Four seniors at Horace Greeley High School have spent almost three years in a science research class, learning what it is like to work on projects at an advance level.
At Tuesday's Chappaqua school board meeting, the students got a chance to showcase their work and describe how the program has impacted them.
Rebecca Passman described it as an "amazing experience." She spent her time doing research for a pharmaceuticals company during the past two summers. Her included included spending time on a mass model for breast cancer and looking at how tumors develop. She will spend the coming summer at the company doing an intership and will attend Duke University in the fall.
Julia Keegan said that everything she has learned in science research "has been incredible." She her project, Keegan studied at Weill Cornell Medical College and researched ALS, a disease that causes muscle degeneration. Her work focused on looking at a valid method to study ALS. Keegan plans to attend George Washington University this fall.
“Basically this whole experience has been fantastic," said Neel Patel, who researched at Columbia University Medical College. His worked involved looking at looking at MRI Contrast Agents and finding a DNA strand that is capable of combining with them. Patel plans to attend Northwestern University.
John Desmarais did his research through the University of Washington, in Seattle. He worked on a method involving injections and curing color blindness using gene therapy.
“Students in our program have an opportunity to engage in authentic science research in a lab or in the field under the guidance of a scientist mentor," said Dr. Trudy Gessler, one of the program's teachers.
The research program begins when freshman students apply. Those who are chosen start their academics during sophomore year, according to teacher Jennifer McCarthy, which includes learning ways to research and picking an area of interest. Junior year includes finding mentors and formulation questions to investigate, according to Gessler. Senior year is where the work comes together.
Interested school board members had their own questions.
Board President Alyson Kiesel asked about the application process for getting into the program. The response was that it involves the ability of students to interpret scientific literature, along with being given questions like in a job interview.
Board member Victoria Tipp asked students how they found their mentors. Some described cold contacting, where they approached would-be mentors and just said they were interested. Students got the ideas for reaching out to their mentors after reading publications describing their works.
The next bit event for science at Greeley is on May 31, at the school's science symposium