High school hosts fourth annual science conference despite school closure

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Cole Skuse

Throughout the duration of the conference, overall 100 people joined the virtual event to hear others talk or ask questions.

Cole Skuse, Business Manager/News Editor/Copy Editor

On May 7, students, teachers and alumni gathered on Google Meet for the fourth annual science conference from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.. Like previous years, students gathered to speak about the “long-terms” that they have completed. Long-terms are independent research projects that students develop on their own that tests a claim that they developed. These projects range in terms like making ice cream to the sociobiology of crickets to testing dehydration rates of fruits. This is the fourth year that there has been a formal event for students to show off their work.
Differently than years prior, students were required to create a video of their long-terms while they were presenting. These videos were then put on the website for the science conference (sciconhs.org), along with a short evaluation for their video. Whoever watched the video could answer some questions about this long-term through the evaluation form and provide ratings on the presentation’s quality, creativity, scientific practice and enjoyment.
On the days leading up to the science conference, students viewed the videos on the website and completed the evaluations for each video they watched. These videos included presentations from students and alumni, along with Wargo’s opening presentation. One of the featured presentations belonged to alumnus Ryan Kaufman, who gave the keynote which related fruits to quantum mechanics. Other alumni presentations included Kayleigh Robert’s about her work as an environmental lab analyst, Katie Shvach’s about seed dispersal of the Eastern Red Cedar, along with a few others.
The way the actual conference was set up was each student who completed a long-term had time allotted for others to ask them questions about the work they completed. These time slots were two to six minutes long so that every person who did a long-term could be asked questions. Throughout the day, there were some breaks and other small blocks like a coronavirus discussion included.
Another new addition to the science conference this year was a long-term “journal” that was posted on the science conference website. This was a series of videos done by senior Maxwell Ujhazy that showed the process he went through during his long-term. This six-video series went through the different parts of his project as he completed them.
Many people started their long-terms prior to the school district closing but had not finished them yet. For some, materials they were using for their long-term were stuck at the school and they were not able to get them. As a result, many students came up with improvisations for their projects. For instance, junior Josiah Dubovi didn’t have access to mallets for his long-term, so he turned to using hot dogs at various frozen states. Junior Bailey Roberts didn’t have access to the aluminum rod and bunsen burner she planned on using. Instead, she ended up using a candle and aluminum fence wire. These are just some of the ways that students managed to complete their long-terms despite limited access to materials.
Though the science conference did not go the way it was planned at the beginning of the school year, many who were involved would say that the day was successful considering the circumstances.