Lincoln-Way East students present findings at Argonne National Laboratory
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

On Tuesday May 8, 2018, Lincoln-Way East students in the Exemplary Student Research Program (ESRP) group held their final meeting through the Argonne National Laboratory in DuPage County, Illinois. The laboratory is a science and engineering research laboratory operated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

In the fall of 2017, Lincoln-Way East Honors Chemistry and Forensic Science teacher Mr. Benjamin Voliva attended a conference in order for the Griffins to participate in the event this school year. He pursued the opportunity with the ESRP program for Lincoln-Way students to receive hands-on experience, and formed the student research team to conduct experiments using the particle accelerator (synchrotron) at Argonne National Laboratory.

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

“The Science Department is thrilled to have Mr. Voliva bring our students this opportunity as this is the first time Lincoln-Way East has ever participated in this Argonne sponsored program, but watching the students present their findings to scientists was one of the best parts of this experience,” says Lincoln-Way East Department Chair Maria Wilson.

The first of many meetings allowed students to learn about the capabilities of the synchrotron and the Advanced Photon Source at the Argonne National Laboratory, and with the help of Argonne’s Tianpin Wu and George Sterbinsky, to conduct experiments on catalytic converters. The Griffins were required to provide their own catalytic converters for the experiment, which were donated by Bettenhausen Dodge of Tinley Park.

The Griffins’ project was one of few involved in ESRP to have a definite conclusion. The research and design of both their poster and abstract prompted the students’ work to be displayed in the Learning Center at Argonne and on Argonne’s education website.

"In starting this project, I really just wanted to give our students the opportunity to go to the most prestigious school they can by providing the extra educational experience those schools require of their applicants,” says Voliva. “There are not many more impressive places to do scientific research than at the synchrotron of Argonne National Laboratories."

During the evening, the group was able to discuss their findings with other scientists, and had the opportunity to walk around, observe and ask questions about other projects. Principal Dr. Sharon Michalak and Board of Education Member Ron Lullo attended the event to support the Griffins.

“The students did an outstanding job presenting their findings,” said Lullo. “We’re proud of the hard work and dedication by both students and staff for making opportunities like this possible. These Griffins have bright futures ahead.”