Students Participate in National Conference

Students Participate in National Conference

MBS students discuss their research at AMS Conference in Phoenix

On January 7th and 8th, six Morristown-Beard School students traveled with Upper School science teacher Jeffrey Yuhas to Phoenix, Arizona to participate in the 2019 American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting. On Monday, the students presented a poster about sophomore Kimberly Magnotta's project, "Snowflake and Sand Photography: Doing Real Scientific Research in a High School Environment." The students also presented a poster about senior Gena Pike's work with the stream table.

This is the sixth year in a row that Morristown-Beard students have presented at the AMS Annual Meeting, which brings together more than 3,500 scientists, educators, students and other professionals.  This year's MBS student participants were: Michelle Corcoran '19, Michael DeSimone '20, Ethan Kim '19, Kimberly Magnotta '21, Ariana Martino '19, and Evan Zakhary '20.

During Monday's poster session, all of the MBS students led a discussion about Magnotta's long-term research project on snowflake and sand photography.  Her project began a few months ago and has not only helped her learn about snowflakes and sand from a scientific aspect, but has also taught her lessons about the value of perseverance and planning ahead. Much of her work was trial-and-error oriented, and she learned to create her own tripod mechanism and optimal lighting design. She also reached out to friends, family members, and schools around the world to collect samples of sand to photograph.

"I feel like this project has helped me to become a better student and learner," said Magnotta. "By being independent in my work, I realized the importance of taking chances. Therefore, this project is valuable to all who are participating, and I recommend other schools adopt this type of science. I am fortunate to have been given an opportunity to pursue my passion of photography, and combine it with science!"

Magnotta earned high praise for her poster presentation, which was featured in the blog of the American Meteorological Society, "The Front Page."  Read the blog here:

Although Gena Pike was unable to attend the conference, the six MBS attendees presented her poster, “Modeling Erosional Processes of the New Jersey Shore: Doing Real Scientific Research in a High School Environment.”  Her project relied heavily on Morristown-Beard School’s EM3 River Table in the environmental systems laboratory, as well as a Go Pro camera and Vernier Video Physics software.  She used the Go Pro camera to video the sand moving along the river bed. This was then analyzed with the Video Physics software to determine sand and water velocities. 

In their presentation of Pike’s work, the students shared the successes and challenges she faced in the hope of generating ideas and invite input into future experiments for the group.

As a member of the American Meteorological Society, Mr. Yuhas presents regularly at the AMS Annual Meeting, and makes sure that his students take part in the prestigious conference. He said that attending and presenting at the Annual Meeting is an exciting opportunity for high school students. 

"Science is not about being alone in a lab with a textbook; it's about engaging with other people and exchanging ideas," said Mr. Yuhas. "The conference is a tremendous networking opportunity and allows the students to see how meteorology brings together people from a lot of different backgrounds and skill sets."