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Three Santa Maria High School students are away from home this summer participating in research mentorships at UC Santa Barbara.

The young scholars are taking part in the Research Mentorship Program (RMP) for six weeks with high-achieving high school students from all over the world in interdisciplinary, hands-on, university-level research. The students are paired up with a mentor (graduate students, postdoc, or faculty).

The trio, Esmeralda Cruz, Justin Suarez and Carla Mendoza, received $10,000 scholarships.

Cruz is focusing on social and cultural psychology with a project entitled “Cultural Differences in Creativity”, while Suarez is exploring geography, environmental science and statistics for a project called “Using Social Preferences to Inform Coastal Management”. Mendoza is into global studies and a project dealing with “Politics of Nationalism and Identity in the Modern Ukraine”.
Santa Maria Joint Union High School District/ UC Santa Barbara Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) College Site Coordinator Juan A. Gallardo said the program will improve the futures of these Saints.

“This is an exceptional program that will not only help our students experience college research, but make our students more
competitive when it comes time to apply for universities in the fall,’’ Gallardo said. “Next year, we hope to get more students involved.’’

In addition to gaining a working relationship with their mentors, the students are learning research techniques, discovering insights into professional research-based opportunities and maturing their academic goals, according to Gallardo.

The EAOP position is part of SMJUHSD’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).

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