Yosemite wins five medals at science, mathematics, and engineering fair

In August of 2014 the International Baccalaureate (IB) 14 second year psychology students started their senior year. A large part of the school year would involve creating and carrying-out experiments as part of their required internal assessments for the IB program in psychology.

In addition, they would also be part of the Yosemite High School Research team and compete at the regional fair with hopes to compete at the state level in the Behavioral Sciences Division.

Now that the school year begins to wind down, all the hard work and dedication of these students has paid off, with three of the 14 moving on to compete in the State Behavior Science competition.

Among the winners, Kelsi Stiler took second place with her experiment on the Effects of Instant Messaging or Video Messaging on Reading Comprehension Using an ACT® Standardized Reading Test, which tested whether or not students could focus effectively on the test and be interrupted at the same time. She found there were no differences between those that were interrupted and those that were not.

Olivia Pearson and Jessica Tanoury placed third with experiments that investigated the Effects of Computer Based Note-Taking or Longhand Note-Taking on Memory Recall Using SAT II Standardized Biology Subject Test Questions and the Effect of Text Messaging during a University Lecture on Memory Recall as Measured by a Standardized Memory Test.

Pearson found no differences between note-taking styles and Tanoury found a significant difference between those students who were text messaged during a lecture and those who were not, which were reflected on their test scores.

Fourth place went to Sophie Grace O’Meara and Kyle Kingsland. Their respective experiments were the Effects of Yoga Meditation on a CST English Language Arts Comprehension Test and the Effects of Computer Based and Paper Based Formats on Test Scores when Taking a Multiple Choice California Common Core Math Functions Practice Test. Both experiments showed no significant difference.

Stiler, Pearson and Tanoury will move on to the state level and compete in the Behavioral Science Division. The event will be held May 18-19, at the California Science Museum adjacent to USC. Pearson is especially excited because she has accepted USC’s offer to attend school there next fall, and looks forward to visiting the campus at the conclusion of the fair.

Stiler will attend Fresno State University as a Smittcamp Honors student and Tanoury will attend CSU San Jose in their humanities honors program. All students should be commended for their hard work.

“This has been an amazing class,” Deborah Brown, the current IB psychology instructor said. “I have never had everyone in the class step up to the plate and participate before.”

In addition, all students submitted their research abstracts to the 15th Annual International Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Conference. All 14 students have been asked to present their research. Ten will present during a Poster Session and four have been selected to present in one of the two Oral Sessions.

“This is a very proud moment and an all-time record. I have never had Stanford accept all my student’s submissions,” Brown continued.

“I’m very proud of our students,” YHS Principal Randy Seals said. “I can’t wait to see them in action and presenting their work at the conference.”

This event is a bitter-sweet one for Brown, who will be retiring at the end of this school year.

“It has been an amazing 21 years at the district and I am especially lucky that I got to work with the most amazing staff and students of all time.”

- Yosemite High School Correspondent