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WVHS’s all-female class of Science Research seniors reflects positive national shift

on March 30, 2015

By WVHS student Brigid Prial

Women have historically been dissuaded from entering the fields of science, but recent emphasis has increased public awareness of this problem and has garnered national attention.

In a 2013 address, President Obama stated that girls in science fields are “not encouraged the way they need to” and advocated a greater need for women to pursue scientific achievement. Our high school’s three-year Science Research program reflects this national trend, as the current class of Science Research seniors is all female. The first all-female class promises a positive shift in women’s participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

The Science Research program allows students to independently study a topic of their choice relating to science, eventually completing an original research project.
Mackenzie Martin, a senior studying music psychology, plans to continue studying her topic in college.

“Science research provides an innovative experience for those interested in science outside of the traditional classroom environment,” Mackenzie says.
Katherine Orlowski, whose topic is bipolar disorder, praises the program as well. “Science research has made me a more independent worker, efficient researcher and all around a more responsible person.”

A wide variety of topics, from drug addiction to ornithology, are represented in the research of the nine graduating seniors.

“The diversity of topics allows us to learn about other aspects of science outside of what we study ourselves,” says Brittany Wilhelmy, who studies protein synthesis. Each student’s topic allows her to gain a specialized knowledge of that field, and the collaborative intelligence that only a class of determined researchers could compose.

The seniors of science research this year are the largest class yet in the history of the program at Warwick, a hopeful sign for the growing popularity of the class and for future scientists.

The annual Science Research Symposium will take place this June 1st at the high school and is a unique experience for community members to discover the work of the science research students. It features the nine senior students presenting their research and their own work within their fields, in addition to time reserved for interacting with sophomore and junior students and their topics and interests. Not only is it a wonderful opportunity to explore the workings of this valuable program, but it is a celebration of the progress of the class, its growth in size, and the dedication of students both male and female to the world of science.

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