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Students Present Research at AP Biology Symposium

On Wednesday, April 27th, Cheverus’ AP Biology Symposium returned for the first time since before the Pandemic. From 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM, students, parents, and faculty were invited to visit the symposium, which featured 8 Research Projects presented by the class of sixteen students.

Each Spring, Mrs. Lafrance’s AP Biology class presents its Research Symposium. The Symposium brings student work to the forefront, culminating a semester of research that has been done alongside regular classwork. What is unique about this research? It is entirely student-driven. “The students need to propose the study question, make a hypothesis, and design and run the experiment themselves with me acting more as a facilitator than a teacher,” says Mrs. Lafrance. The Students were allowed to work in groups of up to three, or on their own.

Senior Kiera Delahanty focused her work on “the impact of ocean acidification on Spisula solidissima.

Dr. Moran views Bao Bui, Jamal Osei, and Frank Morang’s research on “the effects of gravity on Vigna radiata, Beta vulgaris, and Daucus carota.

The purpose of the project is to encourage student-led inquiry and a hands-on approach to learning and applying their scientific skills. Another benefit to the project is that it gives students independent research experience before college, something of great benefit to students, and an experience that most don’t gain until their college years. Mrs. Lafrance added that, “It provides an opportunity for students to experience real science, not just pre-designed laboratories…If the experiment doesn't work out, it gives students the opportunity to explore the why behind this. This is how real science works; very rarely, in a research setting, an experiment is run once with the intended result achieved.” The project also fulfills the third strand of the Cheverus STEM Diploma, which is a special distinction that graduates can earn by fulfilling certain requirements throughout their 4 years, including extra coursework, research, and community work.

Junior Reagan Bossong focused his research on “the effects of Ganoderma lucidum on gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.”

Students view junior Caris Welsh’s research on “the effects of compost on the Vigna radiata.

This year's symposium featured 8 student designed projects in various research disciplines. These projects ranged from investigating the effects of a medicinal mushroom on bacteria growth, to investigating the effect of gravity on various organisms.

Seniors Riley O'Mara and Hayley Jordan focused their research on “a comparison of bacteria on plastic and reusable water bottles.”

When asked, Mrs. Lafrance said that "My favorite part of the AP Biology Symposium is seeing the ownership the students take during their presentations. They are proud to show off their accomplishments, but they also talk freely about their missteps. I think that is important learning for them to share and I like that they get this opportunity.” The Symposium is sure to continue for years to come, already having become a hallmark of the science curriculum at Cheverus.

Senior Lily Smith and junior Elle Picard focused their research on “the effect of macronutrients on the performance of running and breathing.”

Seniors Anna Vollezzi, Emma Tweed, and Clare MacDonald focused their research on the “efficacy of various disinfectant chemicals compounded with ultraviolet radiation on bacterial growth.”

Seniors Emily Bontatibus, Abby Jennings, and Lillie Singleton present their research on “the effect of household cleaner on mold.”

Danny McCartney, Co-Editor in Chief


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