School hasn't opened yet, but inside ’s cafeteria were 15 students and their parents learning about the expectations of the district’s rigorous science research program.
“You are our top guns, the best of the best,” began, assistant to the superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. “You will represent your school, grade and community in the most respectable contests in the science field. We commend you and support you to pursue your dreams and make us proud.”
Students in grades 9-11 expressed their research interests and explained their prior research projects, from “how people react to different types of video games” to “how different substances can affect the growth of bacteria.” Twelfth-grade students entering the highest level of the program were not in attendance, and for good reason. They were working on their research with mentors at local universities, a critical component for submission to the Intel competition.
“This year, the goal is to send students to as many competitions as possible so they gain experience and build confidence to compete at the highest levels,” said Science Research teacher Starlyn O’Shea.
She, along with colleagues August Eberling and Christine Reynolds, took the students on a step-by-step presentation of the Research 1, 2, 3 and Intel level classes and the many competitions students will be participating in. “Another emphasis will be on journal reading and practicing presentation skills with each other,” she said.
Two additional goals of the program are to foster more collaboration between seniors and underclassman and to establish greater connections with professors and mentors at colleges and universities as well as hospitals and other research facilities. Last year was the first time in eight years that Massapequa students qualified for the Intel competition, and more are expected to qualify this year.
Lisa Caputo, curriculum associate for science, urged students to take advantage of all the resources the district has to offer and then led them on a tour of the science research lab where equipment and projects by last year’s Intel participants were on display.
The program will culminate with a symposium in late spring at which students will have the opportunity to showcase their projects for parents and faculty.