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An Even Broader Reach
by Jim Keeley
Built by a Princeton University professor in 1912, Highseas mansion is a short walk from The Jackson Laboratory and temporary home for students in the lab's Summer Student Program.
The Jackson Lab's summer program is serving more high school and college students than ever.
Lynn Riddiford credits Seventeen magazine—and The Jackson Laboratory—for launching her career in science. The then-16-year-old found an article about the summer research program at the venerable institution in Bar Harbor, Maine, tucked amid pages of 1950s fashion layouts and dating advice. Intrigued, she wrote to the laboratory, requested an application, and set about convincing her parents to let her spend her summer 1,500 miles away from the family farm in Illinois.
"It would have been the first year that I could have worked in the summer and it was going to cost them $15 a week," Riddiford remembers. Her parents agreed to let her go, and her experiences at The Jackson Lab sparked a lifelong love of science. Riddiford, recently appointed a senior fellow at the Janelia Farm Research Campus after 34 years on the faculty at the University of Washington, studies the hormonal control of insect growth, molting, and metamorphosis.
Since 1929, The Jackson Lab, known for its genetics research, has nurtured the scientific imaginations of thousands of students—many of whom have made names for themselves in the world of science.
Earlier this year, The Jackson Lab was one of 20 research institutions that received HHMI grants to reach out to their local communities to stimulate interest in science, particularly among young students. The Jax, as scientists worldwide call it, received $749,000 from HHMI, which will be distributed over five years. Some of that money will support the Summer Student Program for high school and undergraduate students, where students come from around the country to conduct original research as part of a team.
According to Jon R. Geiger, who directs the Summer Student Program, HHMI's investment in the program has already paid handsome dividends, attracting more women and minority students to the program each year. Since 2003—the year the lab began receiving HHMI support for the program—the program has enrolled about 72 percent women and 29 percent minority students annually.
Photo: Jim Keeley