Four high school sophomores ventured to the 49th Annual Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium last week at the University of Florida to present a study on diabetes research they conducted in the classroom this school year.
The young ladies from the health academy — Kelsey Brown, Devon Burns, Sydni Starling and Sarah Farnesi — were selected from 127 students in biology teacher Deirdre Riggs’ classes to attend the three-day event and share their conclusions.
Ms. Riggs had her students pen a two-page paper about whether a rare form of diabetes called MODY (Maturity Onset Diabetes in the Young), that shares characteristics of Type 2 diabetes more common in overweight adults, is inherited or caused by environmental factors like lifestyle and diet.
The papers counted as final exams and followed laboratory research partially funded by the university as part of a program to enrich high school science classes by incorporating more hands-on activities.
Last summer, after an application process, Ms. Riggs was chosen to attend a two-week training session at UF along with about 20 other Florida high school teachers.