Young scholars present at Schiff Family Science Research Institute

A group of seniors pose for a picture

Seniors in The Summit Country Day School’s Schiff Family Science Research Institute gather to share their research findings through oral presentations and a poster session. They are (L to R, front row) Sophie Evans, Connie Nelson, Amir Johnson, Emily Warden, Adaliene Andsager and Madeline Riley. (L to R, back row) Pierce Kreider, Jack Schmerge, Matthew Warden, Ryan Burns, Rebecca Smith and Zejun "Mark" Zhou.

Polished, poised and professional, a group of 12 seniors at The Summit Country Day School presented scientific research findings at the school’s sixth annual Schiff Family Science Research Institute Colloquium. 

At the colloquium, the seniors shared their research findings in oral presentations and a poster session on topics including congenital heart defects, rare earth element extraction, risk stratification for predicting Crohn's Disease, vision training for sports-related concussion patients, regional air quality and others.
The colloquium is the capstone experience for the Institute and simulates the same kind of scientific conference in which student researchers would participate in college or professional research careers. Prior to the colloquium, students had taken three classes on the scientific research process and scientific writing and had spent six to eight weeks working with local scientists and in area laboratories. At the colloquium, students presented talks about their research and answered impromptu questions about their work. They also presented posters like the posters presented at academic and professional science research conferences.

Several members of Cincinnati’s scientific community, who served as mentors and attended the event, commented on how well-prepared and polished the students were in communicating their research findings. Fabiano Nery, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Cincinnati, mentored Ryan Burns in a study about the effect of the oral dietary N-acetyl cysteine supplement on youth exhibiting depression and who were at risk for bipolar disorder.

“It was my first time participating in the high school research colloquium, and I was impressed by the quality of poster and oral presentations, and by the breadth of research topics,” he said. “Some presentations were top notch! I praise Summit and the research institute for this terrific opportunity for the high schoolers. It is a much-needed exposure to get to know what it is like to work in science when you are choosing your career.”

The student posters are rated by a board of college professors and some may go further in science fair competition. 

Altogether, 64 students have completed the program over the past six years, 12 seniors are finishing their work and 13 juniors have begun their coursework and are seeking research positions for this summer.

“We are indebted to the Schiff Family for endowing the Science Research Institute in perpetuity,” said Head of School Rich Wilson.  “Admissions offices in colleges recognize the uniqueness of this experience; participation in the program has proven to be a door opener in that regard. The experience also has proven to elevate our students in the pecking order when they compete for plum research experiences in college.” 

See a gallery of photos from the colloquium and learn about mentorship opportunities at