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of the event.
Dr. Cynthia Daniels, a PMSA science teacher who coordinated the symposium with Ms. Darlyne Delaney, PMSA research mentorship teacher, Mr. Matt Brown, PMSA research mentorship teacher, Ms. Charlene Broxton, a PMSA science teacher, and Mr. Ed Moyer, executive director of assessment and planning for District 209, said that students wrote a 25- to 42-page paper on their research topics. The topics, presentations, and posters that were displayed in the halls of the top four floors of PMSA had to show the methods of research, a discussion and the students’ findings.
"It’s a really big deal," Dr. Daniels said. "We just want them to see the full process."
Students had varying reasons for choosing their particular research topics.
Ryan Briones, a PMSA senior, researched the physical, psychological, and ethical effects of Marine Corps recruit training. Planning to enlist in the Marine Corps in July, Ryan interviewed his recruiter, Sergeant Zach Testa, who was at PMSA Monday to help Ryan present his project. Ryan also interviewed 50 Marines on their thoughts on the recruit training.
"I read a story that said a lot of recruits don’t know what they’re getting into," he said. "[My research] can have a net effect on attribution. It informs and helps recruits and helps them stay in boot camp. Recruiters can use this for aspiring Marines.
Fellow seniors Christopher Hall and Marissa Harrington researched the effect of color on impulse buying. Christopher said he had always wondered about what affected people’s buying decisions. Through research, he and Marissa determined pricing, sales and color could affect those decisions. Color in particular, according to scientific journals, causes an impulse in shoppers that makes them inclined to purchase certain items on the spot.
"I think our project could help small businesses and larger business such as J.P. Penney and McDonald’s," Christopher said. "It really affects teens because we are more affected by color due to a lack of shopping experience."
Ms. Kim Echols, principal at PMSA, said the research symposium was a huge success.
"PMSA juniors and seniors did a phenomenal job of publicly defending their research in a scholarly manner," Ms. Echols said. "Board members, parents, students, and mentors had the opportunity to attend a breakfast, and witness students defending their work. The students did an excellent job of collecting data and reporting their findings in a professional manner. The experiences that our students gain from the research symposium prepare them for conducting research at the college level."
Ms. Echols also noted that the top two research scholars this year were Christina Bolek and Erin Belk.
"These young ladies are to be commended for continuing their research work and having the confidence and skill to defend their work publicly," Ms. Echols said.
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that the research symposium has become one of the big learning events of the year at PMSA.
"A lot of work goes into researching what can be complicated topics for students," she said. "The students have shown that they can work hard and apply what they have learned on topics that are of interest to them and to others. In addition, the partnership between approximately 80 professionals who serve as research-mentors for our students throughout the year is quite exemplary."