An Upcoming Event at Byram Hills: The Authentic Science Research Symposium

By Rachel Ackerman

Over the past few weeks you may have noticed a greater amount of hustle and bustle around room 114, which is home to Byram Hills’ Authentic Science Research Program (commonly referred to by students as ASR). This is because the ASR Symposium will be held at the high school in exactly one week – on Wednesday, June 7th. The Symposium is a student-run event that showcases the research of all of the students in the program and honors the graduating seniors.

ASR is a three-year program that begins in one’s sophomore year. Over the course of three years students choose a specific scientific topic to study, obtain an accredited mentor (usually one from a prestigious research institution), and conduct a study that will eventually be submitted to the Regeneron Science Talent Search, among other competitions. There are approximately 90 students in the program this year, each studying a unique area of interest. From quark stars to congenital heart disease to social media, the topics students choose to research truly fascinate them, and each student is extremely passionate about his/her study. The program is a chance for driven students to showcase unique research and potentially contribute to their fields of study.

So, it would only be suitable for these motivated scientists to be able to present their work to the community. The Symposium is an annual event open to the public, and it allows members of the Byram Hills, Armonk, and even Westchester communities to witness the brilliant projects that these students have worked hard on since they joined the program.

The night of Symposium consists of an opening ceremony, which includes a presentation by a keynote speaker. This year, the keynote speaker is Dr. Neil Singer, who is the founder and president of AC Kinetics, Inc. and is also a parent of two ASR alumni. Then, the seniors who are graduating from the ASR program will receive their diplomas, honoring them for their work in the program. Next, the seniors will present their research in various rooms throughout the high school, and attendees can choose which presentations they would like to view. Lastly, everyone gathers in the cafeteria to view the posters of ASR juniors and sophomores and eat an array of food. The night ends with concluding remarks and awards from the director of the program and the teachers. All attendees leave Symposium knowing something they didn’t know before, many in awe of the marvelous work being done by these high school students.

The past few weeks have been highly active in terms of preparing for Symposium. Juniors and sophomores have been perfecting and printing their posters. Seniors, although currently on internships, have be working hard to perfect their PowerPoint presentations.

Many people are surprised to learn that Symposium is actually a student-run event, with the ASR teachers and director having very little to do with it. Instead, the sophomores and juniors of the program are grouped into committees, and the heads of these committees are known as the “Fab Five.” The Fab Five members this year are Joshua Piecyk, Stella Li, Alexandra Brocato, Dylan Massoni, and Rachel Ackerman. Each  is in charge of different aspects of Symposium, such as press, publicity, invitations, food, decorations, technology, program book, etc. They meet with the director of the program, Mr. David Keith, every Wednesday morning, but the rest of the time they are working independently with their committees to bring the event together.

The ASR Symposium is a wonderful event that is geared towards all members of the community, and you do not have to be a scientist to appreciate the amazing work the students have done. Everyone is encouraged to attend Symposium, as it will be an exciting night filled with knowledge and science. Tell your friends to come to Symposium on Wednesday, June 7 at 7:00 PM at the high school!

Check out the poster: Symposium Poster