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As many in the higher ed biz know, we often work with high school or younger students on science projects. They come to us over the summer or have scheduled times to come in to do lab work during the regular semester.
Because they are so young, universities and the media often focus publicity efforts on these students. They and their results are interesting and give us hope for the future. It is always wonderful to see these students do good work. Many of us put in long hours working with these types of students and our undergrad and grad students often help us with the mentorship work.
However, clearly things got out of hand with the lionfish research alluded to in the story. It appears as if the media picked up on a 6th grader's project that was based on graduate student work already published. The 6th grader did some follow up work to a detailed study conducted by a graduate student. Who got the national and international credit? The 6th grader.