By Michelle Li ’17 and Jenna Palme ’17
Moving onto nationals, Kai Saunders ‘16 has gained recognition in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium for her project “Urban Soils: Metal Content in Artifacts”.
On February 27, Saunders took part in the regional finals and won. Now she is advancing to nationals in Dayton, Ohio from April 27 to 30.
Saunder’s journey began in a research class at Midwood, where Ms. Shaniece Mosley introduced her to the JSHS competition. The inspiration for her project was gained at an internship at Brooklyn College. Saunder was under the guidance of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng and Dr. Hermaine Huot in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Saunders said, “Hermaine was like a mother to everyone.” She continued to explain that Huot guided everyone with their projects, as it was more than just Saunders in the internship.
The project began as Saunders and other researchers studied the papers of Richard V. Pouyat and El Khalil. These papers were on topics similar to what she went on to research for her project. It inspired her and informed her a lot on urban soil and the metal contents.
Saunders met up with her professors on a weekly basis, around twice a week depending on her lacrosse schedule. She managed her time wisely and had a weekly plan. Ms. Mosley, Saunders’ research mentor, monitored her project by checking on her research logbook when Midwood research students meet up once a week.
Ms. Mosley would ask her research students to explain their projects to her. If they are able to, then it is implied that the students understood their topic fully and can present their projects elsewhere.
“When the research is out of my field one of the easiest things I can do is have the students explain to me what they are doing because they can relate their research to anyone in any discipline when they share their findings. I also think having students explain their research to me ensures that they really understand the concepts and the experimental procedures associated with their projects,” said Ms. Mosley.
As Ms. Mosley sees how her students have changed, she is proud to see them establish better communication skills and become successful in their research. This includes Saunders, as she proceeds on to nationals.
“I am glad to see my students grow as individuals and see their hard work pay off. They far exceeded my expectations, by just being able to stand in front of their peers and other scientists and a talk at length about their research is astonishing feat,” she continued.
Through the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, her public speaking improved and she gained confidence. She was able to meet other researchers and learn about their experiences from their own project.