The Science Symposium: A Culmination of a Year of Research

For a group of Staples science students, May 22 marked the end of a unique experience.

 The annual Science Symposium took place in the Staples library, and seniors gave their final presentations regarding the projects they have been working on for three years.

The library was transformed into a room of colorful posters, each with a unique and specific subject, giving a chance for all students in the Authentic Scientific Research program to showcase their work, although they are at different stages in their research.

“One of the things that’s special about ASR is the relationship you build with your teacher. You meet with your advisor every week and the class fosters a love of science” said Jason Lustbader ’12, who is conducting research on X-ray timing data compared with neutron stars and black holes.

The Symposium began with awards from the science department for prominent students in various science classes, such as chemistry, biology, and physics; as well as science electives and AP classes.

After the awards, sophomores, juniors and seniors working on their projects were able to display posters with the data they have been collecting. Students spoke in detail about the complexity of their projects.

The draw of this year’s symposium was the keynote speaker, Yale professor Udo Schwarz, who talked to attendees about nanotechnology.

Schwarz described his work in mechanical engineering and visualizing the nano-world, which includes taking pictures beyond those visible through powerful microscopes. Students were able to get a glimpse of the world of a professional scientist. Additionally, Schwarz viewed all of the posters and offered guidance to the students as some continue to further develop their projects.

The students who participate in ASR all feel similarly about their experiences in the program as well as their teachers, Michelle Morse and Nick Morgan.

“Dr. Morgan has made this whole process a lot of fun. ASR is a class I look forward to each day because it’s all about understanding the concepts, not just being lectured at,” Joseph Yang ’12 said.

Students, faculty, and parents alike came to support the program while also to hear about the high level of research that each participant does.

The progression of each project varied depending on the year of the student. Sophomores displayed the preliminary data they have collected as well as their experimental design, while seniors displayed their final conclusions. For Morgan, the symposium is a chance for students to display their expertise.

“After a few months, the students really become experts. The information is always flowing from them to me; we’re really just here to guide them,” Morgan said.