A Love of Science: Connecting Schools Across Cambridge

January 24, 2017 at 12:45 pm
CRLS High School students gathered in the auditorium for presentations based on the various intersects of science.

    In Cambridge Rindge and Latin School’s (CRLS) auditorium, a common thread brought together both alumni of CRLS and Harvard with current high school faculty and students: recognizing how their alma maters sparked their interest in scientific research.
    A collaboration between Harvard University and CRLS marine science teacher Paul McGuinness, the wittingly-coined event, CRLS R.A.P.s, (Research Academic Presentations) aimed to share the ongoing research of CRLS alumni and Harvard affiliates with current 9-12th graders. Simulating the well-known “Ted Talks” framework—short yet powerful stories connecting ideas and exploration—the mini presentations stemmed from greater fields of physics, chemistry, biology, and ecology that were then delivered to the audience through relatable and captivating presentations.
    With two students from Paul McGuinness’s marine biology class standing in as MCs, each of the eight speakers worked to engage the student-filled auditorium during the second and fourth periods of the school day. Some questions proposed and discussed included: How do interference waves make color in organisms like beetles, birds, and plants? Why do non-breeding clownfish males continue to stick around their host anemones? What can we learn from Ecuador as one of the most biodiverse countries in the world? How can scientists learn about the Earth’s past climates through florescence within the life of a planktic foraminifera’s shell? While some research topics tapped into theories that might stem above a high school level science curriculum, the CRLS and Harvard alumni speakers crafted their ideas palatable and intriguing for the students listening.
    Carina Fish, a CRLS 09’ and Harvard College ’13 graduate, reminisced about returning to her school, and to Cambridge.  “I walked through two of my schools’ campuses this morning. The cold weather helped a bit too with the feeling of being back.” Carina earned a joint degree from Harvard College 2013, in Earth and planetary sciences & environmental science and engineering. She is currently a doctoral student at the Department of Earth and Physical Sciences at the University of California Davis.