The Transylvania Times -

Honors Research Course Accepts New Students – Brevard NC

 

Senior Matthew Harris transplants stevia cuttings at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center. Stevia rebaudiana, a plant with naturally sweet leaves, is being investigated for its potential as a new western North Carolina crop.

The TIME Honors Science Research Course is an intensive, inquiry-based school-day course. Students learn about the process of science as they conduct original scientific research into topics of their own choosing – from biology to chemistry to physics to engineering. They are supported by both teacher and scientist mentors as they choose a topic of interest, develop a testable question, design a procedure, collect and analyze data and present their findings.

All Transylvania County high school students (rising 9th – 12th graders) are eligible to apply for the course. Participants will be chosen through an application process that will begin in January of 2014, with applications due by Feb. 6. Course enrollment will be limited. Students will be chosen by an independent selection committee based on their demonstrated interest in science, potential for success in scientific research, and commitment to all components of the course.

Students chosen in 2014 will attend a three-day trip to observe state research competitions in March and a summer field study week prior to the course. The school-day portion of the course will be held during the fall of 2014 in Brevard High School's new Science Research Laboratory. Students will enter their work in one or more science competitions during the winter of 2015.

Why apply for the TIME Honors Science Research Course? Students benefit from doing research projects because they see how science applies to their own lives and community. They learn more about the process of science and what scientists do as they act as co-learners with teachers, scientists and other students. They discover new careers in science. While conducting research projects, students develop independence-no one is telling them exactly what to do or how to do it. They learn how to break down a complex, long-term project into manageable pieces, develop a plan of action, and follow it through. As they conclude their projects, students learn how to communicate their results clearly and persuasively to a variety of audiences as they contribute to the bank of scientific knowledge with their findings.

Students who have conducted long-term research projects are more competitive as they apply for college and scholarships. Top colleges want students who can write as well as possess analytical skills, creativity and a multidisciplinary perspective. Most of all they want people with a capacity for continuous innovation. These are skills gained from conducting original research. Doing a science project and participating in a competition can give students the opportunity to meet and spend time with others from around the world who have similar interests while competing for significant scholarships, travel, monetary awards and other prizes.

Current TIME students have recently completed the following research projects:

• Olfactometer and GC/MS evidence for (E)-2-Hexenal as a semiochemical in the defensive secretions of the kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria (Abby Williams and Carly Onnink);

• Identification of stream diatoms in Transylvania County (Indya Thompson);

• Construction of a smartphone spectrophotometer to determine antioxidant concentrations in plant extracts (Matthew Harris);

• Isolation and identification of endophytes from Chinese chestnut trees and their inhibitory effect on the blight fungus (Justin Coye);

• Evaluation of the invasive plants kudzu and autumn olive as new sources of oils for the production of biodiesel (Sam Farrar, Benton Tynch, and Noah Graham);

• Basis for bidirectional transmission of data and energy between inductive coils (Cade Brinkley);

• Evaluation and bioassay guided fractionation of medicinal extracts from red clover, kudzu and plantain (Erin Smith, Cameron McCathern, and Lizzie Johnson);

• Medical properties in the Cherokee medicinal plants bloodroot and blueberry (Nicole Miller and Emma Moore);

• Chemical screening for VOC producing endophytes in an effort to target biofuel producing fungi (Eliza Witherspoon, Lauren Tooley, and Joe Roberts);

• Development and evaluation of solar collectors constructed from recycled materials (Samuel Kicklighter and Damien LaForenza);

• Antioxidant and anti-tumor extracts from autumn olive and spicebush berries (Lianne Duscio and Garland Joseph).

Current TIME students would like to thank all who have helped with their research during the year including students, teachers, administration, parents, and numerous scientists and community volunteers. Thanks go to 2013 TIME volunteers: Ken Chepenik, Don Wauchope, Ed Shwartzman, Mike Judd, Alan Cameron, Summer Cortinas, Richard Gualandi, Tim Fleming, Susan Fay, Jeanine Davis, Bryan Dubois, David Zumstein, David Williams, Gerry Kilpatrick, Woody Eaton, Cindy Carpenter, Lisa Smith, Eric Caldwell, Laura Patch, Jay Case, Paul Sisco, Judy Coker, Bart Renner, Harriett Walls, Kaitlin McCreery, Erika Williams, and Bruce Roberts. Special thanks go to Dr. Kent Wilcox and Mary Arnaudin, without whose help, guidance, and actions the class could not have been possible!

Senior Indya Thompson uses a phase contrast microscope to view diatoms collected from Little River in DuPont State Forest. Diatom diversity is being investigated as an indication of water quality.

Funds for the TIME Science Research Course are provided in part by a grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund in addition to support from Transylvania County Schools and N.C. Cooperative Extension. Special thanks go to new community donors: N.C. BioNetwork Labs, Kent Wilcox, Ken Chepenik, Ann Farash and Paul Onnink. New donors join the larger group of TIME supporters including the American Association of University Women, Pisgah Forest Rotary Club, PharmAgra, The Robertson Foundation, Merrill Well and Pump Company, Environmental Quality Institute, Roger Frisbee, June Litchfield, Peter Chaveas, Steve and Mary Beth Whitmire, Newell and Mary Wither-spoon, Ed Buckbee, and Kristine and John Candler.

More Information

To apply for the research course, or to indicate an interest in volunteering or donating to the program, contact Jennifer Williams, Brevard High School Science Instructional Leader, at jwilliam@tcs nc.org or (828) 884-4103.

 
 

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