Belmont Hill’s Advanced Science Research (ASR) offers juniors and seniors the unique opportunity to conduct independent scientific research in a university, hospital, or professional laboratory. The program began at the school in 2011, and has evolved into a two-year track for juniors. The course is distinctive in that it offers professional-level research opportunities at top laboratories, all with the academic support of a faculty member on the school’s campus. Students accepted into ASR enroll in a two-year science elective.
In many ways, ASR is the culmination of the unique science opportunities available to Belmont Hill students. Belmont Hill allows its students to take an Advanced Placement (AP) science each year as a sophomore, junior, and senior; this is rare at the high school level. This uniquely qualifies students to conduct research in the wealth of labs local to the school.
Students accepted to ASR are placed in an area laboratory based on their individual interests. In addition to receiving guidance from the research mentor in their lab, ASR students receive support on campus with the conceptual framework underlying their research. Students read graduate-level textbooks or primary scientific journal publications for their weekly homework, discuss it with their teacher on campus, then bring that knowledge to their lab work. Students spend approximately 6-10 hours each week in their lab during the school year, in addition to a minimum of six weeks’ worth of work during the summer. On campus, they present their lab work each week in class.
ASR emphasizes not only exciting research opportunities for a high school student, but also the opportunity to develop one’s speaking, presentation, and writing skills. Through the course of their two years in ASR, students complete the following work:
- Entry to the Regeneron Science Talent Search, recognized as one of the top national science competitions
- Production of a professional-caliber research poster, printed in-house on the school’s large format printer
- Presentation at a high school Science Symposium
- Presentation at ASR Poster Defense, involving vetting by ASR mentors and Belmont Hill Science faculty
- In most cases, publication in a professional scientific journal
- Composition of a mock NIH Grant Proposal, explaining the impact of individual research on the larger scientific community