For two weeks in late June and early July Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum hosted high-school students from around the world who come to the University of Michigan each summer to participate in the Michigan Math & Science Scholars (MMSS) program. (Scroll down for a photo gallery.)

The program offers a pre-college experience at the University of Michigan and introduces high school students to current developments and research in the sciences. The program is open to any high school rising sophomore, junior or, senior from around the world. Three 2-week sessions are offered, and students may attend one, two or all three sessions.

Matthaei-Nichols Associate Curator Dr. David Michener taught his section, “Life, Death & Change: Landscapes & Human Impact,” taking the students through the arboretum and Matthaei Botanical Gardens to learn about topics such as floral diversity, seed dispersal, transpiration in trees, and scientific thinking with maps, among other topics. Matthaei-Nichols Nature Academy student interns Brooke Callaghan and Nick Maternowski assisted David with the classes. Ten women and six men—freshman, sophomores, and juniors—came from six states and three countries to participate.

What stands out for David this year “is the broad interest students have in integrating environmental issues in their college trajectory, whatever major they may select. That is a real change.” He adds that this year “three students told me directly that this class is making them think differently, and that plants are relevant to their future and life, not just college major.”

The primary goal of MMSS is to encourage the next generation of researchers to develop and retain a love of mathematics and science. Read more about the MMSS program here.

David Michener

Dr. David C. Michener, associate curator, Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum.

David Michener

Matthaei-Nichols Nature Academy student intern Brooke Callaghan.

Nick Maternowski,

Matthaei-Nichols Nature Academy student intern Nick Maternowski.