Pennsylvania High School Students Conduct Chocolate Research at Penn State
group of low-income, first generation high school students in
Pennsylvania have finished a six-week summer research project at Penn State University.
students were participants in the university's College of Agricultural
Sciences Summer Experience (CASSE) program, which took place over six
weeks in June and July. The high school students worked under the
supervision of graduate researchers in the college's Department of Food
Science. Together, they studied how to make a healthier chocolate bar
by increasing the level of flavanols in chocolate they produced in the
college's dry pilot plant and chemistry teaching lab.
healthier chocolate development project was just one of the research
projects conducted as part of the CASSE program. Other students in the
program participated in research projects such as one about rapid
vaccine development and another about detection and sequencing of a
This is the fourth year in a row that the college
has run the CASSE program, which is organized by its college's Office
of Multicultural Affairs in partnership with Penn State's Upward Bound Math and Science,
a federally funded program serving low-income, first generation high
school students who have a strong interest in pursuing college studies
in science or math. Participants live on campus in dorms while gaining
hands-on experience in agricultural science.
Other Penn State
colleges also offer summer research experience programs for high school
students. "This is my third year in the program," said Afrah
Mohamednur, a senior at Sci Tech High School in Harrisburg, in a Penn
State news report. "I've been in Summer Experience in Earth and Mineral
Sciences and Summer Experience in the Eberly College of Science, and
this is my first year in CASSE. The agriculture field is interesting to
me, as well as food science."
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].