Conducting Research in State-of-the-Art Center

Inspired student-researchers at Babylon Junior-Senior High School have been conducting authentic research in a state-of-the-art facility this school year, due in large part to a generous donation made by resident Theresa Patnode Santmann. Mrs. Santmann made a $270,000 donation on behalf of the Theresa Patnode Santmann Foundation to redesign the high school’s previous art room into a new laboratory.

During a recent session of the 12th-grade research class, taught by Claire Birone, the students provided Mrs. Santmann and members of the administration with an up-close look at the projects they are completing.

Jed Dale and Max Pitagno explained their project, "The Bioremediation of HFCs Utilizing Scendesmus Algae in a Titanium Dioxide-Activated Charcoal Solution." The students discussed how they are using treated algae to break down HFCs (car coolants) into nontoxic chemicals inside the algae themselves, while displaying the device they created to accomplish this task.

Emily Brown, Sara Mikovic and Meredith Wardell spoke about their project, "The Effects of the Derived Organic Pesticide Amygdalin on the Growth Rate of Plants.” The small group discussed how they are using a chemical extracted from apricot kernels, which they proved last year is effective against termites. They are now investigating how plants are able to survive when exposed to this same chemical.

The students within the research program plan on entering their projects into this year’s Long Island Science and Engineering Fair and New York State Science and Engineering Fair, both of which are Intel-affiliated fairs.

The school’s science research program continues to be of growing interest to students in grades 8-12, and the new facility has helped to enhance group and independent research skills.