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Freshman Nikhil Murthy advances to International Science and Engineering Fair

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Six CG students presented their science research at the invitation-only Northwest Science Expo at PSU: seniors Nick Petty and Kristin Qian; junior Valerie Ding; sophomores Nic Bergen and Anirudh Jain; and freshman Nikhil Murthy,

Nikhil placed 1st in chemistry and received the Outstanding Chemistry Project Award from the American Chemical Society. Nikhil's project was chosen to advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair. 

Valerie placed 1st in physics and astronomy, won Best of Fair, and these awards: Outstanding Geoscience Award from the Association of Women Geoscientists; Outstanding Applied Chemistry Project Award from the American Chemical Society; Outstanding Chemistry Project Award from Iota Sigma Pi; the National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry; the Sustainable Development Award from the Ricoh Corporation, and an OSU Engineering College scholarship. She qualified for the International Science and Engineering Fair at an earlier competition.

Anirudh placed 2nd in chemistry and received the Naval Excellence in Science and Engineering Award from the Office of Naval Research, US Navy and Marine Corps

Middle School Science Olympiad team places 2nd at state, Upper School team places 3rd

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The Upper School Science Olympiad team took home four gold, one silver, and five bronze medals! Congratulations to seniors Katie Zechnich, Dina Zaslovsky, Erin Wynne, Jonathan Yau, Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland juniors Valerie Ding, Forrest Kwong, Brendan Edelson, Eric Wang; sophomore Iman Wahle; and freshmen Maria Chang and Adolfo Apolloni.

The Middle School team earned four gold, six silver, and four bronze medals in 23 events. Congratulations to 6th grader Jimmy Maslen; 7th graders Alexander Yu, Andrei Stoica, Arman Asgharzadeh, Avi Gupta, Harry Popowich, Matt Leungpathomaram, Nicholas Springer, Noor Wahle, Robbie McMonies, Spencer Shoemaker, Sydney Nagy, Tyler Nguyen; and 8th graders Sarah Daniels and Roy Stracovsky.


Catlin Gabel News, Winter 2014

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From the Winter 2014 Caller

NEWS FROM AROUND HONEY HOLLOW

The Oregonian published an opinion piece by Vicki Roscoe, head of the Lower School, about the importance of teaching and learning handwriting. . . . Officials from the U.S. Department of Education came to campus (left) as a result of Catlin Gabel’s recognition as a Green Ribbon School. They saw how the school excels in wellness, environmental education and impact, and STEM education. . . . Catlin Gabel hosted two regional robotics events, the Girls’ Generation and the Rookie Rumble, designed to raise awareness of and student confidence in science and engineering.
 

OUR REMARKABLE TEACHERS

Stanford University’s Teacher Tribute Initiative recognized three Upper School teachers for their positive impact on Stanford first-year students: English teachers Leanne Moll and Ginia King, and history teacher and PLACE director George Zaninovich. . . . MS Mandarin teacher Li-Ling Cheng is co-author of Language through Culture, Culture through Language: A Framework for K-8 Mandarin Curriculum published by Peking University Press. . . . US math teacher Kenny Nguyen is a reviewer for the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education and also reviews manuscripts and conference proposals for the Journal for Mathematical Behavior, Cognition and Instruction; the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; and the International Conference of the Learning Sciences. . . . US history teacher and PLACE director George Zaninovich was selected for the Portland Art Museum’s education department teacher advisory council. . . . US English teacher Leanne Moll was an adjunct professor of education at Portland State University last summer and teaches online graduate-level curriculum, instruction, and reading courses for Read Oregon. . . . US history teacher Meredith Goddard presented at the Center for Geographic Education’s annual conference at PSU on student-centered strategies for teaching the geography of Afghanistan. . . . Fifth grade teaching assistant Katie Boehnlein published an article about 6th grade English teacher Carter Latendresse and Catlin Gabel’s beekeeping program in Clearing magazine.
 

“SCUMBOT” SOARS

A team of Upper School students won a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT grant, awarded to innovative student engineering projects nationwide. Their robotics project, “ScumBot,” addresses the realworld problem of algae and duckweed infestation in a central Oregon lake. They will travel to MIT’s EurekaFest in June.
 

ATHLETICS & SPORTS

The US cross country coaching team of Chris Skrapits, Dave Corkran, Anna Connor, and John Hamilton was collectively named district Coach of the Year. . . . Sandy Luu was named to the Oregon Athletic Directors Association executive committee and serves on committees of the National Athletic Directors Association.
 
Several students have won national recognition in their sports: Mahala Lambert ’24, taekwondo; Connor White ’21, Mo Duk Pai Kung Fu; Omeed Azari ’21, taekwondo; Adrienne Tam, swimming; Miguel Gachupin ’16, fencing; Luke Selliken ’16, kart racing; Ethan Hanson ’15, triathlon; and Elli Wiita ’15, synchronized swimming.
 

Oregon Book Award winner Willy Vlautin, author of The Motel Life, worked with US students in English and music

Science research class publishes scientific journal

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The Upper School science research class has launched Elements, an annual publication showcasing student research. The publication's mission is to increase awareness about what a scientific research project entails, and to create a hub where our community’s researchers can learn, ask questions, collaborate, and see their hard work in a formal science journal format. The inaugural edition features the work of students in the classes of 2013 through 2016.

Open the PDF below.

Junior Valerie Ding featured in Washington Post and White House blog

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Executives from Amazon, Google, Facebook and other major technology companies will meet with female students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics Wednesday morning, as one of a series of roundtables hosted by the House Republican Conference and its chairwoman, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) …

» Read the Washington Post article


Today, at a private meeting in the West Wing of the White House, US Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, Deputy US Chief Technology Officer Jen Pahlka, and other senior Obama Administration officials specializing in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), met with five inspiring young women to discuss academic and career pathways in STEM—and barriers to the involvement of girls in those fields. The students were past winners and current finalists of the annual Google Science Fair—an online science competition open to high-school-aged students that solicits “ideas that will change the world.” …

» Read the White House blog

Freshman Anirudh Jain wins state Stockholm Junior Water Prize

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Congrats!

Anirudh was selected for the prize based on his science project “Sulfidation as a Novel Method for Reducing Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticle Pollution.”

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize is the world's most prestigious youth award for a water-related science project. The prize taps into the potential of today's high school students as they seek to address current and future water challenges. » Link to more information.

 

6th grade Surgery Day video and photo gallery

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Warning: not for the squeamish!

Sophomore Valerie Ding advances to International Science and Engineering Fair

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Valerie Ding took 1st place in physics and astronomy at the Regional Northwest Science Fair. Three other CG students competing at the regional competition placed 2nd in their categories: freshman Anirudh Jain in environmental management, freshman Lara Rakocevic in environmental analysis and effects, and senior Valerie Balog in cellular and molecular biology. Congratulations to all!

Our Inspired Teachers: Bob Sauer

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Every day Catlin Gabel teachers inspire their students. 16 faculty members talk about how they came to teaching—and what they love about their craft

From the Autumn 2012 Caller

Bob Sauer, US science

Bachelor's in physics, Whitman College. At CGS since 2001.

I didn’t set out to be a teacher. I couldn’t see my shy and retiring self standing up in front of a room full of students, and the thought of speaking for a full class period filled me with anxiety and dread. But after starting out in an engineering job in San Diego, my interest waned, and I missed the opportunity to work with young people, which I had done for years as swimming instructor, lifeguard, and summer camp counselor. I went back to school to get my teaching certificate and moved back to the Northwest, which I had quite missed while living in Southern California. I started teaching at Portland’s Cleveland High School and eventually became the diving coach for the entire Portland league. After yearlong teaching exchanges to Cyprus and to Poland and 17 years at Cleveland, I moved to Catlin Gabel.
 

At Catlin Gabel I love the enthusiasm and interest of the students. I am continually amazed and impressed at their commitment and abilities—they’re studying at levels far above where I was working in high school, and pick up even the complex ideas and applications of calculus in advanced physics quickly. That inspires me to carry on even with four different classes to prepare each semester, and to stay actively involved in the myriad other fascinating things that occur at Catlin Gabel—international trips (to Turkey and Peru), the ski bus to Mt Hood, class trips, far-flung Winterim adventures, and as many outdoor program trips as I can talk my way on to. Those initial concerns that kept me from teaching from the outset? I am energized being in front of a classroom of involved students, liberally dispensing puns and other physics humor along with the scientific concepts to a receptive (albeit groaning) audience. And class periods are not long enough!   

Our Inspired Teachers: Veronica Ledoux

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Every day Catlin Gabel teachers inspire their students. 16 faculty members talk about how they came to teaching—and what they love about their craft

 From the Autumn 2012 Caller

 Veronica Ledoux, US science

Bachelor’s in biochemistry, Mercyhurst College. Doctorate in neurobiology, Northwestern University. At CGS since 2008. 

When I initially began studying science, I imagined a finish line of sorts, a distant future in which I’d Understand Everything. Naïve, right? Now, I know better. As the years passed and my education continued, I learned a great deal, but each insight uncovered new parts of the scientific puzzle. The more I understood, the more I wondered. This complex spiral can go on forever. I now realize that one of the most exciting parts of studying science is the limitlessness of it.
 
In my previous life as a science researcher, I used complicated equipment to ask very minute questions in tremendous depth. While I was fascinated by my work, I had only a relatively small community of fellow scientists with whom I could share my discoveries. The taxpayers funding my work didn’t know what I was doing with their money, as my findings were published in expensive scientific journals with limited circulation and dense, jargon-filled text. There was no easy way for me to share my scientific excitement with the public at large.
 
At times I miss the research lab, but now, as a teacher, I constantly have opportunities to share my curiosity and love of learning with others. Many teachers are the sort of people who would be happy to be eternal students, and our profession lets us get away with this, to a degree. At Catlin Gabel, we have the freedom to innovate, update curriculum, create new courses, and follow the interests of students. This is both exciting and daunting. My colleagues set a high bar for constantly honing their craft, paying attention to individual students, and adapting their approach to better suit the needs of those students. I am privileged to be part of this place, as my own scientific understanding is constantly being challenged, which keeps my enthusiasm high. 

 

Science teacher Veronica Ledoux's work with Teachers Across Borders South Africa

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Upper School science teacher Veronica Ledoux volunteered this summer for Teachers Across Borders South Africa, working for three weeks with 200 South African math and science teachers from rural schools to help update their skills. South Africa has identified the teaching and learning of math and science as national priorities.

Project founder Yunus Peer praised Veronica for her contributions, noting that she is personable, professional, and passionate about her work. "She made a positive difference for teachers who did not have the same academic experience that we are privileged to in the United States," he wrote to Catlin Gabel head Lark Palma.

"As institutions of higher learning, with such talented faculty, I believe the least we can do is share the knowledge we have about our profession with colleagues in the developing world who so desperately need help with content, methodology and the pedagogy of the subjects they teach, under the most challenging conditions," wrote Yunus. "I know that Veronica's presentation will inspire your faculty with the possibilities of service that advantaged private schools like ours can undertake, and by example, will highlight the values we want our students to embrace, too."

Comments

The difference she made in the lives of teachers and students was remarkable. She lit up the room and sparked a deep interest in the minds of her many students katalog stron

I was part of Veronica's team in South Africa and I just want to add to the school's comments. Veronica's hard work, dedication and positive energy made a huge impact. The difference she made in the lives of teachers and students was remarkable. She lit up the room and sparked a deep interest in the minds of her many students. Jane Heimerdinger (`Iolani School, Honolulu, Hawaii)

Environmental Science and Policy: Real-World Learning

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Students in this interdisciplinary class learn facts--and how to cope with complexity and ambiguity

From the Summer 2012 Caller

By Andrea Michalowsky '12

Catlin Gabel prides itself on being green. We recycle, compost, and emphasize environmentalism in the elementary and middle school curricula. We even have goats roaming the campus to help with landscaping. Surrounded by all this sustainability, I considered myself environmentally conscious and aware of ecological concerns. However, my Environmental Science and Policy classes reminded me of just how little I know and how much there is for me to still learn. More importantly, they showed me the nuances, the importance of understanding issues fully, and how to gather the information necessary to form my own opinion.
 
Peter Shulman and Dan Griffiths began this interdisciplinary class in 2007. Peter, an experienced history teacher who had previously founded the PLACE urban studies program, presented the idea to Dan as an opportunity for students to understand both the politics and facts behind current affairs. Dan, a science teacher and biologist, saw the material as an opportunity for students to better understand the importance of science in current affairs.
 
Originally, the classes were linked, and the teachers sat in on each other’s classes. This year, however, they were separated for the first time, allowing students to take one of the classes without the other. Moreover, the Environmental Policy class ran for only one semester, complemented by a class on oil in the Middle East. These alterations not only gave the students more freedom in choosing classes, but also gave the teachers more freedom in choosing specific topics. Dan included a unit on truth and recognizing biases in articles. Peter further explored oil, currently a particularly pressing issue in regards to the environment. Even as the program evolved, it maintained its founding ideals and emphasis on experiential learning.
 
On the first day of Environmental Science, Dan told us that he intended to run the class as he would a college class. He expected us to lead our own learning. As such, one of the major projects of the year was a plant lab that was formulated by the students. Dan provided the plants and the nutrient formulas (we were studying the effects of nutrient deficiencies), but we had to create the procedures. We spent several class periods sitting around the U of desks discussing what should and should not be measured on the plants. The conversation went back and forth among the 17-person class. We often ended with the sense that nothing had been accomplished. The process was slow. In retrospect, I realize just how much I learned during those debates. They taught me the importance of listening, how to work with a group, and the necessity for patience. Moving forward with the lab and editing the procedure as it progressed, I also learned the evolutionary nature of experiments. This was a new aspect of science for me, a transition away from the traditional classroom labs. It provided a real-world applicability that had been lacking before.
 
This real-world applicability was matched by a real-world foundation. Both classes took field trips, seeing the issues in action. Environmental Policy took a tour of New Seasons Market as a model of a business that emphasizes local and sustainable products. During the genetically modified plant unit, Environmental Science visited Oregon Tilth and a genetic modification lab at Oregon State University. At OSU, one of the professors presented his argument for the necessity and naturalness of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The farmers working at Oregon Tilth objected to the superficiality of this solution and called for natural processes. Visiting the lab and the farm, we were able to see both sides of the debate in the real world. We then used this information, along with an extensive list of resources provided by Dan, to craft scientific essays for or against GMOs. However, the essays meant little compared to the field trips. Seeing the issues out in the world provided a grounding that could never be attained in the classroom.
 
We not only saw current issues in action, but also did projects to address them. We spent the last month of Environmental Science helping the rest of the school community with various environmental issues. The class divided into groups that addressed anything from curriculum for the Lower or Middle School to the best way to improve the greenhouse at the school in Ecuador that students will visit this summer. These projects required communication both within the groups and with the adult clients. Working with the adults to achieve a mutual goal made our projects more immediate. It was also like working for someone, further preparing us for the outside world.
 
In addition to teaching us life skills, these experiences provided the foundation for a full understanding of issues—and the recognition of the necessity for this understanding. Another project in Environmental Science consisted of a formal debate about nuclear power. We were split into a pro team and a con team and then did the research to support our arguments. We presented these arguments to the class and a panel of judges (Dan, outdoor education director Peter Green, and science teacher Aline Garcia-Rubio). Aside from the public speaking experience, we learned the nuances of the argument. In the end, the debate was tied; neither team came out as the obvious victor. This reflected my sentiment and that of most of my classmates: we don’t know definitively if nuclear power is good or bad. Although we remain unsure about the conclusion, we now better understand the issue. This understanding of the gray area revealed more than a decisive conclusion ever could. Not only did we see both sides, but we also recognized the importance of seeing both sides: the information became more important than the conclusion.
 
This full understanding and so many other aspects of this program left a lasting impact on students. On the first day of class, Dan had us each say why we were in the class and what we hoped to learn. On the final day, we discussed what we had learned, and if our opinions had changed. The vast majority of students agreed that we were now less sure of our standing on issues such as nuclear power but valued our greater understanding of the issues. We felt prepared to talk about the issues as informed citizens.
 
As Dan had promised, the class also prepared us for college. Sabin Ray ’11, who took the class last year and subsequently enrolled in an environmental studies class at Brown University, said that she arrived at college already informed about many of the issues that came up. The big, open-ended papers and labs Dan and Peter assigned prepared her and all of us for college-level courses. Beyond college, the classes taught us about learning in any capacity and working on projects and in groups. They provided life lessons that will be useful whether or not we go into environmentalism.
 
Catlin Gabel teaches us to be green, but more importantly it teaches us to be active learners and thinkers. Likewise, Environmental Science and Policy informed us about current issues, but more importantly taught us how to learn and form our own opinions.
 
Andrea Michalowsky ’12 will attend the writing seminars program at Johns Hopkins University this fall. She was the chief editor of the Catlin Gabel literary magazine, Pegasus.  

 

Junior Terrance Sun and freshman Valerie Ding were finalists at the Intel International Science Fair in Pittsburgh

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Participants in the international fair had top projects at regional or state fairs.

Terrance entered a project titled "Improvements to Automatic Translation of Legal Text" in the computer science category.

Valerie entered a project titled "Shining Like the Sun: A Novel Quantum Mechanical Approach to Property Analysis and Energy Efficiency Algorithm for White-Light LEDs" in the physics and astronomy category.

Valerie's project won a Fourth Award. In addition, Valerie was one of only 12 students (from over 1,500) to win an all-expenses-paid trip this summer to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, where the students will meet with researchers and see the experiments they are working on.

Congratulations to Valerie and Terrance!