Students from 14 local high schools, along with their teachers and advisers, recently concluded the ninth annual Annenberg High School Science Symposium. Created by Barry Mann, MD, Main Line Health's chief academic officer, the symposium brings students together and challenges them to conduct and exploration of medical and scientific concepts.
As part of this year's competition, one or two student journalists representing each participating high school's newspaper were invited to create an article intended for publication in the school newspaper, based on their school's participation in the symposium. Entries were judged based on readability, message, and quality. Below is the third place entry, from Chris Stein from Episcopal Academy.
Episcopal Students Study Epigenetics
In Episcopal’s ninth year as a part of the Annenberg Symposium, a group of Honors Biology students recently presented their research on epigenetics to an audience of students, parents, and doctors. The symposium, designed to help students learn more about the modern applications of biological advancements, has grown to include sixteen schools at four different hospitals.
Epigenetics, according to Andrew Hayes, Biology teacher and co-advisor to the group, "is part of a budding field. It deals with molecules and 'triggers' responsible for turning genes on and off." Such advances can help aid those who suffer from previously incurable inherited traits.
Chris Stein ’16, a member of the team, stated, "[The] Annenberg [Symposium] was a really rewarding experience for me. It taught me a lot about what’s currently going on in the medical field and it also taught me a lot about teamwork. It was really a team effort to make such a long presentation go smoothly."
To prepare for the presentation, the group not only conducted indepth research on the project, but also connected it to a normal biology class. The team met with Dr. Susan Gilmour from Lankenau Hospital to gather information on epigenetics from an expert’s perspective.
In regards to the presentation itself, Hayes believes that the team did an outstanding job by using "Prezi to upgrade what had been done in previous years." Because of this, the team won the "Future Pioneers of Science Award," which, according to Hayes, "is what the whole presentation is about."
Competing against local schools such as Malvern, Conestoga, and Great Valley, the team "worked very well together and had a great final product," according to Jessica Bai ’16, member of the team. Bai stated that the project also helped "[them] see who the potential leaders of [their] class are and see how the leaders work with other people."
Andrew Quigley ’14, a member of the team two years ago, recollected, "It was nerve-wracking to make the presentation but at the same time it was a lot of fun."
Nick Kick ’16, member of the team, agreed with Quigley, emphasizing how interesting the program was. He stated, "The subject that we studied and built our product around taught us a lot about modern medicine and technology and helped us become connected to the medical world in general at the present time."
For Hayes, "This group has really set the standard. The topic was one of the more difficult ones. With biological and medicinal advancements happening so rapidly, topics will become more complicated, and it will be a bigger challenge to maintain such a high-quality presentation."