MSTC Senior Symposium

Although members of MSTC compose almost ten percent of our school’s population, most students at Dunbar aren’t aware that in order to graduate from MSTC, each student must complete a 360-hour research project and present it at the MSTC Senior Symposium.

The Senior Symposium is a time for the MSTC seniors to present their research projects that they have spent the last year and a half working on. Most students complete their research project at the University of Kentucky, and some seniors spend much longer than 360 hours on them. By the end of their senior year, a few students have even been published in a scientific journal.

Megan Kamb, a senior in MSTC, appreciates all that the program has taught her.

“It’s interesting to see magnets’ perception about the symposium change. As freshmen, you don’t understand what’s going on during most of the presentations,” she said. “But as upperclassmen, you understand the projects a lot better and often have moments during a presentation when you realize that you learned about that concept in chemistry or physics. It’s neat to see how what you learn in the classroom connects to research in the ‘real world.’”

This year’s Senior Symposium occurred on April 12 from 8:30-11:30 am. Each senior presented for approximately 15 minutes in a different science classroom at Dunbar, filled with family, friends and underclassmen magnets.

Ryan Blood, a senior magnet who conducted his research at the University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research, said “It was interesting to see 360+ hours and a year and a half’s work pass in just 15 minutes.”

Many students assume that every magnet’s project is about Chemistry or Molecular Biology. While that is definitely true for some projects, not all are like that. For instance, this year’s senior class had projects ranging from topics on arm strength of UK football players to patterns in behavior of Congolese refugees.

Lindsey Ruth, a senior magnet, said, “It feels so weird that it’s almost over – we’ve been working on these projects for so long.”

For many magnets, this project, more than a graduation, signifies their completion of the MSTC program. With all of the experience that they’ve gained over the past four years in MSTC, they’re ready to handle whatever the next level of education can throw at them.