Two Semifinalists and Other Seniors Finish up ASR Poster Night 2017

Each year, eight to ten rising juniors are selected from their class to participate in Advanced Science Research, a program headed by Mr. Courtney to allow a select group of students who have a vested interest in research and science in general to gain lab experience. Each student finds their own lab with a mentor to aid them in their project, and then spends the next two years of their Belmont Hill career, including lab time during the summer, working on their independent research project. The experience culminates in the publication of the student’s work in a scientific journal, as well as the entry of their work into the Regeneron Science Talent Search, a nationwide competition. One key portion of this program’s endgame is the “poster defense.”  Each senior must present his project in MacPherson for two hours, explaining their work to whomever may stop by to see them. I had the pleasure of attending this year’s poster defense, and I was extremely impressed by the professional attitude, depth of understanding, and overall enthusiasm displayed by the ASR seniors. Each student was happy to explain their project at any level of depth and to any degree of understanding, and could clearly and succinctly convey whatever it was their project pertained to, all the while maintaining the interest and understanding of their audience. They were also quite adept at answering any and all questions asked by those that visited the event, ranging from the simpler, more general question to the more complex questions from science faculty members such as Mr. Courtney. Each boy seemed to truly enjoy what it was he had researched and displayed this interest through his obvious enthusiasm for the project while explaining it. All this was achieved by the seniors despite the complexity, intricateness, and long-term nature of their projects. The dedicated attitude of all of the seniors was clearly summarized by Armin Thomas, who arrived at Belmont Hill for his poster defense with a surgical mask and a cold sweat, having to sit in a chair while he defended his poster as he fiercely battled an unknown illness in order to attend. The posters themselves were also quite impressive, effectively conveying the necessary information pertinent to the subject, but at the same time remaining easy to comprehend to the average reader. This year was also very successful in terms of the Regeneron Talent Search, with two of the seniors, Jack Daley and Andrew Kaneb, making it to the semi-finals, a feat that few Belmont Hill boys have achieved in the past. Overall, the ASR poster defense was a great success for this year’s seniors, and I congratulate them for their success, dedication, and enthusiasm for their projects.

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