WVHS Science Research wraps up for 2023 with annual symposium


WVHS Science Research wraps up for 2023 with annual symposium

June 7, 2023

A large crowd of administrators and faculty, students and their families gathered in the WVHS atrium on Monday evening, June 5 for this year’s WVHS Science Research Symposium. The evening included presentations by seven seniors who completed the rigorous 3-year independent study program. First and second-year students in the program also participated in the event, and you can download a copy of the event program to learn more about each research project.

View a gallery from the event below this article.

Congratulations to these Science Research seniors:

  • Daniel Callaghan – headed to Ohio State University
  • Megan Desrats – headed to SUNY Oneonta
  • Courtney Evans – headed to Quinnipiac University
  • Amelia Januario – headed to Northeastern University
  • Tabitha Peterson – headed to University of South Florida
  • Kayla Schmitt – headed to Boston College
  • Ben Walter – headed to Boston College

The Science Research Program — recognized by the New York State Board of Regents — is a component of the University in the High School program and offered in partnership with SUNY Albany. The 3-year program provides high school students with the opportunity to participate in the scientific research community by engaging in authentic research of their own design. Students develop advanced research skills and life skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication, time management and public speaking. Participating students must complete the following:

  • Select and investigate topic of interest
  • Develop skills in research protocol
  • Read and summarize peer reviewed journal articles and critique professional scientific papers
  • Practice formal presentations of peer reviewed articles or independent research
  • Maintain a professional laboratory notebook
  • Build a scientific portfolio
  • Communicate with professionals
  • Design and conduct original research
  • Discuss and analyze results at symposia
  • Write a final research paper

View a gallery from the event below this article.

Amelia Januario
Topic: Cannabis and Parkinson’s disease
Title: The potential effect of Cannabis on symptomatic progression of tremors in Parkinson’s Disease
Mentors: Monty Vacura, MS, Professor of Biology at SUNY Orange

Amelia will be majoring in Health Science at attending Northeastern University, and hopes to use her education towards a career as a doctor.

Tabitha Peterson
Topic: Adult ADHD and Cannabis Use
Title: Assessing Cannabis Expectancies for ADHD Symptoms in
Mentors: Dr. Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D., Professor for the Department of Psychology at SUNY Albany

Tabitha will be attending the University of South Florida, and major in psychology with an advanced research concentration.

Daniel Callaghan
Topic: Epilepsy surgery and quality of life
Title: Epilepsy Surgery and its Effects on the Quality Of Life of patients with drug resistant epilepsy: A Systematic Review
Mentors: Dr. Claire Kaplan, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Johns Hopkins University

Daniel will attend Ohio State University’s Honors Program to major in neuroscience on a pre-med track.

Benjamin Walter
Topic: Neuroscience/Sleep
Title: Assessing the Short Term Cognitive Performance of High School Students Based on Sleep Duration Using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA®)
Mentors: Dr. Robin K. Yuan, Ph.D., Research Fellow in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Dr. Jeanne F. Duffy, M.B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

Benjamin will be attending Boston College in the fall and majoring in neuroscience, with hopes to continue neurological research, and plans on attending medical school.

Kayla Schmitt
Topic: Longevity/Aging
Title: Evaluating the extent of the mitochondria’s role in aging by observing structural differences in Caucasian and ethnic skin and how such differences are modulated between both natural intrinsic aging and extrinsic photoaging
Mentors: Dr. Keshav Singh Ph.D., Department of Genetics, University of Alabama

Kayla will be attending Boston College as a Human Centered Engineering major and hopes to use her education towards a career in women’s health.

Megan Desrats
Topic: Propolis and honey bee health
Title: The effect of the experience of a beekeeper, the number of hives they manage, and their opinion of propolis on if they modify their hives in order to promote propolis build up 
Mentors: Dr. Brenna Traver, PhD., Associate Professor of Biology, Pennsylvania State University

Megan will be majoring in accounting with a finance concentration and minoring in Spanish at SUNY Oneonta. She will also be playing for the Oneonta women’s basketball team.

Courtney Evans
Topic: Health span/Gut Health
Title: The Effect of Gut Microbes on the Health span of Organisms: A Systematic Review of Literature
Mentors: Dr. Daniel Kalman, PhD., Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine

Courtney will attend the Quinnipiac University honors program on a pre-med track and take part in the accelerated dual degree program to obtain a BS in biology and her MS in molecular and cellular biology.

“The students would like to dedicate this year’s symposium to the many teachers along the way who have fostered and encouraged the development of their curiosity,” said program advisors Kristin Touw. “Thank you for the kindness, wisdom, and support you have brought to the science research students.”

Download a copy of the Science Research Symposium program here.


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