Students showcase their interests, passions at research symposium


Pikesville High’s Munisa Makhmudova, Randallstown High’s Jordan Davis, Western School of Technology’s Aidan Shipperley, and Parkville High’s Annalea Cascio presented their projects at the 5th annual Student Independent Research Symposium at Pikesville High School.

PIKESVILLE — After nearly everyone had left, her project requirements now complete, Pikesville High Grade 12 student Munisa Makhmudova lingered behind in her school’s maker lab.

She was greeting well-wishers who watched her multimedia session about Projection Mapping. Already an accomplished graphic artist, you got the sense that Munisa could talk about her topic all night.

Which is worth celebrating in so many ways. Consider: Munisa moved to the United States from Uzbekistan when she was just 7 years old. Learning English took time. Adjusting to a new country did as well.

But as nears her high school graduation, Munisa is a confident, passionate student who has discovered what interests her the most. The world of art, design, and online graphics interests her, and she will study just that at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in Catonsville this fall.

She shared her thoughts about one aspect of graphic design — projection mapping — during the 5th annual Student Independent Research Symposium at Pikesville High May 18. The symposium was an opportunity for 24 students from five high schools (Pikesville High, Patapsco High and Center for the Arts, Parkville High, Randallstown, and Western School of Technology) to present projects they had been working on for months.

Lots of proud supporters. This post was shared by Randallstown High:

Students needed to pick topics, perform research, and develop conclusions. Visitors could learn more about a wide variety of topics. And the students, of course, picked subjects they were truly passionate about.

Since presentations were happening simultaneously in locations throughout Pikesville High, we decided to pay a visit to the school’s Maker Lab and observe the four presentations happening there. We wish we could have seen them all, but we were inspired by the four we visited.

Munisa Makhmudova, Pikesville High

Research topic: Projection Mapping, Where Will It Take Us Next?

Why she chose the topic: Her interest in animations and motion graphics led her to research projection mapping, which uses projects to cascade light onto any surface. It can make any 3-D shape into an interactive display. Munisa plans to study graphic design at UMBC. She enjoys working with graphic design, where there are no language barriers and new ideas are welcomed. Her sleek presentation featured her own designs.

Jordan Davis, Randallstown High

Research topic: Why do students who love to learn hate school?

Why he chose the topic: Jordan has evolved from a C-average student into an honor roll member during his Grade 12 year. He also served as a Randallstown High football captain and developed into an outstanding public speaker.  He earned a public speaking award via Future Business Leaders of America. Jordan’s success in the classroom started when he became engaged in course topics. He wanted to understand what makes students engaged in the classroom and conducted a survey of his peers.

Aidan Shipperley, Western School of Technology

Research topic: Effects of Competitiveness in Teenage Sports and Recreational Activities

Why he chose the topic: Aidan has been playing basketball since he was eight years old. What started as a fun hobby became more of a competition as he advanced. He has always wondered how athletic competition influences the brain.  He learned not all athletes thrive in the same environment. He believes he learned a few tricks that will help him mentally in basketball this year. It should be noted that Aidan, who has been taking French since he was in Grade 1, presented a portion of his presentation entirely in French.

Annalea Cascio, Parkville High

Topics: The Effects of Domestication on Asian Elephants and The Effect of LGBTQ Representation in Media

Why she chose the topics: Last summer, Annalea visited Thailand and had the opportunity to study, and work with, Asian elephants. Her first independent research topic investigated the social effects of elephant domestication in Thailand and the differences between wild and domesticated elephants in that country. Annalea’s thought-provoking presentation featured several photos of her with elephants she met. Her second topic focused on the representation of LGBTQ characters in television and the media. She conducted a survey that asked takers to think of how characters in media have affected their understanding of the LGBTQ community.


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