Skip to main content Skip to main content

Press Release

Peer pressure leads to fun at summer science scholar program

Posted: July 3, 2008

Overland High School senior BiTani Hailu, 17, used to be stressed and anxious in math class even though she earned good grades. But thanks to the Summer Science Scholars program at Metropolitan State College of Denver, now she’s multiplying her love of math and subtracting the stress.

Led by Math Professor Larry Johnson and Biology Professor Doug Petcoff, the program was developed more than six years ago primarily for junior and senior high school students. The two-week program demonstrates hands-on science and mathematics activities, aimed at helping students develop better reasoning skills in those areas. Twenty students from various high schools around the Denver metro area are participating this summer.

Improved knowledge in these areas will increase their chances of going into engineering and science fields where critical industry shortages will provide career opportunities in the near future. According to futurist Jay J. Jamrog, 43 percent of the U.S. civilian labor force will be eligible to retire in the next decade. This includes Baby Boomers who will be leaving major voids in specialized industries such as engineering. Part of the long-term solution to these industry shortages is to promote careers in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics.

For Johnson, working with the students is very important. “We’re on a mission to try to help students get into careers by getting college degrees.”

For the students, the experience has turned anxiety about math into excitement. “My grades were good, but I had to study more,” says Hailu, whose ultimate goal is to become a cardiac surgeon. “I participated last year because my friends were doing it and we were paid $20 a day. But I realized at the beginning of the semester last year how it helped to refresh my memory.”

She’s back at Metro State for a second year to participate in the program which ends Friday, July 18. The students are on campus 8:30-noon each day.

To learn more about the program contact Angelia McGowan at 303-501-0752.


Metro State is a fully accredited, four-year institution, serving more than 21,000 students. It has the second-largest undergraduate enrollment in Colorado and is one of the largest four-year public colleges in the nation. Metro State enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts 62,000 alumni, 90 percent of whom stay in Colorado after graduation. Visit Metro State at