Success at the Symposium

By Alex Jacobs and Karthik Rao

inglis intel

The annual Research Symposium at Briarcliff High School displays the intricate and informational projects that students from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes have labored on all year. On May 21, 2013, students set up their projects throughout the science wing of the high school and presented to anyone who wanted to learn about the topic they studied. Students put an incredible amount of time and effort into their projects, and are overseen in the research process and the symposium by Mr. Michael Inglis.

There were many fascinating projects on display; however, there were a select few students whose projects were especially astounding, and even won competitions. Some of the big winners were Nick Poulton, Mark Moretto, Sarah Ruthen, and Wendy Willner. After asking Nick why he wanted to take the Science Research class when he was a freshman, he responded, “I was interested in medicine, and wanted to continue my research in this field in the Science Research program.” Nick also had some advice for freshmen: “Be flexible about your topic, and keep your mind open. You may find something that you never thought to be interesting quite appealing.” During a short interview, Mr. Inglis was able to answer only one question, since he was very busy that evening. When asked why he wanted to take over running the Science Research Program when he came to this school, Mr. Inglis was enthusiastic: “I wanted to continue the program because it is an authentic education for the students. This is more useful for students’ learning than the typical classroom setting.”

Mark Moretto, who was honored with the National Young Astronomer of the Year Award for his project titled “Deep Impact Spectral Observations of Naturally Occurring Mini-Outbursts at Comet Tempel 1,” was asked several questions as well. Asked why he joined the program, he replied, “I was very interested in science, and wanted to continue my passion outside the typical classroom environment.” Regarding the entire research experience, Mark commented, “It was really rewarding. It is nice to know that all my hard work finally paid off.”

Sarah Ruthen also participated in the research program during her high school career. She wanted to join the program because “it was different than any other course because of how independent the work is. I felt that these skills would be useful for college.” When describing the experience Sarah said, “Finding a mentor and getting rejected several times was a real roller coaster at first, but finally, after winning, it all seems worth it.” Sarah won an all-expenses paid trip to the Intel Science and Engineering Fair competition in Phoenix, Arizona and was happy with how it went. “It was a great experience. I got to meet people from all over the world, who are all very bright and well educated in their respective fields.”

The night wasn’t only focused on seniors though. Sean Brantman, a sophomore, commented on his progress this year: “I made my poster, and completed most of my preliminary research for my topic.” Sean said the hardest part of sophomore year for Science Research was “finding a mentor, because you will face many rejections. Also trying to handle the workload is very difficult.”

Lastly, but certainly not least, Jesse Halpern, a junior, was asked about his own progress in his research. “I am at the stage of data collection and analysis.” Jesse commented that the hardest part of junior year for Science Research was “balancing the project with your typical junior year workload.”

The Science Research Program is very popular at Briarcliff – everyone who participates in the experience speaks highly of it, and some even think it can get too crowded. Yet it is obvious that the students in Briarcliff love to learn, and it is that fact which defines us as the prestigious high school we are today.

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