Students continue honing hands-on research skills in Advanced Science Research January 29, 2023 — by Natalie Chua and Sanjoli Gupta Photo by Howard ShuJunior Lynn Dai extracts planaria after feeding them egg yolk. Students have received help from teachers and veterans during the Advanced Science Research (ASR) course, which Saratoga students can take at Los Gatos. Since last year, Los Gatos High has offered Saratoga High upperclassmen a chance to take Advanced Science Research (ASR), a sixth-period course in which students design and test their independent experiments. However, with over 40 people in the class this year, this will be the last year of ASR. “Part of the reason ASR is discontinuing is that the teachers feel overwhelmed by the large enrollment this year, especially [ASR teacher Cathy] Messenger, who has been running the class for over a decade,” senior Howard Shu said. Currently, there are five Saratoga students participating in ASR along with the 35 from Los Gatos: junior Lynn Dai, seniors Lisa Fung, Tanya Ghai, Jeremy Lu and Shu. The room is nearly at maximum capacity during class, and co-teacher Jennifer Lee and Messenger have to mentor about double the number of students they have compared to previous years. Because it is the final year of ASR, students are making the most out of the opportunity to do advanced research in a lab setting. Ghai is focusing on fat accumulation of Celegans (microorganisms); Lu is working on mind reading artificial intelligence. Fung is focusing on human mobility models to combat disaster response, and Shu is testing polymer doping on tin-based perovskite solar cells to increase efficiency. Finally, Dai is exploring the efficacy of Chinese medicine. “Since this is the first and last year I’m taking ASR, I try to take advantage of the opportunities provided: total freedom to explore anything I want and hands-on guidance and support from my peers,” Dai said. At lunch on even-period days, the five either get a ride in a school van to the LGHS campus or drive there on their own. Because the majority of students are relatively new to ASR, some students seek help from more experienced classmates like Lu, who is in his second year of the class. For example, Fung occasionally seeks advice from Lu, as they both focus on computer science, neural networks and technical methods. With the closing of ASR, juniors and underclassmen will lose the opportunity to be part of a supportive and interactive community. Nevertheless, those who took it say they are grateful for the time they had in the class. “I think it’s a really good opportunity for people to get their research skills and also meet a lot of people,” Lu said. “It’s a fun environment, and everybody’s really collaborative.” 3 views this weekAbout the contributorsSanjoli GuptaSanjoli Gupta, Class of ‘24, is a News Editor of the 2023-24 Falcon staff. Previously, she was the School Scope Editor between 2022-23, Head Photographer between 2021-22 and Reporter and Layout Artist between 2020-21. She has attended the Stanford Daily Summer Journalism program as well as The School of The New York Times Inside the UN/Journalism/Law program where she interviewed a Holocaust survivor and learned about libel. She has won a Silver Key in Scholastic Art and Writing for her feature story on being both South Asian and Christian. Some topics she has previously covered include bioethics, intimidation, future professions and religion. Some things she enjoys outside journalism include reading, baking and photography.