Lincoln-Way East joins Exemplary Student Research Program group
Friday, October 6, 2017

On Thursday, September 28, Lincoln-Way East students in the Exemplary Student Research Program group had their first meeting through the Argonne National Laboratory.

Lincoln-Way East Honors Chemistry and Forensic Science teacher, and sponsor of the Lincoln-Way East ESRP team, Benjamin Voliva, formed this student research team to be able to conduct experiments using the particle accelerator (synchrotron) at the Argonne National Laboratory.

The Lincoln-Way East students who were selected for the group are seniors: Zachary Martin and Noah Baker, juniors: Noah Marron, Samantha Bollman, AJ Pulido, and Tom Arndt, and sophomore: Kendall Blankenburg.

The Argonne National Laboratory is located in DuPage County, Illinois, and is a science and engineering research laboratory operated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Mr. Voliva attended a conference last fall in order for Lincoln-Way East to participate this school year. He pursued this opportunity with the ESRP program for Lincoln-Way students to receive remarkable hands-on experience.

“Argonne created this program to identify the best high school students around, and to lure them towards a career in the sciences and possibly to come to Argonne someday,” says Mr. Voliva. “America needs the best minds in science now more than ever. Many of our societal problems will most likely need to be solved by science. I hope the next American hero is a scientist, and I would be proud if I helped find and/or inspire him or her.”

“The students will be performing an experiment, typically reserved for PhD students or higher, where they will be identifying failures in catalytic materials atom-by-atom. The project will answer real questions in science that are presently unknown. The information will likely have an impact on future fuel cell research, pollution control devices, and improvements in chemical processes. If successful, the findings will be published in a scientific journal with the students listed as contributors.”

The first of many meetings involved students learning about the capabilities of the synchrotron and the Advanced Photon Source at the Argonne National Laboratory, with the help of Argonne’s Dr. Matthew Ward, to conduct experiments on catalytic converters. The Lincoln-Way East students had to provide their own catalytic converters for the experiment, which were donated by Bettenhausen Dodge of Tinley Park.

“The Science Department is thrilled to have Mr. Voliva bring our students this opportunity as this is the first time LWE has ever participated in this Argonne sponsored program,” says Maria Wilson, Lincoln-Way East Physical Science teacher.