Campus Life

High school students flourish from Project SEED

Science is important, and so are students. That is why the University of West Florida provides Project SEED to help high school students gain extraordinary experience with science gurus. Three students are selected each summer to participate in the Project SEED program. Each person selected works one-on-one with veterans in the field of science.

“Many students with great potential are unable to go to college,” said Pamela Vaughan, assistant professor of Chemistry. “While there may be many obstacles preventing them from going, quite often the most common reason is financial resources. The great thing about the Project SEED program is that students are paid to do research and then are eligible for college scholarships.”

Each student who is accepted into the program is given a project to work on for the duration of the summer. Each project is pre-approved by American Chemical Society. At the conclusion of the summer, the student is required to write a two-page summary on their research. They also put together a table poster that will be displayed at a department-wide barbecue at the end of the summer.

“Although participants are limited to working on a project that is chemistry-related, there are many options available,” said Vaughan. “We currently have two students working on campus and one student investigating corrosion chemistry with Gulf Power this summer.”

Forty years ago ACS started the program called Project Seed. UWF is one of numerous universities around the nation currently participating in the program. UWF finds sponsors who provide some financial support for the high school students. ACS matches the donations of sponsors once all funding has been received. The money is then used to facilitate student learning and provide stipends.

“The Project SEED program has helped encourage me to continue looking into a variety of different sciences and has given me experience working in a laboratory setting,” said Tamara Ebert after completing her first summer with Project SEED. “It has eased my mind about majoring in a science field that many people said was very difficult. It showed me that with some work and help from fellow lab workers such things may not be that hard, but rather fun.”

Students can return for a second summer in the Project SEED program, and once they have completed their research, students are eligible to apply for college scholarships from ACS.

For more information about Project SEED at UWF, visit To learn more about Project SEED on a national level, visit

Written by Josh Lyons, University Marketing Communications