Scholar Spotlight: Jose Alcala and Blake Pope

Uplift Summit scholars obtain summer internship at University of Texas at Arlington for the Miles Foundation.

While some scholars may spend their summer vacation at camps or traveling, sophomore Blake Pope and junior Jose Alcala will continue their learning by analyzing the genome of lizards. Their research findings have the potential to  impact funds Texas Parks and Wildlife has been using to protect a particular species of lizard.

“If we find there is enough connection between these different populations, we can tell Texas Parks and Wildlife that the funding will help repopulate the species. ” explained Pope, “but if we find its too distant then we can cut off funding for this species of lizards.”

Scholars Alcala and Pope never thought during their high school career they would be working alongside college students and graduate students but the opportunity arose as a result of the science fair.DSC_0018

The Miles Foundation provides high school science fair winners with the opportunity to take part in a summer research internship.

Pope worked tirelessly on his science fair project advancing from district to Science Fair Regional in Tarrant County. Blake focused his research on the characteristics of lizards and analyzed data to conclude what was the dominate lizard for the area.

DSC_0014Alcala focused his project on a solar tracking system for two types of solar panels. The junior wanted to optimize solar energy for residential use while also being cost efficient.

“The impacts we have had with previous science fair experiments was very limited because we haven’t had the lab equipment or the lab space to make an impact as large as this one,” said Alcala.

Pope will head to West, Texas for three weeks to capture the specimens.  Alcala will start learning to use the tools in the lab during those three weeks.

“They have both been a pleasure to have as pupils and now we can watch them progress in their maturation as scientists,” said Brandon Pope, Middle Years Programme Biology, AP Biology and AP Environmental Science teacher at Uplift Summit.

Pope and Alcala are looking forward to an exciting summer. The scholars also plan to use the experience to prepare for the science fair next school year..

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