Science and Surprises for Research Students

Science and Surprises for Research Students  

At the Carmel Science Research Symposium in May, seven seniors presented high-level research projects that ranged from topics like nicotine, to volcanoes, to the effect of noise pollution on songbirds.  

But as the 30 science research students in grades ten through 12 displayed their projects to curious teachers, parents, administrators and friends, several mentioned all the non-scientific things they learned by joining the three-year program.  

“It’s all about your own self-discipline,” said Halina White, a junior. “I think it really prepares you for adult life and college.” 

Halina’s project this year was “Analyzing Awareness and Interest in Different Sustainability Methods in Putnam County.” Students can change projects from one year to the next or expand upon a project in successive years.  

Junior Maia Thompson agreed that the science research program teaches independent learning.  

“I really like the fact that the research is all student-led,” Maia said. “I got the opportunity to explore my own interests.” 

Dr. Nicole Griffin, who has taught the science research program since 2015, said that helping students to become independent thinkers who follow their own interests is a foundation of the program.   

“I was a student in science research when I went to school here,” said Griffin, a Carmel High School alum. “It was the same way back then.” 

That kind of flexibility is what drew Michael Strang, a sophomore, to the program.  

“You’re basically free to do what kind of research you want,” he said. “I put a lot of effort in, but I feel like I got a lot back because I learned so much and I chose what I wanted to learn.”  

 Michael studied the “Effects of Artificial Light Pollution on Coyotes Activity in New York State”  

“I like space and telescopes and light pollution is the enemy of meteorology,” he said.  

Senior Jennie Belle Aliaga, who will attend Princeton University next year and plans to study molecular biology, noted that scientists need to be good communicators.  

“One of the reasons I joined this program was to get out of my comfort zone and become more confident in public speaking,” she said. “I have presented at many events and science fairs and now I am used to speaking in public.”  

Freshmen who are interested in joining the program have until Wednesday, May 29 to sign up.