YHS students present research

May 20, 2014 

Two Yosemite High School seniors, Kenny Jeffries and Angie Du, were selected to present their psychology experiments during the Stanford University Undergraduate Psychology Conference last Saturday, May 17.

Each year the Stanford Psychology Department promotes psychological science and the professional development of psychology students by facilitating professional networking and the sharing of high-quality psychological research.

Since its inception in 2001, Stanford has hosted nearly 4,500 undergraduate student presenters from 114 schools, 42 states, and 17 countries.

Typically, the committee receives abstracts that are well-written and based on high-quality research. This year, they received 214 submissions. with only about 100 being selected for inclusion in the final program — 20-25 were oral presentations with the remainder presented on posters.

Although this is an undergraduate conference, they do receive a number of abstracts from high school students, and accept a small number of high-quality abstracts from this pool.

These YHS students were selected to give an oral presentation of 14 minutes, with a 5-minute Q & A session following each talk.

Jeffries' experiment was on whether there would be any difference in learning and comprehension if students were face-to-face for the psychology lesson or if the same lesson was transmitted via Skype through distance learning to a class of psychology students at Chowchilla High School.

Du's was whether there is a difference in learning among students who attend a traditional high school (paper and pencil with integrated technology in some subjects) or a digital high school which uses technology solely as a means of subject delivery. The high schools that were tested were Yosemite High School as the traditional school and Minarets as the digital school.

Both students were very excited and nervous at the same time. To be selected was truly an honor, especially since they are still high school students. There were only eight research projects that were selected by the Stanford conference committee to present an oral presentation in the Cognitive Division of research, and two of those were Jeffries and Du.

"I am so proud of these students" said Deborah Brown, International Baccalaureate (IB) Psychology instructor and Science Research Team Coach. "We are very grateful to the committee to allow our high school students to present their research." This is the sixth year students have been invited to present their research at the conference.

"It is the quality of the IB program that prepares these students to be able to present their research alongside undergraduate students from around the world," Brown added. "The pedagogy of scientific design is also taught in the student's IB Biology and IB Math Studies programs. It is the well roundedness of the overall program that prepares students to be advanced enough to participate in such a conference."

YHS principal Randy Seals accompanied the students to the conference. Jeffries and Du were also this year's first and second place winners at the Central California Regional Science Mathematics and Engineering Fair in the Behavioral Sciences division. They advanced to State competition at the end of April.

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