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ASMS Student Attended CEE / MIT Summer Research Science Institute

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ASMS senior Gregory Li was 1 of 84 students from 16 countries who convened virtually for a prestigious six-week summer academic research program. The Center for Excellence in Education (CEE) welcomed these top achieving U.S. high school and international scholars to the 37th annual Research Science Institute (RSI), jointly sponsored with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). RSI is an intensive, six-week program that gives students the opportunity to conduct original, cutting-edge science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research. Due to COVID-19, RSI 2020 was held virtually from June 21-August 1.

RSI offers top academic math and science students the opportunity to experience graduate-level research and camaraderie with other talented STEM scholars. From attending lectures and enjoying virtual community-building events, to working on his final research project with his mentor, Li described the program as “the most fulfilling and uplifting six weeks of all.”

Li also considers the program to be highly rigorous. “RSI requires coordination, concentration, and collaboration on demanding problems in a short period of time,” says Li.

The RSI annual summer program consists of one week of theoretical classroom work, followed by four-and-a-half weeks of advanced research under the mentorship of leading scientists, engineers, and researchers in the students’ respective areas of interest. In their final week, students demonstrate their research work through written academic papers and oral presentations to their peers and a panel of experts.

He expressed, “The program was a wonderful opportunity to not only have another chance to contribute to my area of interest, but also interacting with many more genuine, motivated peers who share interests in STEM. I had the opportunity to collaborate in a research internship on a project in graph theory relating to quantum logic. The lectures and internship have certainly helped me further develop my approach to answering questions in mathematics as well as my perspective on the fronts of scientific research.”

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Of particular significance to Li were the RSI lectures. He noted that advanced information is not always readily available or well-packaged as a resource for young scholars. The lectures offered the opportunity to learn about higher level topics directly from the experts themselves and to hear perspectives they developed from their work and research. RSI scholars also learn about the careers, achievements and challenges of STEM. RSI’s 2020 guest lecturers include:

Jeremy Wolfe, PhD, Department of Neurology, Harvard University Medical School

Tom Leighton, PhD, Co-Founder and CEO, Akamai Technologies

Wolfgang Ketterle, PhD, Noble Laureate, Physics, MIT

Dr. Amy Sillman, an RSI ’84 alum, is leading the Institute this summer.

The major component of the program consists of 4.5 weeks of research project mentorship and development. Li’s mentor was part of the MIT mathematics department, and Li’s project dealt with a graph-theoretic approach to quantum logic. The end result was a 15-page paper and a final presentation which Li gave in front of his RSI peers and facilitators.

RSI is offered cost-free by CEE to competitively selected top-achieving students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students are selected by CEE’s committee of professional educators and RSI alumni.

Although Li participated in the program virtually due to COVID-19, he expressed, “Despite the necessity to transition to virtual platforms, the program persisted in its tradition of providing a fun and eye-opening experience rooted in scientific progress -- the fruits of creativity, curiosity, and most importantly, persistence”

“We are so pleased to make innovative use of technology to deliver this,” said Joann P. DiGennaro, CEE President.

RSI has 2,900 successful alumni with a STEM career retention rate of 80 percent. Click here to see the complete list of U.S. student participants for 2020.


About the Center for Excellence in Education

The Center for Excellence in Education was founded in 1983 by the late Admiral H.G. Rickover and Joann P. DiGennaro, President of the Center. The Center's mission is to nurture high school and university scholars to careers of excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to encourage collaboration between and among leaders in the global community. CEE’s programs include the Research Science Institute (RSI), the USA Biolympiad (USABO), and the Teacher Enrichment Program (TEP).

  • Sep 30, 2020