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PMSA Students Present Final Projects at Research Symposium

May 23, 2014 02:50 PM
Marco Herrera and Carlos Aceves had found that many people simply get new computers when they become outdated, which can get expensive.

To help combat that, they developed a program that can determine what parts a computer will need to remain fully functional. This project, "Computer Upgrade Through Benchmark Optimization," was what helped the two Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy seniors to be named the research scholars of distinction at the seventh annual PMSA Research Symposium on May 15 at PMSA.

Marco’s and Carlos’ project was among the 55 projects completed by 75 seniors and 171 projects completed by 228 juniors as part of the symposium. For the research project, the student, either alone or as part of a group, chose a topic to research. Topics ranged from parental substance abuse and the effect on children and the placebo effect and its effect on teen academic performance to technology and its effect on the developing mind and the relationship between types of light and stain detection. The students then worked with professionals in their field of choice who mentored them on the project.

Ms. Darlene Delaney, a PMSA world languages teacher who coordinated the research symposium with Mr. Matthew Brown, a PMSA music teacher, said that the final posters and presentations that were shown at the symposium had to cover a topic that had not been covered in depth previously.

"We look for students to do original research, something that hasn’t been done before or overdone," Ms. Delaney said. "We’re also looking for a poster that tells the story of their research. It would address the societal impact of their research."

Samantha Sosnowski, a PMSA junior, studied the effect of the media on an adolescent’s body image. She said that young girls and increasingly, boys, focus on how they looked, partially due to cell phones and other electronics.

"It’s always been something that I’ve been interested in," Samantha said of her topic. "I wondered how much effect the media has."

For Marco and Carlos, who worked with Dr. Chris Kanich of the University of Illinois at Chicago computer science department, said that they wanted to create something that would help others as they worked in their chosen field of computer science.

"We feel very honored," said Marco, who plans to put the program online as a free application. "We really wanted to do something in the fields we’re going into."

Dr. Bessie Karvelas, principal at PMSA, said that she was "blown away" by the complexity and thoroughness of the research projects.

"After looking at the research, I was truly blown away," she said. "This is a perfect example of how education does not stop at the school house doors. It does take a village to educate a student."

Congratulations to all PMSA research scholars for their hard work!
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