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School isn’t out for the summer for three bright high school students. They’ll spend their vacation being taught by erudite professors, including a few Nobel laureates.

"I like physics, and math is probably my strong point," said Shannon Grammel, a junior at Heidelberg American High School.

"It’s more than just numbers," she said of physics. "I like seeing what the numbers do and mean."

Grammel is one of three Department of Defense Dependents Schools students who have been chosen to participate in a six-week research program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Also selected were Husain Mogri, a junior at Bahrain American School, and Derrick Lewis, a junior at Ramstein High School.

"I was excited," Lewis said about being selected for the program.

"I’m able to go to MIT and see the world-renowned institution and meet other students who have similar passions to me."

Each year upward of 80 students are invited by the Research Science Institute to take part in the program.

Sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education in McLean, Va., the series annually draws about a thousand applications. Applicants must have completed three years of high school, or the equivalent, to be eligible.

About 50 of the students are from United States schools, including DODDS.

DODDS has sent 21 students to the program in the past.

"It’s been a great program because the DODDS students naturally bridge the differences in outlook and experience between our students who have never been outside the U.S. and the international students we invite to the program," said Cliff Bowman, program director.

The students attend college-level courses taught by professors and graduate students. With a mentor’s guidance, they also complete a research project.

Titles of previous student papers read like doctoral dissertations. One, for example, was "The Development of Multifunctional Nanoparticles for Simultaneous Fluorescence Imaging and Gene Delivery."

Many of the students go on to place well in the Intel Science Talent Search, a prestigious science research competition for high school seniors.

Grammel said she hoped to study mechanics and physics; Lewis said he was looking forward to learning more about number theory.

"It’s something I never studied before, and I’m hoping to get some original ideas," he said.

But are they nervous about matching wits with the talented scholars?

"Yea, I’m nervous," Grammel said. "But if I wasn’t going to do well, they wouldn’t have accepted me."

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