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Southview High School junior Jasmine Serpen says her experience with scientific subjects at school helped her develop an experiment for an article that was published in the November issue of the journal Food and Nutrition Sciences. Having taken advanced-placement biology and honors-level chemistry, Miss Serpen said she wasn’t too surprised when her article was published, but she still felt it was a rare occasion.
“You don't really get notified right away,” she said. “They give you feedback and everything. You have to revise it. A lot of professional people submit to journals. To be accepted as a junior in high school was really special.”
Miss Serpen is part of the high school’s science research class, a three-year program in which students research and exhibit scientific problems. She plans to study premedicine and hopes to attend Stanford University.
Teacher Blythe Tipping said the article, “Comparison of Sugar Content in Bottled 100% Fruit Juice versus Extracted Juice of Fresh Fruit,” was a unique project.
“I’ve never had anybody do a project like she chose. She worked very hard and did a lot of research on it. I was really excited for her,” Ms. Tipping said.
Miss Serpen said she started thinking about her project last year.
“It was a long process,” she said, adding that she presented her research at a symposium in March and then spent the summer finalizing the details. “I kind of came up with it and it seemed feasible. It just seemed like an interesting topic.”
Her parents are also involved in scientific research, as professors at the University of Toledo. Miss Serpen said her parents’ advice helped.
“They were definitely proud of me,” she said, adding that her education in the Sylvania school system also aided her success. “I think having a background in biology definitely helped a little bit, and also chemistry, the molecules and everything.”
Ms. Tipping said her role as a teacher for the research program is just to guide students and teach them how to do research and make presentations. She has taught the research class for eight years.
“I guide them and keep them on task and help them with their analysis. ... It’s all about the kids,” she said.
She said Miss Serpen’s article is the high school’s first to be published in a professional journal.
“I've had students published in online or undergrad journals,” Ms. Tipping said.
Miss Serpen said it can be a challenge to keep up with so many high-level science classes.
It is then that she turns to gymnastics, where she also excels.
“It's a big part of my life. I practice a lot,” she said. “I take a lot of AP classes. It’s hard to balance it, but it’s definitely rewarding. It teaches you a lot, about managing your time.”