VOISE students interning at Field Museum

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Instead of paid work, some Chicago teens found internships and other experiences in the hopes that the nontraditional projects benefit them in the long run, the Chicago Sun-Times reports in its Aug. 28 editions.

Austin resident Amber Richardson, 17, spent her summer at the Field Museum attempting to identify a new species of Samoan fish.

“Rather than working at a restaurant or a store, I’d rather be doing something valuable and learning something new,” Richardson, a senior at VOISE Academy, told Sun-Times reporter Ariel Cheung.

Richardson and fellow VOISE senior Darcae Holmes, also 17, are working with the museum to verify the tropical fish is a new species through data and DNA comparison

“It was something I was thinking about going into, but now I’m sure it’s what I want to do,” said Holmes, an Oak Park resident who plans to study marine biology at Hawaii Pacific University. “I love doing our DNA work, looking at the fish. There are so many things we have yet to discover in the ocean.”

If the Samoan fish, discovered by Field Museum research scientist Josh Drew, does prove to be a new species, the two students will have the rare opportunity to co-author a study before they graduate from high school.

“Most high school students have not done primary research at all, and most of the time, they don’t get the opportunity to actually publish that research,” Drew said. “They’re doing the same sorts of things professional scientists are doing, and that’s really going to help them when they apply for college.”

Both students got to travel to Washington, D.C., this summer as part of their internships.

To read the rest of the Sun-Times story, click here.

And to read a story Richardson published earlier this year on AustinTalks, click here. Here’s an editorial she published.

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