Livingston High School students are conducting college level scientific research across the globe and getting college credit as part of the high school’s unique Science Research program.

The participating sophomores, juniors and seniors in the research program will discuss what they have accomplished this school year at the 6th Annual Science Research Symposium Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at the high school.

The program gives the participants valuable experience not available at most New Jersey high schools, noted Dillon Cislo, a senior in the program. “We have learned the rigor and dedication required to pursue a career in science,” he said. “We have learned how to understand and explicate scientific articles concerning cutting edge research.”

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The science research program has encouraged senior Connie Chang to pursue a career as a physician. She has already decided to participate in the seven-year medical program at Villanova University, she said.

Todd Waldenberg, a senior, said the program “has really broadened my views of science” and senior Terence An said he liked that “it gave me a lot of freedom to choose my own project.”

Students conducted research on a variety of topics. Senior Benjamin Wang studied the effects of various treatments on the quality of life of children with cerebral palsy, a neural condition that hinders mobility while senior Lauren Wolf looked at the correlation between developmental stuttering and intelligence.

Many of the students enrolled in the program have also won many awards for their work and accomplishments.

LHS Science Department Chairman Brian Carey said LHS is the first high school in the state to sign a partnership with the University of Albany for students to get science research credit.
“I think the program gives students a unique perspective in terms of research,” he said. “I think it does give students an advantage.”

Students do not normally do research until their junior or senior year of college, Carey noted. Graduates of the LHS science research program can start research as freshmen.

“We are very proud of our students in the program,” he said, adding they will make presentations about their research at the symposium Wednesday night.

Students who want to participate in the program apply freshman year by writing an essay, Carey said. The program accepts a maximum of 15 students per grade and currently has 13 seniors, 11 juniors and 10 sophomores. The students select an area of interest and spend their first year in the program researching the topic and presenting papers on it. They spend the second year building on the first year, defining their specific research project and collecting data over the summer. The third year, titled Advanced Research Methods, is the culmination of the program, where students write a research paper and enter many competitions.

The other seniors graduating from the program this year are: Michael Bao, Joel Grebel, Joy Ming, Sharmili Rakhit, Ellika Salari, Katie Simko and Kelly Zhang.