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Trump’s Reform on Immigration Policies, Pros and Cons

By Jenny Shan, IV Form

Trump’s Reform on Immigration Policies, Pros and Cons

Editor’s Note: For this module in Social Justice class, students worked individually and/or collaboratively on a specific topic related to immigration policy or the refugee crisis. A Final Artifact of Learning (FAoL) should demonstrate understanding of the topic and “answer” the driving question in a comprehensive way.  It should synthesize learning by organizing and applying understanding on the topic/question.

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Gun Control in America: A Nonpartisan Investigation

By Sam Lauten, VI Form

Gun Control in America: A Nonpartisan Investigation

For the entirety of my life, I have been taught that there are good politicians and evil politicians. I have been taught that there is only Democrat and Republican. I grew up in a firmly liberal household, in a liberal state, and attended liberal private schools from kindergarten to my senior year of high school. This is not a criticism of my family, nor is it a criticism of liberal education, rather a recognition of the fact that I have been exposed to very few people that are significantly different than I am. However, this year as I began to look onward to studying political science at college in the fall, there was something that I found deeply troubling about experiencing eighteen years of life without having my own political views truly challenged. Even so, I have always had firm opinions about nearly every issue, even those which I have not necessarily experienced the effects of first hand. An example of one of these issues is gun regulation. (more…)

STEM Fellow: Mitochondrial Disease in C. elegans

By Katherine Hartigan, VI Form

Mitochondrial Disease in C. elegans

Abstract

Mitochondrial disease refers to a class of hundreds of disorders related to the mitochondria that are caused by mutations in either mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear DNA

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(nDNA). These mutations disrupt cellular respiration and the production of ATP, resulting in the overproduction of damaging free radicals. Mitochondrial diseases were once thought to be rare, but links between mitochondrial defects and many diseases of aging have been discovered, making these diseases far more prevalent than previously thought. A cure is nonexistent, and treatments are often individualized or ineffective. Antioxidants, such as Coenzyme Q10, have the ability to neutralize free radicals, making them a logical choice as a dietary supplement for mitochondrial disease patients. In this experiment, the C. elegans mev-1 mutant was used as a model organism for human mitochondrial disease. MitoQ, a reengineered form of Coenzyme Q10 targeted to the mitochondria, was added as a supplement to the diet of mev-1 mutants. The groups of mev-1 mutants were observed and data was collected every 12 hours until their death to determine their approximate lifespan. Following experimentation and data collection, it was found that there was not a significant difference in between the lifespans of the control mev-1 mutants without MitoQ, and the experimental mev-1 mutants with the MitoQ added to their diet. It is necessary to repeat this experiment while collecting data in shorter time intervals than 12 hours in order to draw more accurate conclusions when completing future research. (more…)

Something Less Depressing –– A 10-Minute Play

By Cooper Sarafin, VI Form

Something Less Depressing –– A 10-Minute Play

Editor’s Note: In the VI Form elective “Writing for Actors,” the assignment called for students to write a stageable one act play, beginning with a dramatic problem. Cooper workshopped his play several times in class, culminating in a staged reading at the end of the third window. He then took it upon himself to revise it once more before sending it out to a national forum, “Trade a Play Tuesday” , where another writer read his play and provided feedback.

SOMETHING LESS DEPRESSING

By Cooper Sarafin

Cast of Characters

James: Individual who prefers the company of himself as opposed to that of others. Doesn’t care what others think of him.

Lily: A friendly girl who likes to get to know many people.

Amy: Stereotypical popular student, superficial and self-obsessed.

Opens with a Lone Figure sitting at a lunch table in thought. In the corner is a vending machine. 

Scene 1 

James begins talking into a tape recorder

James:

Such a stigma around this, sitting alone. Why must it be regarded as entirely wrong? As something to be undesired? I see them all sitting together, absorbed in mindless conversation, unstimulating, quite boring in fact. Not to say I haven’t been counted part of them, for that’d be inaccurate. Such times as I have attempted to interact with them I joined only to have been left feeling more alone than I do now. It’s my opinion that sitting here alone, my mind to roam free, is much less lonely than to be trapped in your own head with nothing to say. Isn’t it rather lonely to be the only person who doesn’t seem to care? To be an irrelevant bystander, in close proximity, yet so far removed. For me, to exculpate myself is not a decision, but the only reasonable course of action. For alone by choice is far better than alone by force. (more…)

Original Songwriting and Recording

By Simon Zlystra, Reed Andary, Shep Greene, John Hart, Nick Harrison, and George Littlefield, VI Form

Original Songwriting and Recording

Editor’s Note: These reflections and recordings come from the winter St. Mark’s Saturdays course, “Songwriting and Recording.” The course, taught by Mr. Jason Eslick, covers songwriting and composition in electronic and acoustic mediums while getting students started with the art of recording and production. Students worked to come up with a recorded, mixed, and mastered final project.

Simon Zylstra:

Reed Andary:

Shep Greene:

John Hart:

Nick Harrison:

George Littlefield:   (more…)

STEM Fellows: Fragile X Syndrome in Fruit Flies

By Jenny Deveaux and Samantha Sarafin, VI Form

Peripheral Nervous System Deficits and Social Behavior in Drosophila FMR1 Mutants

1.1 Abstract

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Fragile X syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by a trinucleotide repeat mutation in the FMR1 gene, occurring in one in 4,000 males and one in 8,000 females. The syndrome is characterized by a variety of social, learning, and cognitive deficits specific to each patient. The pathways surrounding the expression of the fragile X phenotype are largely unknown, and there is no current treatment for the disorder. Numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the role of the central nervous system in developmental disorders such as Fragile X Syndrome; however, there is a lack of studies focusing on the role of the peripheral nervous system. In our study, we developed a line of Drosophila melanogaster, using the GAL4-UAS system, that expresses the dFMR1 mutation only in the olfactory sensory neurons, a vital part of the Drosophila’s peripheral nervous system. We conducted aggression and courtship assays to test the social behavior of the peripheral dFMR1 mutants. We compared these behavioral results with the results of control wild-type flies and with Drosophila that have the dFMR1 mutation in their entire anatomy. Our preliminary results suggest that both aggression and courtship should be further researched, as it was found that specific characteristics of each social behavior were impaired in some way. The most noteworthy data that was collected was significantly lower courtship index in the experimental line and a complete lack of dominance of the experimental line in the aggression assay. Because the Drosophila that were genetically crossed using the GAL4-UAS system had the dFMR1 gene silenced in their olfactory sensory neurons, the flies had an abnormality in their ability to detect pheromones, which studies show are the basis of Drosophila social interaction and behavior. (more…)