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The Magic (or Should We Say Science?) Behind Science Research 

By Lance Anthony and Aria Mukhopadhyay 

Tucked into the corner of upper G-building, G114 remains a mystery to many. However, the room, home to our Science Research Program, has fostered diverse projects, immeasurable growth in public-speaking, and a cohesive community driven by passion, respect, and organization. Led by Ms. Kimberly Fleming, the three-year elective program allows students to research a topic of their choice, with each student leaving their senior year with a completed study. Throughout the program, students find a research mentor, document their project, and can even gain college credit from SUNY Albany. In the research process, students often collaborate with institutions such as the Teatown Reservation Preserve, Burke Rehabilitation Center, NYU, Weill Cornell, Regeneron, Columbia University, and more. 

Research topics range from medicine to behavioral science to environmental science and more. Senior Abigail Roman is researching the optimal brain states for lucid dream induction while junior Lance Anthony is conducting voting research and sophomore Francis Fokoue is engineering a sensory headset for adolescents with Autism. Have a scientific inquiry? You can probably research it in this program.

This course has no tests! Students spend their time working independently inside and outside the classroom to complete the Learning Contract Assessments given on a tri-weekly basis. These assignments guide students throughout their individual research journeys, progressing from sophomore to senior year. Senior Aria Mukhopadhyay attests that the course format has improved her time management significantly, preparing her for college.  

Every so often, Ms. Fleming gives a lesson to the class. These lessons are applicable to all students despite the differences in their topics, as they discuss plagiarism, scientific writing, statistical analysis, and more! Sophomore Charis Choi recounts a recent in-class algae experiment, stating, “Although my personal study does not relate to algae, working with it improved my overall scientific ability.”  

The foundational skill of public speaking is especially emphasized throughout the course. Students Trinity Reid, Emiko Tonachel, Joseph Ferrara, Olivia Tuzel, and Sofia Bertini all collectively agree that the program has immensely improved their public speaking skills due to the constant practice in class.  

As a part of the program, students attend various competitions throughout the three years, namely the Somers Science Fair, Tri-County Fair, Regeneron STS, WR-JSHS, and WESEF. This year, WPHS has brought home thirteen WESEF awards, four WR-JSHS awards, and one (senior Saumya Sawant) NY-JSHS award. These fairs, while competitive, are gratifying learning experiences for students. Senior Eleanor Beck has participated in all these fairs and says she became friends with students from other science research programs at these competitions.  

Overall, the most notable aspect of the program is the people. Being surrounded by like-minded individuals who share a passion is extremely rewarding. The class has become a staple in the last few years. Whether it be through friendships made, celebrations shared, or passions realized, the students of G114 have grown to be a tight-knit community that share one common trait: intellectual curiosity. We hope students consider joining this life-changing program, or the STEM Club which meets every Monday in G114, to experience the magic (or should we say science) behind the WPHS Science Research Program. 


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