Science Symposium

The feeling a student gets when they finish a big project is unique. Finally turning in that 12-page research paper or completing a challenging lab report is very rewarding. For the students in the Authentic Scientific Research (ASR) class, that feeling intensified when, after working on their individual research projects for an entire school year, they were finally able to present their work to their peers.

On Tuesday May 28, the Library Learning Commons hosted the 13th annual Science Symposium, an event that allows students to showcase their work, and seniors had the opportunity to do a final presentation that culminated three years worth of research.

The ASR program is a unique opportunity at Staples because it is one of the few times students get to work on something they choose. Although that long-term commitment to a single academic endeavor is not for everyone, the students in ASR enjoy their time with the topic. “Working on the same project over the course of multiple years is only boring if you don’t like your project, which is why it is so important you choose something you are passionate about,” said Sara Banbury ’14.

In addition to recognizing the work of the ASR students, the science department awarded a few students who have excelled over the past year. Each science teacher nominated a student in each of his or her classes to recognize, as well as awarding a few miscellaneous awards, such as for the Physics Olympiad and the Robotics team.

Scott Holley Ph.D came to Staples for the symposium and gave the keynote presentation about his graduate research for Yale University’s Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology.

Holley presented an overview of his work regarding the study of formation and early stages of growth in zebrafish.

Holley offered inspiration and words of encouragement to the budding researchers, telling them to always think of new ideas and to persevere when their work got tough.

“It is important that you are always thinking differently,” said Holley. “That doesn’t mean just having one good idea. It means always having new ideas.”

To bring the night to a sentimental close, ASR teachers and advisors honored their 28 seniors by presenting each of them with a book that related to their project or reminded them of that student in some way.

Since ASR students work with their teacher over the course of a few years, they form a special bond. As each book was presented, teachers expressed that bond with the inside jokes and personal anecdotes that they shared.

Banbury described her ASR experience as difficult but mentioned that her teachers help keep it manageable. “The teachers are incredible at guiding us,” said Banbury.

To bring a unique night to an unexpected end, a few ASR seniors honored their teacher by surprising him with some books of their own, presenting Nicholas Morgan with four books and letting the audience in on a moment that exhibited the student-teacher partnership that the program is all about.