Students Present at Fall Research Symposium

Members of the Lawrenceville community gathered in the Kirby Math and Science Building to attend the annual student research poster session this past Wednesday from 7:00PM to 8:00PM.

Members of the Lawrenceville community gathered in the Kirby Math and Science Building to attend the annual student research poster session this past Wednesday from 7:00PM to 8:00PM. V Form students from Merrill, Heely, and Hutchins programs presented their culminating projects to the attendees. Lawrentians who conducted independent studies and those who are currently enrolled in the Design for Social Change course also displayed their research.

“I think that these programs allow students to further explore their interests , which they wouldn’t have time for during the year. It allows them to experience things that they typically wouldn’t get to experience until college, and to have that opportunity early on helps students understand what they’re really interested in,” Director of Student Research Elizabeth Fox said.

For her Heely project, Dami Kim ’20 studied Frederick Douglass, an African-American abolitionist and social reformer, and how he embodied the role of a natural law philosopher. At the core of her research, Kim focused on presenting Douglass as not only an abolitionist and a politician, but also a man “who should be distinguished and celebrated for his thought.” Over the course of the summer, she looked at many primary sources—such as speeches, letters, and articles during the Civil War era—and visited many important landmarks that were significant in Douglass’ lifetime. Her research timeline spanned from his birth in 1818 to the eve of the War in which Kim analyzed how his “curiosity started as the foundation for his natural law philosophy.”

Although her project was in the field of history, it was also heavily philosophy-based. “My biggest challenge was probably looking for sources that could help me intertwine history and philosophy at the same time,” Kim reflected.

Inspired by her passion for the arts, Elyssa Chou ’20 conducted an independent study on three-dimensional modelling and animation using computer graphics. Her incentive to pursue this project stemmed from her love for both arts and technology. Moreover, Chou will also be extending her research and studies into the Winter and Spring Term, when she will be learning how to script programming effects. Although Lawrenceville has a multitude of visual arts and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teachers, there weren’t as many adults with combined interests. Thus, throughout the preparation process, Chou was “on her own most of the time and used a lot of independent head-solving.”

Nevertheless, reflecting upon the overall outcome of the experience, Chou said, “I really enjoyed the entire study, and it’s confirmed to me that this is something I want to pursue because I can use both analytical thinking that I love from STEM but steal the creativity I love from the arts.”

As for her Hutchins project, Maxima Molgat ’20 worked with Science Master John L. Clark P’20 on the topic of biodiversity in new world tropics through DNA sequencing and constructing phylogenetic trees for analysis. She spent three weeks in the summer of her III Form year to IV Form year learning about molecular biology and chemistry at Lawrenceville, which later prepared her well for her six week internship at the Royal Botanic Garden Lab Edinborough. “I’ve always been interested in biology. As part of the Hutchins program, we also have the amazing opportunity of having a consistent connection with [the Royal Botanic Garden Lab],” Molgat commented.

From an observer’s point of view of the event, Caitlin Gu ’21 said, “It was interesting to see so many Lawrentians pursue their interests, and there was such a diverse array of presentations. A lot of people showed up, and it was nice to see so many of us in support of our peers.”