Courtesy of designer Skylar Nguyen
Students enrolled in Introduction to Research and members of the Science Fair Club, both led by Dr. Tina Gibson, spent this past semester creating the inaugural MSMS science journal, MSMS Science. After many months of planning, the first volume, Waves of Science, is set to publish around mid-June.
Science journals are a way for researchers and scientists to publish their work and allow the broader science community to explore and learn from it. The MSMS science journal is composed exclusively of research papers from MSMS students who competed in Science Fair and World Food Prize, a research competition to advance the quality, quantity and availability of food worldwide.
Originally set to publish by the end of the school year, formatting issues pushed the publication date back to June. Gibson elaborated on the difficulty of completing the journal on time.
“Oftentimes, the average paper is 12 [or more] pages in length, but students must condense their work into 2,800 words to fit into the journal, including pictures, diagrams and graphs,” Gibson said. “Most of our challenges were getting papers to fit the criteria of the journal. As far as COVID-19, the challenges have been few and inconsequential.”
Co-editor Skylar Nguyen, responsible for the entire layout of the journal, reflected on these challenges and how the team worked to overcome them.
“One time, the publisher didn’t have access to his office because of the coronavirus, so Dr. Gibson literally had to meet him under an underpass on the side of the road,” Nguyen said. “In the moment, these challenges were really annoying because it felt like we were backtracking, but once we overcame them, it felt really rewarding.”
Introduction to Research student Shanay Desai elaborated on the adaptations the contributors made due to COVID-19.
“Since the on-campus setting was not available, Zoom was our only option,” Desai said. Decisions had to be made over Zoom and by emailing back and forth between the students, Dr. Gibson, and the publisher.”
Co-editor Dennis Lee expressed similar sentiments with Gibson on the challenges faced due to the pandemic.
“Not being able to convene and discuss in person was the biggest challenge we faced,” Lee said. “However, I think online communication was pretty effective since we got all the points across to each other. I don’t really think that it was a hindrance to our progress.”
Despite the challenges, both Nguyen and Lee see the journal as a perception booster for the school. They believe this journal will create an impact on students, parents, and the broader public.
“I think it will change the perception of MSMS in the high school research world,” Nguyen said. “Having students’ research officially published shows that their studies are notable and competitive.”
“I personally believe that scientific research is a very important component for a secondary STEM school like MSMS,” Lee said. “I was amazed by the excellent research done by my fellow classmates, and the MSMS science journal highlights the efforts and results of the hard work by the students and their teachers.”
Although the co-editors foresee this journal affecting the perception of MSMS after it is published, it has already inspired some current students. Desai and Nguyen are planning on producing an online publication to display the research from MSMS students as well as gather and share STEM-related content from around the world.
Desai explained how the MSMS science journal brought about this plan.
“When the science journal was under development, I truly became inspired,” Desai said. “Since then, I have begun development on a brand new project with Dr. Gibson that will launch in the 2020-2021 school year and ultimately create a brighter path for us to showcase our STEM academic work produced at MSMS.”
Once MSMS Science: Waves of Science is published, a hard copy will be mailed to all seniors, and a digital copy will be incorporated into both the MSMS website and the upcoming STEM website.