The Aspirnaut™ Program is proud to announce that Jaia Barrett, a junior at Grundy County High School, participated in the 2014 High School Summer Research Internship Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center from June 1 to July 12. Students were chosen based on a strong interest in and aptitude for science and math, high academic achievement, and teacher recommendations.
The program provided high school students the opportunity to work in biomedical research laboratories while living on Vanderbilt’s campus. Jaia worked with Dr. Jeff Conn on a project entitled “The Interaction of a Muscarinic Acetylocholine Receptor M4 and Beta Arrestin After Positive Allosteric Modulator Exposure.” She presented her work to Vanderbilt research faculty and staff on Friday, July 11. Barrett also participated in luncheons with distinguished professors, ACT prep, individual career planning, lab meetings, and social activities.
Executive director of the program, Julie Hudson, M.D., stated: “The summer program is transformative for high school students who aspire to pursue a career in biomedical sciences. They join a world-class scientific team and conduct their own research project. High school students rise to the challenge each summer, greatly increasing their fund of knowledge, and learning how amazing it is to discover something that no one else has ever seen or known.”
Jaia is the daughter of Shawn and Tammy Barrett of Skymont.
The Aspirnaut™ Program is a K-20 STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) pipeline for diversity and partnership between Vanderbilt University Medical Center rural K-12 schools and diverse undergraduate and graduate students. The goal is to increase STEM achievement and the numbers and diversity of students entering the STEM workforce. Billy Hudson, Ph.D., a professor of Medicine, Biochemistry, Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt University, along with his wife, Julie Hudson, M.D., Assistant Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, direct the program. The summer program is held on Vanderbilt University’s beautiful and historic campus, near downtown Nashville. The participants resided in campus housing during their internship, and interns received salary, room, and board for their work.