Villa Maria Students Shine at Annenberg High School Science Symposium

Villa Maria science students made a strong showing at the 14th Annual Annenberg High School Science Symposium. Moderator and science faculty member Amy Keglovits reported that the panel of judges told her they were very impressed with the team of Dani Acuna, Lindsey Dickenson, Sophia Pegg, Grace Maguire, Kelly Lain, Julia Connolly and Kaitlin Bui as they presented on innovations in burn therapy.

Dr. Mann, executive director of the Symposium, singled out the Villa Maria team to answer a question regarding how society should allocate funding for research into the five different medical topics presented. The Villa students were not only able to thoughtfully answer the question, but the judges gave them an award for their excellent discernment of the problem and ability to articulate it so well off the cuff.

“The panel of judges was really impressed by how poised our girls were,” Ms. Keglovits said. “While the other groups read canned presentations, our girls went a little more off the cuff with theirs and really made their presentation engaging. After each presentation, the judges asked the presenters a single (easy) question, but when it was our turn, the head of the Symposium, Dr. Mann, stepped in and challenged just our girls with a big question that asked them to make global decisions about fund allocations for all the different topics that had been presented. Their reply was amazing and the audience applauded.”

The Annenberg High School Science Symposium, held this year at Bryn Mawr Hospital,  is a program designed to promote discourse among high school science students in the the Philadelphia metropolitan area, hosted by hospitals in the Main Line Health system. The goal of the program is to enable students to “emerge as leaders, engage with medical discovery, and use creative performance as an outlet to communicate their findings.”

Sixteen schools participated. The program began with a meeting back in the fall, followed by meetings with mentors in medical fields, research into their topic, and a final presentation. Students are asked to incorporate an element of the creative arts into their presentations. The final result is presented to a panel of judges.