Ramsay High School – Birmingham, AL
Ramsay High School’s Way Cool Student Scientist Report
Ramsay High School’s Backyard Geology Report
Sandra (teacher): This is my 25th year to teach science, and 24 of these
years have been with the Birmingham City Schools. I have spent the last
10 wonderful years at Ramsay High School, which is located in the center
of the city within walking distance of the University of Alabama in
Birmingham. Ramsay High is ethnically diverse and all the students take
an entrance test for admittance.
I presently teach Biology, Genetics, and Microbiology. In other years, I
have taught Marine Biology. It feels great to say that I still love what
I do and it is a credit to the enthusiastic students that I teach and
the cooperation that the University of Alabama in Birmingham has
offered. Not only has UAB provided me with the wonderful laboratory
supplies for my Genetics and Microbiology courses, but they have also
provided the professional expertise to answer many questions. We work
together to develop and implement the curriculum - most of which is
laboratory based. I also sponsor the Science Club at my school and UAB
is also there to provide more meaningful activities. This is also why I
am so excited to be able to work with UAB's Professor Tom Wdowiak on
Christopher (student): Ever since I was a child I have had an interest
in space and its exploration. I remember many occasions where I gazed at
stars, planets, comets, meteors, and space stations as they dangled
above my head. I have also had several good (and not so good)
experiences with model rocketry. I still harbor that interest today. I
feel that space exploration is the key to the progress of the human
species, and NASA is the organization that will lead us into the future.
I am at a loss of words to describe the honor I feel in being part of
such an organization.
I was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1987. I have lived in Alabama my
entire life. I attended Christian Middle School from second to the
eighth grade where I, among other things, was inducted into the National
Jr. Honor Society. I was later accepted into Ramsay Alternative High
School and I am currently a sophomore maintaining a 4.25 GPA. I am
actively involved in JROTC, Band, and the Science Club.
Ben (student): Some people don't like science, in fact some people hate
it. That's not the case for me; I love science. Since I was young, I've
always held a passion for science and I was especially interested in
seeing the different ways that it could be applied. This is one of the
things that first drew me to computer science and engineering. Over the
past five years or so, I've held a deep interest for creating programs
and seeing them in action. At the same time, however, I also enjoyed
studying the world around me and what laws governed it. I'm a very
hands-on person, although I work well in theory, and I’m excited any
time that I can produce a reaction or create some kind of effect..
Astronomy has recently become an interest for me, although I can
remember quite a few years ago being fascinated by the comet Hale-Bopp
when it passed close enough to Earth to be seen with the plain eye. At
the time, I wondered about astronomy; however, as with many paths not
followed, these ambitions were buried under more immediate studies. It
was not until this past summer that I was given the opportunity to
re-cultivate these interests through an internship in the astrophysics
department at the University of Alabama Birmingham. It was a learning
experience for me of immense proportions. Courses such as astronomy and
physics had been unavailable for me in my high school for numerous
reasons and this was my first exposure to both.
I learned from my internship the basics of the field as well as some of
the specialized areas that the lab focuses on. It was one of those
specialized fields that I chose to do my science project on this year.
The title of the project was "Formation of an Interstellar Dust Analog"
and it concentrated on the IR spectrum of a Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbon
plasma product. I studied this topic in depth and my project competed in
the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
I heard about the Athena program while doing my actual research in the
lab at UAB for my project. One of my mentors described the project to me
and it struck me as a way to further my interest in astronomy and
astrophysics. I hope to be part of the Athena team and contribute any
ideas or knowledge that I have.