2020 MST Digital Research Symposium

In light of the ongoing disruption that Coronavirus poses to our lives, which includes the cancellation of what would have been our 13th annual MST Research Symposium, we are making available a playlist of selected video presentations of a few senior, sophomore, and freshmen projects (juniors don’t complete formal projects as they prepare for their internships …). We are also including in this description a link to a Drive folder that has ALL of our project study done this year. Great work, Magnetos! Please take a moment to peruse the bounty of their work: 2020 MST Digital Research Symposium

Permanent link to this article: https://chsmstmagnet.com/2020/06/2020-mst-digital-research-symposium/

Research Spotlight: Concrete Fungus Repair

In light of the ongoing disruption that Coronavirus poses to our lives, which includes the cancellation of our annual MST Research Symposium, we are publishing a series of posts on MST students and their research that have been peer selected for excellence.

We asked each group selected to give us info on their abstract, the biggest takeaway from their project study, and something they are excited about for the upcoming year, as well as a few photos.  This post covers work done by MST sophomores Pauline Do, Natalie Ge, and Nels Martin.

ABSTRACT: Currently, societies everywhere are refilling fractures in cement for sidewalks, buildings, and other structures by hand, which can be a dangerous and costly job. During cement production, CO₂ is released when calcium carbonate is thermally decomposed, which contributes to the greenhouse effect. Trichoderma reesei (T. reesei) is a fungus with the ability to secrete calcium carbonate (CaCO₃) as a product of its metabolic processes. T. reesei can be incorporated into cement to heal structural damage by lying dormant until its incubating cement is damaged. As the fungus is exposed to moisture and oxygen from the external environment, it will germinate and produce CaCO₃ to repair the fracture and then form spores again once the crack has been sealed. The purpose of this experiment is to gather more information on the efficiency of this procedure by incorporating different amounts of T. reesei into cement. This experiment found that cement infused with 4 mL of a T. reesei nutrient broth solution was able to begin healing itself within the time allotted for our experiment.  Read about their findings here: The Healing Capabilities of Trichoderma Reesei in Concrete.

When asked about their biggest takeaways from their project study this year, they said,  “Our biggest takeaway from this year’s project study was that experiments or projects may experience unexpected setbacks, and although things may not go entirely as planned or events out of your hands may fall though, it is important to persevere and continue to the best of your abilities. For example, the fungus we needed to conduct our experiment was delayed from arriving for several months, so we definitely had to make some adaptations to our plan to accommodate this change.”

As for next year, they said, “We are excited to start our internships. We are hoping to gain more hands-on experience in fields that we are interested in. The process of looking for internships may be difficult at first but all of us are very excited to see how real labs work. We are excited to learn from researchers who have much more experience and knowledge than we do and try to apply our knowledge in our future careers and further education.”

Permanent link to this article: https://chsmstmagnet.com/2020/06/research-spotlight-concrete-fungus-repair/

Research Spotlight: Music Transcription with A.I.

In light of the ongoing disruption that Coronavirus poses to our lives, which includes the cancellation of our annual MST Research Symposium, we are publishing a series of posts on MST students and their research that have been peer selected for excellence.

We asked each group selected to give us info on their abstract, the biggest takeaway from their project study, and something they are excited about for the upcoming year, as well as a few photos.  This post covers the work done by MST sophomores Ashton Doane, Chris Spencer, and Sunny Wang.

Abstract: Sophomores Ashton Doane, Chris Spencer, and Sunny Wang conducted research on the applicability of neural networks to music transcription. Music transcription is the task of taking some audio and creating sheet music, a notation of how to play it on an instrument. The overall goal of the project was, “to achieve great accuracy in transcribing polyphonic music through machine learning, hopefully having a higher maximum potential for transcription than humans.” Using some key insights into the inner workings of musical structure, they created multiple models to attempt to increase accuracy. Their results can be found here: Automating Music Transcription with Artificial Intelligence.

When asked about their biggest takeaways from their project study this year, they said it “…  was that a lot of preparation work must be done to effectively finish a task, yet there still needs to be room for adjustment when things go off course. Making sure that you can make a plan and stick to it without cheating or taking days off makes sure that you can finish a project.”

As for next year, they said, “Internships are approaching, which is very exciting, as they give an opportunity to work in a real scientific environment. The real excitement here is in getting new ideas and seeing if a certain job is a good fit for people. The opportunity to both try out a job and meet new people is a great advancement in life.”

Permanent link to this article: https://chsmstmagnet.com/2020/06/research-spotlight-music-transcription-with-a-i/

Research Spotlight: Dyeing Cloth with Bacteria

In light of the ongoing disruption that Coronavirus poses to our lives, which includes the cancellation of our annual MST Research Symposium, we are publishing a series of posts on MST students and their research that have been peer selected for excellence.

We asked each group selected to give us info on their abstract, the biggest takeaway from their project study, and something they are excited about for the upcoming year, as well as a few photos.  This post covers the work done by MST freshmen Anabel Jiang and Lena Trieu.

Abstract: There’s an issue with the current fashion industry, millions of gallons of toxic wastewater from dyeing clothes are released each year, polluting our waterways and surrounding environments. To combat this, scientists are looking into natural and environmentally friendly dye alternatives, that are also colorfast and produce a wide array of colors. We tested with the bacteria Micrococcus luteus, a yellow, carotenoid pigment-producing species. By using different growing and application techniques on both cotton and silk, we attempted to find an efficient and effective method that would be more applicable to large scale practices. By doing this, we are taking one step closer to a sustainable cloth dyeing future. Read about their findings here: Dyeing Cloth with Bacteria

When asked about their biggest takeaways from their project study this year, they said it “… was probably that choosing a project that you are really passionate about and genuinely interested in is really important, and if you put in the effort and time, you can achieve a lot, possibly more than you originally expected”

As for next year, they said, “We are probably most excited about being able to continue looking into various research projects, whether they are related to our current project or not. It will be really interesting to explore new ideas and be able to use and apply the skills we learned this year to next year.”

Permanent link to this article: https://chsmstmagnet.com/2020/06/research-spotlight-dyeing-cloth-with-bacteria/

Research Spotlight: Mealworm Plastics

In light of the ongoing disruption that Coronavirus poses to our lives, which includes the cancellation of our annual MST Research Symposium, we are publishing a series of posts on MST students and their research that have been peer selected for excellence.

We asked each group selected to give us info on their abstract, the biggest takeaway from their project study, and something they are excited about for the upcoming year, as well as a few photos.  This post covers work done by MST Freshmen Stefanie Valent-Musleh, Ava Wagner, Emma Sadewasser, and Paige Frawley

Abstract: Plastic is a major pollutant that contributes to ecosystem destruction throughout the world. For this reason, finding a way to degrade plastic is imperative. Most studies indicate that mealworms are able to degrade polyethylene, but not at a fast enough rate to combat pollution. However, our research aimed to see if chemically modifying plastics by adding organic materials that are common food sources of mealworms, leads to an increase in the rates in which they can degrade plastic. After several trials, we discovered that the mealworms consumed the modified plastic at higher rates than the unmodified plastic, showing plastic has the potential to become a sustainable and clean method of reducing plastic pollution. Read more about their project study here: Mealworm Plastics 

“Our biggest takeaway from this year is that time management is very important. When performing an experiment, you need to understand what needs to be accomplished, and when those tasks need to be completed. Not having good time management skills can ultimately lead to tasks being rushed and/or not completed by deadlines. Towards the end of our experiment, our group worked towards making a strict schedule that we would follow in order to complete our project on time.”

As for next year, the team reported that they “… are excited to investigate other areas of science in order to further our knowledge about various fields and develop solutions to modern problems facing our world. We’re also looking forward to incorporating biological principles into our upcoming projects. Furthermore, we are eager to strengthen our relationships with the rest of the magnet community.”

 

Permanent link to this article: https://chsmstmagnet.com/2020/05/research-spotlight-mealworm-plastics/

Senior Spotlight: Thomas Hull

In light of the ongoing disruption that Coronavirus poses to our lives, which includes the cancellation of our annual MST Research Symposium, we are publishing a series of posts on seniors and their research that have been peer selected for excellence.

We asked each selected student to give us info on their abstract, the biggest takeaway from their internship, and something they were excited about for the upcoming year, as well as a few photos.  This post covers MST senior Thomas Hull

Mr. Hull completed his internship through Operation Wallacea, at their research site along the Yarapa River in the Peruvian Amazon. He helped conduct point counts for six species of Ara and Orthopsittaca macaws, which are important indicators of the health of the rainforest. Comparing the data collected from the unprotected Yarapa site to the data collected in 2018 from the nearby Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, he was able to assess the effectiveness of reserves like Pacaya-Samiria. Read all about his work here: Araand Orthopsittaca Macaw Populations in the Peruvian Amazon

When asked about what he learned in his internship, he had this to say: “One of the main reasons why I chose this internship was because I had always been interested in field biology as a possible career. This was kind of a test run in field biology for me, and while conducting authentic field research with some of the most kind and knowledgeable biologists I have ever met, I realized that I could see myself doing this for the rest of my life. Now, because of my experience in Peru, I am officially pursuing field biology as a career!”

As for next year, he reports that he’s “… most excited about studying Biological Sciences at Montana State University in Bozeman. I’ve lived in Camas my whole life, so I’m ready to branch out and see what Montana has to offer…which hopefully includes lots of birds!”

Permanent link to this article: https://chsmstmagnet.com/2020/05/senior-spotlight-thomas-hull/

Senior Spotlight: Chloe Higgins

In light of the ongoing disruption that Coronavirus poses to our lives, which includes the cancellation of our annual MST Research Symposium, we are publishing a series of posts on seniors and their research that have been peer selected for excellence.

We asked each selected student to give us info on their abstract, the biggest takeaway from their internship, and something they were excited about for the upcoming year, as well as a few photos.  This post covers MST senior Chloe Higgins.

Ms Higgins completed her internship with MarriageTeam, a non-profit organization that focuses on coaching couples to improve or prepare for their marriages. Her research included compiling and analyzing data measuring different couples’ experimentally defined abuse levels and their relative amount of success in coaching. This research contributed to the ongoing question as to whether coaching, as opposed to counseling, is a feasible solution to abusive marriages. The conclusions of her research are detailed here: Marriage Coaching as a More Viable Solution to Combat Abusive Marriages

When asked about the biggest takeaway she drew from her internship, she said, “The biggest takeaway I got from my internship was to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. If you feel like you’re not going to be good at something, that’s only more reason to try, and eventually you’ll learn. The dread you feel now is almost always unnecessary. Confidence is key. Also, take pictures at your internship, PLEASE.”

As for next year when she’s studying at Pepperdine University, she reports that she’s ” … most excited about exploring all of the opportunities available for me in my new environment, be it career, volunteer, academic, or extracurricular related. College is the perfect time to really discover what you are passionate about and what your core ideals are. I’m very excited to grow in any and all ways!!”

Permanent link to this article: https://chsmstmagnet.com/2020/05/senior-spotlight-chloe-higgins/

MST Grad Monica Chang Helps Pioneer CovEd

We recently heard from 2019 CHS/MST grad Monica Chang who is studying at Harvard this year. As per normal, she’s networking and creating opportunities for people. Here’s what she had to say:

“I’m currently helping lead an initiative called CovEd to connect low-income K-12 students with undergraduate and postgraduate students for free virtual tutoring during these months. Our vision is to encourage and empower students who may be struggling with online schooling because of limited access to resources and technology or because of a difficult home situation. We also hope to minimize the extra work placed on teachers because of the transition to online classes. We currently have more than 1000 mentor volunteers so far from universities like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and MIT, and we’ve started tutoring sessions for over 400 students. You can find us on MIT’s Rapid Innovation Dashboard, or on our website www.coved.org! Please feel free to forward this resource on to any students you think are struggling/dealing with difficult home situations at this time.”

Permanent link to this article: https://chsmstmagnet.com/2020/05/mst-grad-monica-chang-helps-pioneer-coved/

Senior Spotlight: Sarah Chesley

In light of the ongoing disruption that Coronavirus poses to our lives, which includes the cancellation of our annual MST Research Symposium, we are publishing a series of posts on seniors and their research that have been peer selected for excellence.

We asked each selected student to give us info on their abstract, the biggest takeaway from their internship, and something they were excited about for the upcoming year, as well as a few photos.  This first post covers MST senior Sarah Chesley.

Ms. Chesley completed her internship at OHSU’s Balance Disorders Laboratory. She collected and analyzed human subject data on the intersection of fatigue and balance impairment in people with multiple sclerosis. Using motion tracking sensors, her team observed several fatigue-sensitive measurements that signified exacerbated balance impairments in people with MS. Read more on her research here: The Impact of Multiple Sclerosis Related Fatigue on Pre-existing Gait and Balance Impairments

When asked about the biggest takeaway she drew from her internship, she said, “My mentor was expecting a baby very soon, so within a week or two I had taken over her role in data collection almost entirely. Though we as students have less experience, we shouldn’t underestimate the skills we already have, but approach new opportunities with confidence.”

As for next year and fall, she’s most excited about “… studying at UCLA’s Samueli School of Engineering for Bioengineering and living in Los Angeles, one of the most diverse cities in the world … I’m also going to be living 20 minutes from Santa Monica, so I’m looking forward to beach trips and warm weather.” 

Congratulations on the successful internship and your impending graduation from high school, Sarah!

Permanent link to this article: https://chsmstmagnet.com/2020/05/senior-spotlight-sarah-chesley/

WSSEF in the Age of Covid: MST Jrs. Succeed!

The Washington State Science and Engineering Fair was held virtually this year due to COVID-19. Students presented their work to judges via Zoom breakout sessions. MST juniors Gareth Starratt and Justine Pendergraft competed with their project, Implementing Visual and Thermal Imaging Techniques for Disease and Invasive Species Analysis in Forestry. They were picked to represent Washington State at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.  Regeneron ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition with 1,800 young entrepreneurs and innovators from 80+ countries worldwide. Sadly, though, this year’s ISEF has been canceled, but way to go, Gareth and Justine!

MST juniors Gareth Starratt and Justine Pendergraft shown here at an earlier, pre-Covid qualifying fair.

Permanent link to this article: https://chsmstmagnet.com/2020/04/wssef-in-the-age-of-covid-mst-jrs-succeed/