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Jenks High Schoolers Choose Research Lab Over Lazy Summer

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"It's totally worth it, it's completely worth it to just be able to learn so much," Sophia Short said. "It's totally worth it, it's completely worth it to just be able to learn so much," Sophia Short said.
Athena Chatzigiannidis is looking at how a salt diet affects kidney function and blood pressure. Athena Chatzigiannidis is looking at how a salt diet affects kidney function and blood pressure.
Sacrificing a little bit of their summer will advance their careers. Sacrificing a little bit of their summer will advance their careers.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Some Jenks high schoolers are choosing to get back in the classroom on their summer vacation.

They've teamed up with OSU's Center for Health Sciences for forensic and bio-medical research.

They don't even get class credit for giving up their summer, but the program gives these high schoolers experience they normally wouldn't get until they were in college or even graduate school.

Sophia Short would rather hit the lab than the snooze button this summer.

"It's totally worth it, it's completely worth it to just be able to learn so much," Short said.

She is one of six Jenks High School students participating in a very competitive research program at OSU's Center for Health Sciences.

She's done lab tests in high school, but nothing compared to the exposure she's getting here.

"I like science, but in the future, I'm interested in going into a medical career, so it's good to have experience so young," Short said.

She said she's fascinated with the brain and is studying how it's involved in controlling body fluids.

Athena Chatzigiannidis is looking at how a salt diet affects kidney function and blood pressure.

"When an opportunity like this arose, I couldn't not take it," Chatzigiannidis said.

She wants to be a medical examiner or OBGYN and says the medical field is so competitive, you have to set yourself apart.

"I could be hanging out with friends or at the lake or doing things like that, but instead, I'm here in the lab and I'm getting this research that so many students can't say they had the opportunity to do," she said.

The research performed here is cutting-edge and has great health implications. Researchers say early exposure for students is key and they're impressed with how much the kids already know.

"They have the interest, and so seeing that interest really stimulated, seeing the lights come on, what you just saw today of 'that's so cool'--that's what it's all about," said Dr. Kathleen Curtis, Associate Professor of Physiology.

Sacrificing a little bit of their summer will advance their careers. Students put in 25 hours of research a week. The program is six weeks and ends July 26.

The students will be invited back next year to present their research to professors and medical students.

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