Concluding months of hard work, IMSA students will fill the main building on April 28, 2016 to present individual research on every topic imaginable, from neurobiology to computer science to theology and seemingly everything in between. Students, faculty, and staff will join with Illinois legislators and scientists in learning about the work of many IMSA juniors and seniors.
This year, students’ requirements surrounding Student Inquiry and Research (SIR) and IMSAloquium (its year-end conference) were confused. Due to a miscommunication among administrators, the students were told that IMSAloquium was not required. The situation was clarified by an email from Dr. Sansa Kazadi saying that IMSAloquium is an “Academy requirement.” Emma Matson (’17) said that this requirement “is really good for sophomores and upperclassmen. It gives people an opportunity to see what kinds of SIRs people do and is a nice opportunity to meet people who are visiting.”
When pressed to reflect on the requirement that everyone goes to IMSAloquium, most students come to the conclusion that it really is a good thing for people to participate in the event and in SIR as a whole. Pranav Sivakumar (’17) was the first-ever repeat Global Finalist in the Google Science Fair. His project, for which he wrote two successful algorithms for discovering bright celestial objects within the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, furthered research on quasar lensing. “I’m glad I made it this far, and I’ll do my best to prepare and see where I go from here,” says Pranav. “It has been an exciting journey, and I plan to continue this research for many years, hoping to contribute at least a little to our understanding of dark matter and dark energy.”
Adrian Bebenek (’17) echoed a similar sentiment. “My experience with SIR has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “Honestly, I had no idea what SIR was when I first started it, and this just shows how much it opened my eyes about the number of opportunities available to me through the SIR program.”
After hearing about a diverse multitude of projects, many sophomores are thinking that IMSAloquium will be a positive experience. “I think that SIR provides an opportunity for legitimate research that allows students to engage their minds with advisers that have experience in the fields,” says Istvan Kovach (’18). “IMSAloquium seems like a really cool time where students get to showcase their accomplishments.”
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