• Rachel Bernstein

Science Scholars Spotlight

The Science Scholars at Edgemont are hard at work. Science Scholars is an elective course offered to students in tenth through twelfth grade. The program requires students to find a mentor in a STEM field they want to study. After finding a mentor, they pick an intensive project. Most students dedicate parts of their summers to completing this project. Students have worked in a variety of places, from labs to government offices. Science Scholars work independently and get hands-on knowledge and real-world experience. In addition to their project, their classwork includes creating research plans and reading articles about their topic. This program includes quarterly presentations, summer reading, intensive research, participation in science competitions, and participation in Science Scholars Symposium.


“Seeing the kids do their own research and work on their presentation is the best and most enjoyable part of the class.”

Ms. Dardis, the teacher for Science Scholars, is new this year. She says, “seeing the kids do their own research and work on their presentation is the best and most enjoyable part of the class.” This course is an elective credit, so students are still able to take a science class as well. If you are interested in finding out more information about Science Scholars, ask your guidance counselor!



Spotlight on Three Edgemont Science Scholars:

Vivien Wong, a junior, has been testing two new fungicides on their effectiveness at treating a disease called powdery mildew in Ida Red apples. Her goal was to test if these two fungicides would be effective as a replacement to the conventional fungicides, which the disease has become increasingly resistant to. Her mentor, Srdjan Acimovic, has a lab in Virginia which Vivien traveled to for a few weeks over the summer. She helped him with sampling and data collection. Vivien chose this topic because of her interest in gardening. This field experience gave her knowledge of how the process works.


Ronik Malik, a junior, has been working with a mentor from the Federal Reserve studying how sustainable investing (or ESG investing) performs in the stock market. If people invest in certain stocks just because the company is sustainable, economic disruption might follow because these companies' prices would increase due to their environmental impact instead of their financial impact. Over the past couple of months, Ronik has studied The Standard and Poor's 500, (or the S&P 500), which is a stock market index that tracks the performance of 500 large stocks.


Ronik found that two industries in which the green stocks had a positive correlation with the daily price increase, were in the energy sector and the utility sector But in the rest of the 500 stocks, there was an overall pattern showing the more green the stock was, the worse it performed. Previous studies from the Federal Reserve board had shown the opposite of this, and his hypothesis is that COVID is the reason for this change.


The Regeneron Science Talent Search “provides students a national stage to present original research and celebrates the hard work and novel discoveries of young scientists who are bringing a fresh perspective to significant global challenges.”

Nishi Uppuluri, a senior, combined her love of science and English in her project. Her project was selected as one of the top 300 best research papers submitted in the 81st Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS). The Regeneron Science Talent Search “provides students a national stage to present original research and celebrates the hard work and novel discoveries of young scientists who are bringing a fresh perspective to significant global challenges.” The three hundred scholars selected and their schools each received $2,000. Nishi was one of the 1,805 applicants who applied. STS has been a program of Society for Science since 1942 and is the nation’s oldest science and math competition for high school seniors.


Nishi’s goal was to help elementary school students improve their writing skills by using artificial intelligence to power an online writing tool that gives immediate feedback. She ran a study, recruiting 77 students from five to 10 years old to test her AI project. During the study, half the kids would get writing feedback only from teachers and the other half would get feedback from the tool she coded. The study was a total of ten months. Nishi enjoyed helping the students gain skills and confidence.