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Category Archives: 7th Season: 2019-2020

Minecraft St. Mark’s: An Engineering Final Project

By Blake Gattuso, Nate King, Aditya Mynampaty, William Osborne, VI Form; and Tommy Flathers, V Form

Minecraft St. Mark’s: An Engineering Final Project

Promotional Video Illustrating the Group’s Minecraft Work

Minecraft. What was once just a video game to us became this Engineering team’s means of production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The original goal of our group was to build a platform (Image 1) through the Cross Country team’s “Grove of Champions.” It would encourage spectators to make the hike into the course and allow them plenty of space to stay out of the way of the race while also providing a great, elevated place to take pictures of the runners. We went to work designing the platform, buying the materials, and we finished construction of the deck’s main frame; we expected to finish our observation platform once we returned from March Break.  COVID-19, however, interrupted our plans. As we could no longer congregate at school, we did what engineers do and looked for another solution. Could we build the deck virtually?

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“Waves”: A Short Story

By Yevheniia Dubrova, VI Form

“Waves”: A Short Story

Editor’s Note: The following short story was submitted as a final project in “The Rise of the Short Story: Creative Short Fiction Writing.”

Before Pat was born, my mother and I used to talk. She let me sleep in her bed when dad worked night shifts, and although I never really understood what his job was, I knew it was some kind of important thing because he worked a lot, and that says something. It didn’t bother me much back then, and sometimes, I even wished he would stay at work more often so that I could sleep at my mom’s. She left orange peels on her nightstand until they dried out and wrinkled up. My dad would say they look like pork rinds and throw them away, but it smelled like Christmas, and I liked it. Her bed was solid and soft at the same time, and I swear I could drown in her heavy blankets and crisp linens. We rarely cuddled — mom doesn’t like cuddling — but she talked to me about all sorts of things, and her voice would always put me to sleep, even though I tried to stay awake for as long as possible to listen to her some more.

She didn’t talk much about her youth, except for that one time she told me about finding her mother’s book on childbirth. She saw the pictures. The pictures must have made a lasting impression on my mom because she swore to never have a baby. I asked her if the real thing was as bad as the pictures. She said if she had known it would be that bad, she would never have had me in the first place. She then brushed my hair with her fingers and said she was glad she had me after all, but that birth thing was really bad.

“Can you imagine? All that pain and blood? And with a head like yours… Oh, sweet Jesus Christ, I thought you were going to rip my hips apart!” 

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Classical Diploma Mosaics

By Illia Rebechar and Emily Taylor, VI Form

Classical Diploma Mosaics

Note: Each year students who are taking Greek II and have also taken three years of Latin work together throughout the spring to present a project at the end of the year to receive their Classical Diplomas. This year the project was driven by the question: How is the study of Classical languages and cultures still relevant to the 21st-century learner? Students worked through rounds of brainstorming over Zoom and ultimately ended with a project that would use a classical art form, mosaic pieces, to communicate the relevance of classical influences all around us.

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The Impact of Black Sesame Pigment on Drosophila Melanogaster with Alzheimer’s Disease

By Ally Bauer, VI Form

The Impact of Black Sesame Pigment on Drosophila Melanogaster with Alzheimer’s Disease

My project for the STEM Fellowship was studying the impact of black sesame pigment on drosophila melanogaster with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects over 44 million people worldwide. One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease are amyloid-beta plaques that form in between the neurons and disrupt cell communication and function. Black sesame pigment, derived from black sesame seeds, has been proven to reduce the aggregation of these plaques in vitro studies. Drosophila melanogaster, or fruit flies, are wonderful model organisms that are utilized for their quick reproduction rate, easily manipulated genome, and the relation its genome has with humans. For my experiment, I was able to track the progression of memory loss in flies with Alzheimer’s disease. I had multiple groups to show me if greater concentrations of black sesame pigment would slow the progression of memory loss in the flies. Although the results of the experiment proved my null hypothesis to be correct, I now have a greater understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease, the scientific method, and having control over what I learn and how I learn it. I am incredibly grateful for Ms. Lohwater, Mr. Loomer, Mr. Valitutto, and the five other STEM Fellows who have mentored me, shaped my project, and problem solve throughout the year. 

Ally’s Video, for which she earned 2nd Place at the MSEF!
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The Journey: Structuring Travel Between Limol and Daru, An Advanced Studies in Global Citizenship Capstone

By Illia Rebechar, Kian Sahani, Naila Strong, VI Form; and Lina Zhang, V Form

The Journey: Structuring Travel Between Limol and Daru, An Advanced Studies in Global Citizenship Capstone

Note: This capstone was completed for Advanced Studies in Global Citizenship, a course required for completion of a Global Citizenship Diploma.

The capstone project assigned to the class was presented as an opportunity to develop an “empathetic response to a global challenge.” Our group, made up of Illia Rebechar, Kian Sahani, Naila Strong, and Lina Zhang, focused particularly on Papua New Guinea, and we looked into health and healthcare as our challenge. In order to build upon our culturally-relative mindsets, we had to move through the project using the design thinking process. This was comprised of five fluid steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Due to the limits of COVID-19, we were unable to “test” our prototype. We were able to learn more about Papua New Guinea and approach challenges we are not familiar with.

View the Group’s Capstone Project!
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DIYBaseball: Extension Through Contact

By Brett Federico, VI Form

DIYBaseball: Extension Through Contact

During the Spring Semester, I worked alongside Mr. Bauer in Engineering to develop inexpensive alternatives to popular baseball training aids on the market today. Upon completion, I produced an eight minute video that explains my product’s effectiveness and incorporates coaching cues for those using it. This product in particular teaches players how to properly extend their hands after contact, creating more consistent results. Depending on the location of the pitch, the audible “click” of the baseball should come between the shortstop and the second baseman. Mr. Bauer pushed me to develop a universal training aid for this project, as my previous products were developed to suit an athlete my size. My original design incorporated a fence, a rope, a 25lb weight, two rock-climbing clips, and 6 Wiffle balls, so as you can imagine, there was a lot of trial and error to get to the product that you see in the video! 

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