Oh, the places they’ll go


Ariana Aldape

Ben Kittleson presents his AP Research project on antibiotic stewardship at the AP Research Showcase.

What class would allow seniors Morgan Klug to focus on VR film and its effects on emotional responses in seventh-graders, Gabi Martin on quality of care in pregnant black women, Jake Yasonik on multiobjective de novo drug design to reduce costs of drug discovery and Cat Seiberlich on childhood abuse in sexually sadistic serial killers? AP Research is an AP Capstone class where senior students explore a topic or problem they are passionate about and contribute their own findings to the existing professional body of research.
Students who typically take this class are “ambitious, stressed, competitive, and a bunch of control freaks.” Gabi Martin, senior, said. Students taking AP Research are required to do extensive designing and planning for a two-trimester research project centered on their topic. The range of projects in this year’s class is very wide.
“It’s an incredible class for students that have a very specific passion because they get a chance to spend time researching something they really care about. Not many other classes give you an opportunity like this.” Mr. Eric Bauer, AP Seminar teacher, said. Homestead has many classes that have independent aspects, but none reach the level of independence for students that AP Research does.
This class allows students to have a choice in what they want to learn more about. “I want to study criminology in college, and Homestead doesn’t offer many classes that allow me to study it. AP Research has given me the opportunity to study criminals in a way that interests and challenges me,” Seiberlich said. Through her process, she has had to be granted access to the Radford/FGCU serial killer database. Gabi Martin has to present her project to the UWM Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) in order to establish that she is conducting ethical research.
“These projects are incredible. They’re like a glimpse into the future. These students are going to be the leaders of the world one day,” Annie McCormick, senior, said.
Some projects aim to make a difference in the real world.
“I’m hoping to get in touch with pharmaceutical researchers and industry professionals to get an even better view of the current pharmaceutical landscape. Hopefully, my paper can add to other research being done in the field and play a tiny part in advancing our current methods,” Yasonik, said. To conduct research, he has created an artificial intelligence model and fed information from a dataset made by the European Bioinformatics Institute. This dataset consists of millions of molecules along with their properties. Yasonik’s research could impact the way the world and pharmaceutical companies develop drugs, making much more efficient medical advances.
Martin’s goal is “to begin to eliminate mental health disparities between races and make an effort to improve the healthcare system.” This is just the beginning of their potential.

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