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Young Talents for Science in Brazil
Personal and academic effects

Mônica Dahmouche  

With goals ranging from encouraging young people to think scientifically to awakening scientific vocation, the Young Talents for Science project was one of the pioneering efforts in scientific initiation for high school students in Brazil. The project provides scientific initiation fellowships to students of 15-18 years of age, who become trainees in academic research laboratories, taking an active role in science. The project covers 47 research institutions, with over 400 active researchers-tutors, in 53 municipalities in the state of Rio de Janeiro. In order to assess the opinion of participating students about the influence of the project in their personal life, as well as in their academic and career choices, questionnaires were sent, beginning in March 2014, to students, who have been enrolled in the project from 2009 to 2013 (5 years). It was observed that participation in the project contributed positively to the students' development of personal skills, such as responsibility (according to 75.5% of respondents), maturity (65.18% of respondents), interpersonal relationship (60.74%), discipline (60%) and organization (52.60%). The project also contributed to academic factors, such as knowledge (according to 70.37% of respondents), ability to develop projects (66.67% of respondents) and knowledge about academia (58.52%). Participation in the project also influenced the career choice, either directly (for 34.59% of respondents) or indirectly (to 44.36% of respondents), with most choosing higher education courses in the same area as their scientific initiation. These results contribute to the improvement of the project it self and those similar to it, to their search field as a whole, and, within the context of the Brazilian educational, scientific and technological reality, to the formulation of public policy. This proposal is associated with the theme: Science communication for social inclusion and political engagement.

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