Students Conduct Self-Directed Experiments Using the Scientific Method
Cullen Matthews ’23
From moths to microplastics, new discoveries are being made this year in Chaminade High School’s Science, Technology, and Research Center.
The Science Research Club is one of Chaminade’s best opportunities for students interested in the scientific method. Each year, members are given the chance to carry out a research project on any scientific topic of their choosing. Starting with the task of reading science news articles and narrowing down potential project ideas, the students move through the stages of professional scientific research and learn new, invaluable skills throughout the process.
With the guidance of club moderators Dr. Brianna Campmier and Dr. Karen Kuntz, every member is able to design his own experiment tailored to his interests and questions. Experimentation frequently proves to be the greatest learning experience as things do not always go as planned.
“Research is not an easy thing to do, especially in high school, because it is time consuming and projects don’t always work out, or the students don’t always get the results they were hoping for,” Kuntz stated. “However, there are so many benefits to simply going through the research process. The students learn important skills like critical thinking and how to deal with failure. Many times after something doesn’t work out, the students come up with an even better experimental design or a new and better project.”
Despite these challenges, Chaminade researchers are conducting experiments in an array of topics this year. One student, Antonio Savastano ’26, is utilizing aquarium waste in an attempt to fertilize martian soil. Another student, Chris Cooney ’24, is exploring the relationship between LED light pollution and moth development.
As these experiments are completed throughout the fall and winter, many members seek to present their findings and compete alongside students come spring. Some of these science fairs and competitions include the Long Island Science Congress, the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, Barcode Long Island, the Northwell Health Spark Challenge, and the Northwell Health Medical Marvels competition. For fairs, members will have usually completed a full introduction paper as well as a poster or digital presentation that they must present to judges.
When asked about the value of these competitions, Kuntz responded, “Students get helpful feedback from the judges who listen to their presentations. This feedback is invaluable for the students because it helps them to improve their projects and sharpen their presentation skills
“Another benefit,” she continued, “is that the students get to learn about the work being done by other high school students from local schools, throughout the country, and around the rest of the world.”
Many members feel like the club has provided them with skills that will be useful for future endeavors. Giulio Rasi ’23 is a member of the club and is enrolled in the recently created elective class, Science Research, which meets 1-2 times per cycle during the school week. These extra periods have allowed him to conduct research on the effects of fungicides on pollinator behavior and development, granting him more time to check in on specimens and finish experiments.
Reflecting on his time in Science Research Club, Rasi shared, “I feel that the class has increased my confidence for personal research in the future, especially through the aid and guidance of Dr. Kuntz and Dr. Campmier, who ensured I was on track every step of the way.”
Science Research is an obvious choice for any student seeking to further his interest in science and take advantage of the abundant resources available in Chaminade’s science department. It provides students with useful skills for the future, and it is sure to stand out to colleges looking for future researchers at their schools.