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Ridgefield Students Pen Books Inspired By Scientific Research

Ridgefield students Jennifer Schwartz and John Diorio.
Ridgefield students Jennifer Schwartz and John Diorio. Photo Credit: Contributed

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – Ridgefield High School juniors Jennifer Schwartz , John Diorio and Alexandra DiGiacomo were so inspired by their experience in the school’s Science Research program that they have self-published books about their experience and research topics.

The program allows students to pick a science topic that interests them and research it for three years. The students conduct independent research, read scientific journals, study under mentors in real labs and present their findings in a symposium their senior year. The program is led by teachers Michael Yagid, Patrick Hughes and Ryan Gleason.

Schwartz has been studying cancer research and new treatment options for leukemia and lymphoma, and this summer will be conducting research on the subject in a lab at Dartmouth.

“I realized early on that I wanted to explore cancer research. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about,” Schwartz said. She’s looked at how certain types of cancer can be treated, how some are more resistant to treatment, and about different drugs can be more effective at targeting cancer cells.

Last year the three students were approached by Bryan Holmes, a physics teacher who was interested in writing a book with students. The students began writing over the summer, and revising their drafts in the fall. They are self-publishing the books through CreateSpace.

Schwartz’s book is titled “ On the Right Track: A Student’s Memoir of Research, Advancement, and Holding on to Hope. ” While it includes some information about cancer, it is not a science book. Instead it tells the story of her journey through the research program.

Diorio’s book is called “ Broadening the High School Experience: A Student’s Perspective on Independent Exploration ” and explores the overall research program.

“It’s about how the program is really innovative in the field of education, what it does to foster a creative experience and how it teaches us to come up with unique ideas,” Schwartz said.

DiGiacomo’s book is called “A Familiar Fin” and is a children’s book about sharks. DiGiacomo has studied sharks and the book seeks to inspire children to realize the importance of protecting them.

“Because of the fear of sharks, people aren’t standing up for their rights,” Schwartz said. “The book is about a boy and a shark who become friends, and tries to change that stigma.”

The students will be holding a launch party event Sunday, May 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Ridgefield Library, where they will discuss their work and signing copies of their books.

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