquid chromatography. With guidance from Amgen and URI mentors, the students will use the same high-tech equipment and techniques used in professional laboratories.

WHEN: Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2. The lab activities will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Friday.

WHERE: The Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences, 120 Flagg Rd., on the URI Kingston campus. Students will be in several labs on the second floor on Friday.

CONTACT: For additional information, contact Todd McLeish in the URI Department of Communications and Marketing at 401-874-2116, or call SMILE coordinators Carol Englander at 374-1239 or Lacey Feeley at 632-7711.