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Science Department Honors Students at Annual Baxter Awards Ceremony

The Science Department honored 133 students with Baxter Awards on Monday, May 20, for the energy, curiosity, and dedication that they bring to their science classes every day.

The annual celebration took place in the Clark Center for Science & Mathematics. Refreshments were served, and the students enjoyed a reception in the lobby before gathering in Gilchrist Hall for opening remarks from Science Department Chair Naomi Appel and reflections from students. The awards are named in honor of retired Loomis Chaffee faculty member Alice Baxter, who was a dedicated and passionate teacher of chemistry, the history of science, and astronomy. She also served as the dean of faculty for almost 20 years.

The science teachers nominate students in each of their classes who have shown enthusiasm for and engagement in their study of science. Each selected student received a certificate from their nominating teacher as well as a key chain built using the Pearse Hub for Innovation's laser cutter.

Nine students spoke about special learning opportunities they had this year in the sciences. Senior Sharon Zhou spoke about working in the Science Resource Center. Sophomore Aresh Pourkavoos spoke about the Connecticut Science Fair and the opportunity it afforded him to delve into the area of artificial intelligence. Sophomore Clara Chen shared her excitement about the Chemistry Olympiad and encouraged other students to sign up next year. Senior Molly Forrester lauded her time as a biology lab assistant, where she not only set up experiments and helped with experiment design, but also became more comfortable in the lab. Junior Aarman Pannu discussed the different disciplines involved in robotics and encouraged all students, regardless of their experience, to join the robotics team. Junior Julia Hoffman shared her enthusiasm for the Science Quiz Team and offered many reasons why students should join. Senior Kalina "Kiki" Szemraj spoke about environmental proctors and their work on campus. Senior Adam Guillemette shared his work on a Guided Environmental Research Project and encouraged other students who are enrolled in environmental science classes to take on a project. Finally, senior Lucia Giannamore spoke about the Guided Research Project she did at UCONN Health, and how the program helped her realize that research is not the aspect of science she wishes to pursue in the future.