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In their white lab coats, Madisen LeShoure and Rola Abudayeh throw around scientific terms such as “hydrophobic” and “micro goniometer” like real research pros.

Which they are, in fact, becoming through a program offered by the University of Illinois and funded by the National Science Foundation.

The two Champaign Central High School students are participating in the Young Scholars Program at the Grainger College of Engineering. Now in its third year, the program immerses 25 to 30 local high school students in a research project on campus for six weeks during the summer.


Six of them, including LeShoure and Abudayeh, get to continue that research during the school year, working two hours a week with UI scientists. They will also participate in the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington, D.C., in February, presenting their results alongside college students from across the nation.