Senior Jessica Wen dives deeper with her studies on zebrafish

The Advanced Scientific Research class encourages independent discovery


Lucy Li

Senior Jessica Wen smiles as she takes the temperature of a zebrafish tank in the Advanced Scientific Research class. “It’s kind of like a college research experience, but it’s in high school,” Wen said.

For the second year in a row, senior Jessica Wen has elected to take the Advanced Scientific Research course. Last spring, she studied the behavioral effects of temperature change on zebrafish, and this year she is diving deeper into her research. “This year I’m doing a more quantitative observational study where I actually quantify how aggressive the fish may get and how their breeding patterns change. Instead of just looking at what happens, I’m putting numbers to it,” Wen said.

The class, an elective students can take fall senior year or spring junior year, allows participants to formulate their own experiment and work independently, presenting their findings to their classmates and the science department at the end of the semester. “I really like that it’s student run. You can do whatever you want just as long as you present it to the [Upper School] science department and they okay it. You really have free rein,” Wen said. “It’s kind of like a college research experience, but it’s in high school,” she added.

Wen particularly appreciates her ability to study what she wants to in this course. “It’s definitely something that I have an interest in, so therefore I’m driven to study about it and read articles,” she said. Students present their findings to the science department, their peers, and anyone who is interested at the end of the semester.