PICNICS Program Engages High School Students In The Summer

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry hosted students from Fargo high schools during the summer as part of the PICNICS (Parents Involvement with Children, Nurturing Intellectual Curiosity in Science) program. The program aims to inform parents and their children about recent advancements in science and technology, and encourage ninth through 12th graders to consider science as a career path.

Four students participated in the 2011 summer program and were selected based on recommendations from their teachers. They were Tyler Ridl and Wei (Amy) Yu from Fargo South High School, and Kristina Rindy and Benjamin Court from Fargo North High School. They worked alongside graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and carried out research.

The PICNICS program was conducted in collaboration with Todd Bertsch, principal at Fargo South High School; Carol Beaton, advanced placement science teacher at Fargo South High School; Mark Blanshan, vice-principal at Fargo North High School and Terri Court Counselor, North Fargo High School.

Sivaguru Jayaraman, Mukund Sibi, Greg Cook and John Hershberger, all faculty from the chemistry and biochemistry department, hosted students in their research groups. At the end of the program, the students presented a poster on the research carried out at a reception hosted by the department and Center for Protease Research. Parents and friends of participating students, NDSU students and faculty, teachers and the principal of South High attended the poster session. Kevin McCaul, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, presented certificates of completion to students in recognition of their research contribution during the PICNICS summer program.

“Informing both parents and their children in organized settings regarding the importance of science and technology will help them make informed decisions toward science and math when considering college majors and career paths,” said Jayaraman, program director and associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. The PICNICS program was initiated with funding from the National Science Foundation CAREER Award to Jayaraman (CHE-0748525).

For more information regarding the PICNICS program, visit