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8 | February 16, 2017 | The frankfort station News frankfortstation.com East student enters nationally-recognized research competition Ryan Esguerra Freelance Reporter When Adam Pleasant learned about the Regeneron Science Talent Search — a nationally-recognized science research competition that stands as one of the nation’s most prestigious for high school seniors — he had little time to show his love and passion for science and take it to the next level. Pleasant — who will attend Loyola University in the fall and plans to study biophysics to be a pediatrician — found an interest in science and particularly medicine at a young age when caring for his grandfather. “I was first drawn to medicine when my grandfather was sick when I was about 4 years old,” Pleasant said. “Always being with him at his hospital visits and when he needed help. I want to go into medicine so I can help people like I did with my grandfather.” “Not only that, but science is so interesting because it makes up everything around us, and I want to know how and why everything around me is happening.” Over the course of those two weeks, Pleasant worked tirelessly with his advisor and physics teacher, Wes Cooley, to develop a research topic and submit it to competition. Normally, students would have months to prepare for submission. “Adam was in class before school, after school and during advisory working on his research,” Cooley said. “He possesses an enthusiasm for science and a thirst for knowledge that you appreciate as a teacher.” Pleasant, who is also the acting president of the Lincoln-Way East Science Club, devoted his research to measuring the growth of chia seeds — a health food and the key ingredient in the popular novelty sprouting Lincoln-Way East senior Adam Pleasant (right) demonstrates an experiment with magnetic fields Feb. 8 to junior Ryan Witt. Pleasant entered an experiment testing the effects of magnets on chia seed growth into a national contest earlier this year. Photos by Kirsten Onsgard/22nd Century Media figurines — when they were exposed to different magnetic fields. He said that he chose chia seeds in order to prepare himself for college. “My spring semester of my freshman year at Loyola, I have an entire coursed dedicated to researching a topic of my choice,” Pleasant said. “So, this chia seed research was an attempt to get a leg up as it pertains to my project.” “After six days of tending to them and watering them, I observed how much each seed grew in what magnetic field and recorded my findings.” The Science Talent Search reviews applicant research projects from all over the country and selects a group of finalists based on their scientific rigor and worldchanging potential. Pleasant entered the competition with over 1,700 applicants nationwide. Despite not making it into the semi-final round of the competition, Pleasant was proud of the quality of his research in the short amount of time that he had to prepare. “The earlier you start, the better off you will be in a competition like that,” Pleasant said. “I was happy and proud of how my research went with the amount of time that I had.” With his high school experience almost complete, Pleasant intends to spread word of the competition to the younger students at East in order to better prepare them to enter themselves. He said that he has already begun working with a freshman student in developing a research topic. “I have a freshman now who I am taking under my wing and working with in order to generate a research topic idea of her own,” Pleasant said. “As far as I know, I am the first one in our school to do the competition, so I want to be a part of getting others involved.” “I want to help the younger students so that they can have the most advantage possible in the competition if they decide to apply.” Cooley said that he appreciates all of Pleasant's work in his attempt to further the science department at the school, and offered a helping hand to anyone looking to follow in his footsteps. “He has been a great ambassador to the program,” Cooley said. “You encourage your students to see course content outside of the classroom, but not everyone has that time with all of the things that they do.” “If someone chooses science, however, we will give them all the support we can to help them in any way possible.” Adam Pleasant (center) worked on his experiment with the support of Lincoln-Way East teacher Wes Cooley (right).
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