Charleston-area high school students who are part of the College of Charleston’s Upward Bound program are getting a unique opportunity to be involved in marine research as part of an innovative partnership with the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program at the College.

High school students are teamed up with an undergraduate researcher to create Prezi presentations that will be used to explain the research and capture the interest of high school audiences. The Upward Bound high school students will be working with the undergraduates at the Fort Johnson Marine Complex on Monday, June 20, 2011 from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m.

The 2011 Fort Johnson REU Program is centered on the theme: “Marine Organism Health: Resilience and Response to Environmental Change.” The 10-week internship combines independent research with activities to promote career development and communication skills. Students are paired with a faculty mentor to conduct their research. A formal oral presentation, a written research paper, and several educational outreach tools are developed as a result of the fellowship.

Student projects for 2011 include looking at the impacts of pollution on development and reproduction in alligators, the impacts of low oxygen and toxic algae on muscle activity in shrimp, preserving an endangered fish species: the robust redhorse, and the effects of oil spills on marsh grass. This year, College of Charleston professors Eric McElroy, Bob Podolsky, Craig Plante, and Lou and Karen Burnett will be mentoring REU fellows.

Up to 10 fellowships are awarded each year through the cooperative efforts of the marine laboratories at Fort Johnson and supported by funds from the National Science Foundation and the College of Charleston School of Sciences and Mathematics.  Since its inception in 1992, over 140 students from 41 states and Puerto Rico have participated in this unique program.

The Upward Bound Program, sponsored by the College of Charleston since 1975, is a college preparatory program designed to generate in its participants the skills and motivation necessary for success in education beyond high school. The Upward Bound Program provides special academic, cultural, and mentoring opportunities for a limited number of first-generation high school students who have demonstrated the potential and interest to succeed in post-secondary education.

The students are working with Joey Pieta-van Arnhem of the College of Charleston Libraries to produce their Prezi presentations.

For more information about the REU program, contact Karen Burnett at or 843.725.4826.

For more information about the Upward Bound program, contact Leroy Lewis at or 843.953.5469.