Stuyvesant Celebrates Science Night

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Sometimes the benefits of science to the world are unseen or underappreciated. It might be easy to view these advances as a natural and inevitable progression, discrediting those throughout history who made each one possible. With that purpose in mind, Stuyvesant organized a Celebrate Science night to foster interest in this extensive subject and display how it plays into our lives.

The event took place on May 20 in the auditorium Lecture Hall, consisting of 10- to 15-minute presentations by juniors and seniors who participated in the Regeneron Program that Stuyvesant offers to match students with a lab internship. Students discussed current scientific advancements in the world and spoke about the scientific opportunities related to Regeneron, one of them being the Regeneron Talent Search, a national math and science contest. Presentations focused on research projects done by students, mostly out-of-school projects. For example, senior Nina Shin was selected as a semifinalist for this year’s Regeneron competition and her research project was about diabetes mellitus and developing a treatment through molecular intervention.

The fair was organized by science teacher Jason Econome, who teaches the sophomore Regeneron course. However, a problem arose when Mr. Econome was unable to attend the event. “The fair started off a bit slowly as Ms. [Social Studies teacher Jennifer] Suri, who was the substitute faculty advisor, and the student presenters tried to figure out what to do. Eventually, we got the presentations going with each presenter going through their slides and talking about their project for around 10 minutes,” senior Nina Shin said.

In preparation for the fair, presenters arranged presentations to provide a brief explanation of self-collected and organized data. Compared with previous years, this year’s fair took place in a different environment, though there were challenges due to lack of engagement. “In the years before the pandemic, the fair was held in [the] winter and was much more interactive and lively. This year, because the event was held late in the year, there weren't many presenters so we just gave PowerPoint presentations,” Shin said. “It was a little disorganized and slightly underwhelming due to the lack of seniors willing to present.”

Some students’ expectations of the event deviated from reality as the itinerary and instructions were vague. “I think the presenters could've been given more information. I was told that the event would be casual so I could speak freely without having prepared a presentation. However, it was rather formal,” junior Alvin Chen said in an e-mail interview.

Despite the disorganization in this year’s event, students still have hope for the coming years. “This year's science fair was very rushed and last-minute compared to fairs in previous in-person years, so hopefully it'll go better next year,” Shin said.

Nevertheless, the topics of the fair were diverse and offered a broad view of existing sciences. “I enjoyed the diversity of presentations. [...] There [was not only] a diverse range of biology projects (such as immunology, medicine, genetics, and space biology) as well as other branches of science like environmental science, but [...] also a project in the social sciences,” Shin said.

While Celebrate Science Night intended to discuss the science opportunities available to all students, it was specifically targeted toward underclassmen as they may have the least general knowledge about research-related programs. “More than the projects themselves, though, it was great that we were able to talk about our personal journey [in] research and how underclassmen can get involved with research,” Shin said.

Other than the shift in timing, the fair does not seem to have been discouraged by COVID-19. It seems the fair will continue for years to come, teaching many successive generations of students about the opportunities Regeneron has to offer.