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Cyanco and i-80 Gold proudly sponsor hands-on science education and research opportunities for area high school students

Launched in 2021, the STEM Sisters program provides an opportunity for local high school students to participate in independent research at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR).

Jamie Voyles, associate professor of biology at UNR, started STEM Sisters in 2021 with funding from her National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, with the goal of providing high-level research experiences to young women interested in science.

Thanks to co-sponsors Cyanco and i-80 Gold, the program is seeing continued success with another session currently underway. This spring’s six-student cohort is being trained on different techniques to learn about biology and pathogens, and how to apply the scientific method to better understand them.

Allison Anderson, Community and Government Relations Manager at i-80 Gold Corp. said she became interested in STEM Sisters when she first read about the program two years ago.

“I thought it was such a wonderful idea – and a great way to give young women lab experience, provide them with mentors and expose them to future opportunities in different technical fields,” she said. “I contacted Jamie directly and asked if i80 could help sponsor the next group of participants.”

Once she got the ball rolling, Anderson connected with i-80’s cyanide supplier, Cyanco, to see if they were interested in partnering on this unique sponsorship opportunity. Steve Cochrane, US Sales Manager said, “We jumped at the opportunity to work with i-80 Gold in support of the STEM Sisters’ mission.

Both i-80 and Cyanco are proud members of the community, and we’re always looking for ways to support our neighbors. It’s a double benefit when we can engage with young people and encourage them to consider a career in mining.”

According to Anderson, joint sponsorship dollars go to student stipends, which will show the cohorts the value of their work and the potential for science as a long-term career path.

Two high school students from the first cohort of STEM Sisters who stayed on with the program are now serving as mentors to the new cohort. Voyles now hopes to bring two of the STEM Sister students to Panama with her over the summer, where she studies disease dynamics in amphibian populations.

First Row: Allison Anderson from i-80 (far left) & Dr. Jamie Voyles (second from right) Second Row: Steve Cochrane of Cyanco (far left) & Christine Meder from i80 (far right)

The students will have the opportunity to put all the skills they’ve learned to use, collecting samples from real frogs, and experiencing fieldwork in the rainforests of Panama. (What Voyles and her team are learning about amphibians is also applicable to disease resistance in humans.)

“Demonstrating the value of participating in the science enterprise can only be accomplished when we provide funds that ensure students’ time is wholly devoted to learning and training in a laboratory setting,” said Voyles. “With the support of i-80 and Cyanco we are able to offer a truly immersive science training opportunity – at the collegiate level – for these young women.”

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