In her junior year, Chen-Chih (Shiloh) Liu ’22 stayed remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, learning from her home in Taiwan. Still, she was a full participant in her Honors Biology course, completing lab assignments in her kitchen.
And now, one of her experiments has made her a published scientist. Liu’s article, “How ethanol concentration affects catalase catalysis of hydrogen peroxide,” was recently published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators (JEI), an online scientific publication for students in college, high school, and middle school.
“I knew at the beginning of the process that it would be very time consuming and rigorous,” Liu said. “I committed to it. I didn’t want to stop or do anything in between. So, I was glad it got accepted and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this and go through the peer-review process that you don’t usually get at a high-school level.”
Liu expanded on her design-your-own (DYO) lab from last year; she had found a related article and it prompted her inquiry. Her Honors Biology teacher, Michael Edgar, encouraged her to submit it for publication. She worked throughout the summer—meeting with Edgar via Zoom several times—receiving feedback from the JEI team of graduate students who helped her refine the experiment. They made suggestions to her methods and analysis; then, Liu went through several rounds of edits before finalizing her paper.
“The editing process allowed me to learn a lot of new skills in order to be more professional in my report,” she said. “I had to learn how to do an ANOVA statistical test and be more precise in the calculations of the concentrations I used.”
Liu credits Edgar for working with her throughout the summer on the paper; Edgar said Liu “was a dream to work with” because of her commitment and the eagerness with which she received feedback during the review process. Milton supported remote students with supplies for science classes, but Liu went above and beyond to create a lab experiment at home, he said.
Catalase is an enzyme the human body uses to catalyze and convert hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. It plays a particularly important role in the liver. “Catalase is a critical antioxidant enzyme because excessive oxygen can become converted into hydrogen peroxide, which can evolve into hydroxyl radicals that can mutate DNA and cause disease,” Liu wrote. She found that higher concentrations of ethanol reduced the activity of catalase, which could have negative implications for liver function, particularly with the consumption of alcohol.
A handful of Milton students have had their work published in JEI, Edgar said. The work is rigorous, but prepares them well for more advanced review processes and helps them in future science courses at Milton and in college.
“It’s a cool experience to have these outside scientists weigh in on their work,” he said. “There are a lot of iterations and a lot of edits, but the organization is very positive and encouraging, and they make amazing suggestions that help our students get even more out of the process.”
The inclement weather of a New England winter will soon be upon us, presenting conditions that can sometimes prompt school cancellations and delays. In the case of a weather event, Milton administrators carefully consider forecasts along with safety and logistical concerns before determining whether to cancel or delay school.
If classes are canceled or delayed, Milton will notify families via Rave Alerts, which are sent to all school community members through phone, email, and text messages. Please read these announcements carefully. Students and parents should keep their contact information up to date in MyMilton in order to receive alerts.
Details on any cancellations or delays will also post on our School Cancellations page. In addition, Milton shares weather-related delay and cancellation information with Boston-area media outlets that compile lists of local school closures and delays.
Although classes may at times need to be canceled or delayed due to winter weather, Milton continues operations for students who live on campus. Boarding students will always have adults to oversee programming during days when weather forces a schedule change.
The safety of our students and community members is paramount. Day students and their families who drive to school are reminded that roads may continue to be affected after a winter storm has ended, due to ice, flooding, and narrower lanes and obstructed views caused by snow piles. Use extra caution when driving to and on campus after a cancellation or delay.
Our facilities team works hard before, during, and after winter storms to keep campus walkways and roads safe and cleared of snow, but be mindful that fluctuating temperatures can create slippery surfaces almost instantly. Students should be attentive while walking or driving around campus during the winter.
“Art is so damn powerful,” Syrian American artist and architect Mohamad Hafez told students Tuesday during a Gold Fund presentation on campus. “Don’t do art just for the sake of beauty. That’s valid, but art is more than that. Art has the ability to cross borders, to cross hearts, to demolish walls between us.”
Hafez, who was born in Damascus and raised in Saudi Arabia, came to the United States to study architecture, later becoming a successful corporate architect. Art was initially a hobby for him and a way to process his homesickness and nostalgia when he was unable to return home following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S. Then, as he witnessed the Syrian civil war wreak havoc on his homeland and his own family—many of whom fled as refugees to other parts of the world—creating art took on a deeper and more urgent purpose.
Using found objects, careful architectural details, memories, and images of the Middle East, Hafez creates surreal, sculptural pieces with political and social messages—depicting the senseless violence of war, the baggage (physical and emotional) that refugees carry from home, and the widespread cultural losses occurring in Damascus, an ancient but advanced city critical to the history of several civilizations and world religions.
Watch this video of Mohamad Hafez’s presentation to students.