Category Archives: Word from our sponsor


Once again YHS SNHS students headed to ASU to talk with graduate student Amy Peterson about her work studying human origins. Eleven SNHS students listened as Amy talked about her research, her interest in human origins, and her experiences in college during the hour long meeting.

Arianna Paul, Emily Beringhelli, David Griffin, Fernanda Valenzuela Vazquez, Anastasia Battes, Levi Wakeham, Kiara Rivas, Tyler Adams, Takila Moore, Victor Serna, and Judith Beltran listening to Julie Russ talk about Lucy

When we first arrived at the Institute of Human Origins at ASU, assistant director Julie Russ introduced us to Lucy, or rather her origins and how her finding helped build the program at ASU.

Amy then took over and walked us through the different skulls she had out. She told us about their origins, their age, and how scientists are still working with some specimens to determine how they fall in our family tree.

She discussed her own interest in pelvic development in females as humans evolved and how our need for bipedalism needed to match our need for fitting shoulders and heads through a birthing canal. Her research sounds pretty interesting!

Students were allowed to touch and examine the skulls and casts to see the features for themselves.

Kiara Rivas examining a skull

Students also asked her questions about college, how college is different from high school, and what they should except. Amy gave them some great advice: it will be harder than high school but it is very fun once you figure it out. Also, go to class and really read the syllabus (seriously!).

Big thanks to Amy and Julie for taking time to talk to us! And big thanks to my dad ( pictured below in the red hat) for helping me chaperone!


Levi Wakeham, Anastasia Battles, Fernanda Valenzuela Vazquez, David Griffin, Takila Moore, Emily Beringhelli, and Ray Doskocil listening to Amy Peterson talk about her research


Welcome back!

This year is looking to be another great year for Science NHS at Youngker High School.  I’m excited to see old members returning and excited to meet new members.

This year we will continue posting students’ summaries of their citizen science projects and their community outreach projects.  Students will also write a short summary of a scientific paper that we read as a group, so look out of those posts.

Ms. Doskocil

Science in the community

Ana, Mackenzie, Eric, Jacob, and Erick doing the candle demo

On Valentine’s Day, 5 members of YHS SNHS visited Freedom Elementary School to spread some science love. Jacob, Eric, Ana, Mackenzie and Erick shared their knowledge about density with Mrs. Roland’s 7th grade science classes. The SNHS students demonstrated density by having the 7th grade students make observations about a small candle in water and a large candle in ethanol. The density of the candle compared to the ethanol makes the candle sink. However, the same candle floats when placed in water.

Candles in ethanol and water

The 7th grade students where then tasked with creating a density column using their new knowledge of density. The 7th grade students where given different colored liquids of different densities. They could then add them to a test tube in order of highest density to lowest density to create a colorful column. These columns are possible because a water solution with more sugar is more dense, causing the different layers to not mix!

Density column!

International Science and Engineering Fair

Today I took 8 students to the ISEF held at the Phoenix convention center. The fair showcases students from around the world who have competed in local, regional, and state science fairs and have won in their category. They now are competing for chances to win a total of $4 million in scholarships and prizes. Some of the projects are truly amazing. Students are using research techniques to solve problems such as dust allergies, milk allergies, and identifying breast cancer at earlier stages. It’s inspiring.

My students are here to observe, ask questions, and be inspired. They have part updated in some hands-on labs where they had to think about problems in a different way. The invasive species lab was partially good because it dealt with some local and global problems.

Students looked at how zebra and quagga mussels effect local ecosystems and have a global impact on both other species and human endeavors.

The ISEF is a great place to see how one person or a group of people can change the world by looking for solutions to problems they encounter. Hopefully some of that inspiration with transfer to my students and they will look at the problems facing the world in a different way.

Vision To Your Future

Every year, the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the School of Plant Sciences host an event open to high school juniors and seniors.  The Vision To Your Future event showcases all that the two departments have to offer.  This year, 7 Science NHS members traveled down to Tucson to listen to professors and students talk about their programs.

Zach and Edwin listening to an undergraduate student talking about her research

Zach Blowers, Edwin Vasquez, Sophia Thomas, Marlene Sanchez, Anthony Khalifeh, Anabel Blount, and Eric Hoang took the long bus ride from YHS campus to U of A campus to speak with undergraduate and graduate students about their experiences and research in the MCB and School of Plant Sciences.  Many undergraduate students at the university are able to participate in labs and active research in order to better prepare for their careers after college.  The SNHS students were able to ask them questions and learn a lot from them while at the event.

Marlene and Eric aggregating DNA from their cheeks.

The MCB and School of Plant Sciences also had several hands on activities for students to participate in.  The School of Plant Science gave away free desert for students to grow in their own backyard.  The MCB gave students a chance to aggregate DNA from their cheeks.  The students got to keep their DNA in small vials that they could wear.

The event is always a great opportunity for high school students to think about college and the college experience.  They get a chance to talk to college students who are not that much older than them yet participating in real, active research.  They also have a chance to speak to professors and advisers about how they should prepare for the next chapter in their life.  It’s always a great time and I look forward to bringing a new group of students next year.

Science at Buckeye Elementary School

On Wednesay, October 28th 5 members of Science NHS traveled to Buckeye Elementary school to engage Mr. Thomas Gibson’s 8th grade science in some science. Derric, Tatum, Kaley, Zach, and Sophia showed students a demo and walked then through a hands-on activity.

The SNHS students showed the younger students how gases can flow from one container to another. The Science NHS students did a demo where they mixed baking soda with vinager to create carbon dioxide. They could then pour the carbon dioxide out of the beaker over lit candles. The carbon dioxide, being heavier than air, flows down and puts out the flame.

Derric “pouring” carbon dioixde onto candles

Next the SNHS students walked the BES students through a hands-on activity using soap bubbles. The younger students created their own bubbles using different types of solutions: soap + water, soap + water + ethanol, soap + water + sugar, soap + water + corn syrup. They measured the time it took for the bubbles to pop. The high school students then explained why the corn syrup bubbles last the longest.

Tatum and Kaley blowing bubbles

All students really enjoyed day.  The SNHS students enjoy sharing their knowledge about chemistry and high school. The BES students enjoy doing some fun science without having to write about it.

End of the Year

Last week, students at Youngker High School were inducted into the Science National Honor Society based on their science grades, their overall grades, and their participation in community outreach and citizen science.  In total, 30 students were inducted into the society.  Thanks for making it a great year and congratulations to all the seniors who will be graduating at the end of the week.  You’ve made this chapter a super fun and amazing place to be on campus.

We also welcomes our new members who will be joining out chapter next year.  Congratulations for doing well in your classes and meeting the requirements to become a member.  I looking forward to working with all you next year as we confirm your membership through continued hard work and success.

Lastly, we introduced next year’s officers to the club.  Congratulations to:
Madyson Madrid – President
Zach Blowers – Vice President
Sara Hawkins – Secretary
Jonathan Catrone – Treasurer
Madison Derho – Parliment

I look forward to another great year doing science and reaching out to the community to explain the importance of being scientifically literate.  There are a lot of fun and educational projects in the works for next year, including another trip to Disneyland to discover how their Imagineers use science to create the great attractions in the park.

Until then, have an amazing summer.

Ms. Doskocil