PHS student and teacher receive Regeneron award for scientific research
On January 4, Jiyoung Kang ’17 and Jacqueline Katz, a PHS science teacher, were recognized by Regeneron, a biotechnology company, as part of the annual Regeneron Science Talent Search. The award is given to 300 high school seniors every year, chosen for their outstanding scientific research.
Kang was recognized for her research on Phragmites australis (common reed) and the effect of its invasion on coastal wetlands.
“I found out that [a] Phragmites invasion accelerates methane (a strong greenhouse gas) emission, but that it has a potential for accumulating larger amount of carbon,” Kang said.
Kang’s scientific career began upon her arrival at PHS, where science became a way of adapting to her new home in America. While conducting her scientific work at PHS, Kang has been aided by Katz.
“I like that science is all about the questions and there’s always more to figure out—it’s never stagnant. I love how the students can challenge you, and they’re willing to ask those hard questions and find the answers,” Katz said.
After an unsuccessful final project in biology, Kang conducted an independent study in her sophomore year which enabled her to go to symposiums such as the NJ Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. These achievements inspired her to create the PHS Waksman club, a club dedicated to giving students unique hands-on experiences in the field of molecular biology.
“I love to watch [students] experience the fun [of] exploring the nature of science, and not just memorizing and regurgitating facts,” said Kang. “Regeneron is giving [the] award not only to me but also to the school, so hopefully that money will be spent to further promote interest in STEM.”
Kang is appreciative of the mentorship and resources PHS has provided her, which have enabled her to pursue her scientific research.
“Katz has been with me through all these journeys and I am extremely grateful to have her guidance and support,” said Kang. “I am so lucky to have these resources and opportunities available to me, and I will be forever be indebted to all the mentors who have generously taken me under their wing.”
Princeton professor discusses importance of 2016 election
On January 30, Dr. Julian E. Zelizer visited PHS to discuss the 2016 Presidential Election and its historical comparison to previous elections as well as its impact on the nation.
Zelizer is a Princeton University professor, broadcast journalist, author, and father of PHS students Abigail Goldberg ’19 and Sophia Zelizer ’20.
Zelizer held a forum covering a range of topics including the development of Donald Trump’s campaign and the first weeks of his presidency. Students were able to ask questions following Zelizer’s presentation.
Timothy Campbell, the event coordinator and PHS history teacher, was pleased with the outcome of the discussion.
“I thought [the presentation] was terrific. [Zelizer] did a really good job of bringing in current events that were current to the political dialogue and comparing it to historical presidencies.”
Dr. Rick Miller, another PHS history teacher who came to the presentation, thought that parts of the talk could be applicable to the future in the way Americans consume media.
“This idea of the media and looking at how [Americans] consume information, and how to be good critical thinkers when it comes to the information we are being presented, was something that I took away from the talk,” Miller said.
Some students felt they gained valuable knowledge from the event.
“I learned exactly how Trump was able to beat out Hillary [Clinton] in the election and why his radical policies were so successful with the popular vote,” said Sameer Joshi ’19.
Joshi feels more prepared to vote in the 2020 election with an increased knowledge of American politics.
“I understand the electoral college a little better now and understand how important my vote is, and how the radical conservatives are going to be in place during the next election,” Joshi said.
Zelizer believes that the election has allowed Americans to realize the importance of acknowledging that they are affected by their country’s leadership.
“There’s a lot of cynicism about [whether] it matter[s] who’s elected—does it matter who’s running the government? I think for a lot of people, [the election] has been a wake up call,” Zelizer said.