By Hailey Jacobs
The Authentic Science Research Program at BHHS is a three year science program where students have the opportunity to choose any desired topic and become an expert in their field by the end of the program senior year. Topics range from astronomy to psychology, and everything in between, including how social media affects anxiety, jealousy, or even how music affects work efficiency. Senior year, each student is required to submit their work to the Regeneron Science Talent Search Competition. It is a chance for young scientists to present original research to professional scientists, and hopefully add something unknown to the field of their study.
Senior Caroline Silpe, who is part of the Science Research Program, has been studying adolescents’ perceptions of the grieving process. She explained that the application for this competition asks the students to write several essays regarding “the rationale behind your study, the steps taken to create it, and the actual process of conducting your research and analyzing your data.” Not only does the competition want to understand the science aspect of the student, but they also try to understand the applicant as a whole. Caroline says the application asks the student to write about “activities out of the classroom such as extracurricular, volunteer work, and leadership roles.” Students cannot just focus on the work for the class, which can be challenging. Mrs. Greenwald, a Science Research teacher, describes the application as “more challenging than the most difficult college application.” She also adds, “Regeneron does not just evaluate the research project, they look at the entire student as a future potential scientist and researcher.” Mrs. Greenwald made it clear that the competition is not only evaluating the work done in the Science Research class, but rather evaluating the student holistically. Throughout the three years in the program, students essentially become experts in the topics they are studying. During her time in the program so far, Caroline has contacted multiple researchers until she found one who wanted to be mentor, read between 30-40 journal articles about her topic, and wrote a few papers on the knowledge acquired from those articles. She then created a study on her own, which consisted of multiple scales, including two that she independently developed. She then distributed consent forms and recruited subjects to take her survey. Finally, she taught herself basic statistics and analyzed all the data. All students in this program are expected to do this type of work which all leads up to the submission to the Regeneron Science Talent Search Competition. Even after submitting to this competition, students continue their work. Mrs. Greenwald explains, “seniors are now preparing for additional competitions. All seniors will create a poster of their work and present at WESEF in early March, which leads to national competitions, ISEF and ISWEEP.” All knowledge acquired over the years and effort put into becoming an expert on the topic prepares the seniors for these competitions.
Ever since sophomore year, Authentic Science Research students have been preparing to submit to the Regeneron Science Talent Competition. Each student is very independent in creating their own study, with help from teachers and a mentor. The overall goal when submitting to competitions is to display new information to the science world about a specific topic, and Regeneron helps to make this possible.