Preparing students for a successful education and career is something these eastern Cincinnati schools know how to do and do well. 

Summit Country Day School

The Summit Country Day School community and research mentors joined The Summit students as they presented their projects at the Science Research Institute Colloquium on Jan. 14, marking the completion of the Science Research Institute’s first year. 

“When we started the Science Research Institute, we set out to create a unique program that would be a best-in-city experience for students. Many of our recent graduates have entered top-tier college programs that will prepare them for careers as engineers, scientists, researchers and doctors. The Science Research Institute was the logical next step at The Summit,” says Rich Wilson, head of school at The Summit. 

In the college preparatory program, students seeking a degree and/or career in a scientific field build upon the existing rigorous curriculum of The Summit to increase scientific literacy and participate in authentic scientific research. 

During the first year, 16 students chose to either have a multi-week experience with scientists or pursue their own independent projects. 

“This program is designed to foster independent student research, and in its first year of operation has resulted in igniting in those students a passion for learning science,” says G. James Sammarco, a retired Cincinnati orthopedic surgeon who serves as chair of the Science Research Institute Roundtable advisory group. “That taught them to tap their own potential and succeed while providing useful information to the community.”

Some of the topics researched include MIRA variables in astronomy, the chemistry of dyes, lake and watershed ecology, oral health epidemiology, stochastic processes in physics, immunology, artificial intelligence, flesh fly phylogeny and neural feedback with electromyography.

In the end, four students chose to pursue independent projects under the guidance of teachers and 12 chose a multi-week experience. Students who participated in the multi-week experience worked with scientists at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Center, UC College of Medicine, Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University, Cincinnati Nature Center, Miami University and Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute in Rosman, NC.

There are also required classes in the program. Students take four sequential courses — Science Research I: Introduction to Scientific Thinking, Science Research II: Research Methods and Designs, Science Research III: Summer Laboratory Experience, and Science Research IV: Scientific Communications — that prepare them for the scientific world.

“These courses will make Summit students better prepared to take science classes in college, because we have increased their scientific literacy. They will be ahead of their peers in conducting research and writing in a scientific format. Because they will know the variety of research opportunities available to them, they will be able to hone in on what interests them. And because they will already know how to behave in a laboratory setting, they will be more experienced than their peers in the competition for undergraduate laboratory research positions,” says Jessica Replogle, head of the Science Research Institute. “In turn, experiences as an undergraduate will put them a step ahead in seeking research positions as graduate students and jobs in the real world.”

Ten students have enrolled in the Science Research Institute in the fall. 

Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy

Near Highpoint, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy has many different programs that give students a great experience. 

Walking through Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy’s Martha S. Linder High School, guests might be surprised to see a student-run coffee shop, but that’s not all the CHCA is cooking up for its students. 

It has many other programs that are giving students great experience in entrepreneurship, leadership and study. 

In CHCA Aquaponics programs, students learn how to grow their own food through a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. They can also partner with agencies and apply their knowledge to situations outside of the classroom. 

Another program allows students to chose an experience for a two-week period during either Winter-term or May-term. It’s an out-of-class learning requirement that’s called Intersession. Students can travel abroad to Spain and Australia or stay in the states and travel to Colorado and Alaska. Students that stay in Cincinnati help out at food banks or learn to cook. There are many options in this program to provide students with not only an educational experience, but also an enriching one. 

St. Ursula Villa

Located in Mt. Lookout, St. Ursula Villa’s 22-acre campus offers opportunities for students to engage with nature including participation in outdoor recreation and getting active. Students can use the campus to research trees and study hillside reforestation, but one of the coolest things happening at St. Ursula Villa is a lot smaller. 

Principal Polly Duplace says that last spring St. Ursula Villa Preschool students planted milkweed seeds to help increase Monarch butterfly habitat. 

By the end of the summer though, students of all ages will want to head back to school. 

St. Ursula Villa recently built a new Early Childhood addition to the Manor House, with older classrooms being reused and redone. The school is also building a new Junior High wing, which is expected to open in June. On top of these additions, Duplace says that the school will be under construction this summer to expand its educational spaces. 

“Every class benefits,” she says, adding that the larger classrooms will help group collaboration work.