Book Creator

Student Independent Research Symposium

by BCPS Library Media Programs


8th Annual *** 1st Virtual
Student Independent Research Symposium
June 2020
High school students presenting from home
The future belongs to young people who know where the knowledge is, how to get it, how to think about it, and how to turn it into better work, better products, better lives.     
-- Rexford Brown, Educator and Author
Welcome to the Virtual Symposium!
Fran Glick, Coordinator - BCPS Library Media Programs
Students at five BCPS high schools were selected to participate in the Independent Research Seminar elective course this year, based on their commitment to following an advanced research process to conduct in-depth year long research. Student researchers work both collaboratively and independently, with learning facilitated by their library media specialists, faculty advisors, and expert mentors. Using the process and resources in our Research Framework, students are guided to explore an issue or problem, generate a research question, conduct a literature review, write a research proposal, and create a presentation of their conclusions for an audience. Given the spring 2020 school closure, students created and recorded their presentations at home with guidance provided by their library media specialists. Research topics address a variety of subjects and are based on the students' own areas of interest. 
BCPS high school administrators, counselors, and library media specialists interested in offering the Independent Research Seminar to students will find course implementation resources here.
Abstracts & Presentations
Please use the Comment links to share feedback with student researchers.

Use the Full Screen feature to enlarge embedded presentation videos.
Franklin High School
Christie Rigilano, Library Media Specialist
Lena Bell
Max Harris
Matthew Rubinstein

Hereford High School
Suhaila Tenly, Library Media Specialist
Kaitlyn Beyer
Kaitlyn Crowley
Ethan Jacobson

Parkville High School
Melissa Kenney, Library Media Specialist
Rebecca Angin
Perry Hall High School
Colleen Adams, Library Media Specialist
Linna Cui
Mahnoor Sarfraz

Western School of Technology
Tracey Osborne, Library Media Specialist
Falon Gustin
Hafeez Mustafa
Jeffrey Thewsuvat

Teacher Testimonials
Lena Bell
Junior, Franklin High School
De-extinction of the Thylacine 
Currently, thousands of animal species go extinct each year. This is due to a variety of reasons, such as the natural process of out competition and the changing climate cycle. However, due to human interference, species extinctions have accelerated to an unprecedented rate. Human activities such as the expansion of human settlements, targeted hunting, and the spreading of invasive species are all reasons for this acceleration. The effects from humans can, however, be reversed by de-extinction. De-extinction is the process where an extinct species is repopulated. This project seeks to look at ways this process could be carried out through back-breeding or Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT). Choosing a species for the de-extinction process requires some careful selection and the consideration of many issues. An animal that might be a good candidate for the de-extinction process is the Thylacine or Thylacinus cynocephalus. This project will explore the history of this animal and examine some of the positives and negatives of two possible procedures that could be undertaken to bring the Thylacine back, back-breeding and SCNT. With the evidence provided, SCNT will prove to be the more plausible option.  
Max Harris
Junior, Franklin High School
A Look into Topology with a Theory on the Square Peg Problem
In 1911, topology professors Toeplitz and Emch both posed similar conjectures for their students to prove: Does every simple closed curve contain the four vertices of a square on its perimeter? This problem, now dubbed the Inscribed Square Problem, although simply written, has yet to be solved completely. There have been increasingly general limitations that have been applied to provide partial solution sets, but there has yet to be a single general solution. Based on the work of Igor Pak on the inscribed rectangle problem, and the application of related work by Meyerson, this research suggests a new approach to this problem. Like Pak, this involves the use of a three-dimensional projection of a subset of points that lie on the perimeter of the curve. Although a conclusion will be drawn, there has been no rigorous testing applied to the theory to ensure that it holds true in the general case. Use of mathematical models, both algebraic and computational, are needed to verify the theory. This project is meant to provide a new approach to the problem, one that may be applicable to a more rigorous objective proof and widens the view of the problem to more geometric, rather than analytic, perspectives. 
Matthew Rubinstein
Senior, Franklin High School
Campaign Finance Reform Advocacy Guide
Reforming the United States System of Campaign Finance 
The issue of money in politics is not a new one. For centuries wealthy individuals and corporations have tried to use monetary contributions to influence elections. The importance of this issue has, however, been heightened in recent years following the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) to allow corporations unlimited spending to support candidates for office so long as they do not coordinate with the campaigns. Along with this increased opportunity for monetary influence comes significant worry, and concrete evidence that money spent supporting a candidate in an election has an influence on that candidate’s odds of winning an election, and on their subsequent actions in office. With the Court having weighed in on the issue the only way for reform advocates to effect change is through a constitutional amendment. Such an amendment, having already been proposed unsuccessfully in Congress, would require significant organization and advocacy to enact. All of us together will have to learn, take action, and continually advocate in order to protect the sanctity of elections. It is only through this energetic and consistent advocacy that Americans can protect our democracy from being held captive by those with the most money.