Juan Carlos Garcia Experiences the Summer Science Program
Juan Carlos participated in the five-week Summer Science Program at New Mexico Tech which focuses on astronomy.   He gave an energy-filled account of his experience and the unforgetable impact that it has had on his life.  The Summer Science Program is a five-week intensive educational experience for approximately 100 students from around the country who are chosen because of their academic success and their commitment to science.  Healdsburg High School has had 3 participants in the program over the past 5 years and the Rotary Club of Healdsburg Sunrise has proudly supported those students with scholarships that of-set some of the program's expenses. 
The rigorous schedule was described as students were divided into teams of 3 or 4 and had 6 hours of lectures daily, 6/7 days a week.  In addition, they had homework projects to complete and then share with their classmates.  Some of the highlights included 3 hour sessions, 3 or 4 nights a week at the observatory.  Juan Carlos spoke enthusiastically of the hands-on nature of those sessions.  He experimented with writing programs tracing asteroid paths and even had one program published with MIT. 
Not only did the program inspire a greater level of academic commitment, but it also served as a springboard for developing close personal friendships. In addition to their studies and projects, students found ways to unwind.  They put on a talent show toward the end of their program and along the way participated in some pranks aimed at their instructors and teaching assistants.
Following the program, there has been extensive communication with participants as well as teaching assistants.  Team members from the Bay Area have gotten together and continue to keep the spirit of all they experienced alive growing. 
Juan Carlos is particularly grateful to the guidance that he has received from Mike Ephram , his math and computer science teacher at Healdsburg High School. Mike was inspirational not only in bringing out the talents of Juan Carlos, but also in encouraging him to apply for the program in the first place.
Juan Carlos has returned full of increased motivation, and energy that will enhance his skills in mathematics and astronomy with the goal of joining the space program and its dedication to exploration of Mars. From his presentation, we are all sure that he will succeed!