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AAR presents student research

Presenting the culmination of a year’s worth of student work, the Advanced Authentic Research (AAR) program, a year-long course in which students research a topic of their choosing, is holding a showcase on May 18 in the Media Arts Center from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Each of the 140 AAR students, from both Paly and Gunn High School, are paired with mentors in the particular fields of research the students were studying. The mentors supported and facilitated each students’ work in their own laboratories, offices and other settings throughout the year. The research will be presented in the showcase this evening in the form of project posters that range from social science to art to business to physics.

Sophomore Pooja Akella, who has an interest in oncology, researched the genetics of melanoma, a common and dangerous type of skin cancer, and will present her findings in tonight’s showcase.

“AAR is important because it gives students the opportunity to research topics they are passionate about in an incredibly independent manner. Personally, working with a mentor in my field of interest and pursuing an area that I would perhaps like to further study down the road was a completely new, challenging and eye-opening experience all in one.”

Pooja Akella

To Paly math teacher Deanna Chute, what makes AAR valuable is the growth of each individual student in their respective area of interest.

“This program is important to me because I want all students to have the space to pursue their interests and to experience the joys and struggles of a long-term project,” Chute said. “In AAR, students determine their own direction and pursue what is interesting to them. The mentorship component of this course makes it very special. Students learn to interact with adults in the working world.”

Furthermore, AAR provides a chance for students to prove to professionals, community members and peers their independence, dedication and interest in the topic of their choosing.

Sophomore Amy Wu researched how happiness in the workplace affects the overall success of the company.

“Growing up in Silicon Valley and watching my parents come home from work exhausted really made me realize the pressures employers have on their employees. I just hope to understand how happiness factors into all this and how it may benefit more than just the workers.”

Amy Wu

To show support and appreciation for the projects that the AAR students have been working to complete all year, attend the celebratory showcase.

Chute said, “It is a fantastic celebration of all fields of study that embraces everyone.”

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