UA undergrad, KEYS crew manager loves working with youth
Brooke Moreno loves people. So it’s no wonder that for the past three years she has been involved with the University of Arizona KEYS (Keep Engaging Youth in Science) research internship program.
KEYS is a seven-week summer internship program for highly motivated high school students. It is sponsored by the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center at the College of Pharmacy and by the BIO5 Institute.
Moreno’s interest in science started in high school. She took coursework on human biology, anatomy and physiology, and medical terminology.
“I fell in love with it,” she reminisces. “I loved learning about the human body and how and why it works. I think it’s interesting just to know what happens internally when we do something as simple as raising our hands or coughing.”
Moreno first got involved with KEYS when she was selected as a student intern for the program in the summer of 2009. This was right after she graduated from Marana High School in Marana, Ariz.
“When I graduated from high school,” she says, “I didn’t know what I wanted to study in college, so I thought that this internship would give me the opportunity to explore different possibilities.”
She ended up working with a researcher who was studying diabetes in postmenopausal women and whether estrogen encouraged or inhibited diabetic damage.
“When I was accepted into the lab,” she says, “I was already accepted into the UA, but I was an undeclared major. After six weeks of working in the diabetes lab, I realized that I really wanted to commit to physiology. The KEYS program helped me find the area that I wanted to focus on.”
After her summer internship of 2009, Moreno became a KEYS crew member in 2010. KEYS crew members are undergraduate students who serve as facilitators for the high school interns. In the following two years Moreno became a KEYS crew manager and a resident assistant for the out-of-town students. She also works as a program assistant for education, outreach, and training at BIO5 Institute.
Her duties as a resident assistant call for Moreno to move into the dormitories with the out-of-town students and look after their welfare. She makes sure the interns do not get lost while traveling back and forth between their residence and internship activities.
“I also make sure that the interns get some relaxation and not work the whole weekend,” she added. “Recently I took them to see a movie and we played Ultimate Frisbee. Also some of them came with me to my soccer games with the Tucson Women’s Soccer League.”
What is on the horizon for Moreno after graduation in 2014?
“That remains to be determined,” she says, “but I’m definitely leaning in the direction of education, in particular teaching science. I love working with youth.”
Click to read our story on the 2012 KEYS program.
Story and photo by Larry Hogan Jr.