School News Blog


 

Sunday
May212017

Freshmen Advice

By: Ester Teper

Biotechnology High School is definitely an accepting place; the community is extremely diverse and comprised of numerous different cultures, helping everyone fit in and make friends. However, coming in to Biotech a freshman can still be scary and a little daunting. In this article, current Biotech students  give the class of 2021 advice on how to make the best of their high school experience.

 

Why did you choose Biotech?

“I chose Biotech because I went to a really small middle school with neither  diversity nor  students  who had the same passion for learning as I did. I knew some older kids from the same town as me who went to Biotech, and they loved it. I knew I wanted to spend high school in a place where the atmosphere is happy and  supportive and the teachers are helpful and friendly, so coming to Biotech was an easy choice for me.”

-Freshman

“I chose Biotech for the IB program. I loved the idea of learning on the same level as students from all around the world, and the sense of community that is formed from it really drew me into the school. Also, I love biology (of course).”

-Sophomore

“I was initially set on going to MAST, but as soon as I saw how beautiful the school was and how amazingly composed and intelligent the students were, I knew I wanted to come to Biotech. Every student I talked to seemed to have something interesting to say and had a positive experience with the school. Being a highly rated high school in NJ at the time didn't hurt either…”

-Junior

“I chose Biotech for the atmosphere and the student body. I knew it was a good school, but I worried if this was a place I was ready to spend the next four years at. When I went to the open house, I saw how nice and chill the students were and I really liked the atmosphere they created. Also my older brother went here and loved it, so that's another factor.”

-Senior


What’s the best thing about Biotech?

“The diversity of the student body. There are so many people of different cultures and backgrounds here that everyone has an interesting story to tell. Coming from a small town where everyone tends to be pretty similar, I always find it interesting to talk about cultures with other people and to see how different cultures can contain many of the same elements.”

-Freshman

“The lab experience is amazing! I do so many cool things in class on a daily basis, whether it be gel electrophoresis or chemotaxis assays. Not only do I get to learn and explore lots of different lab skills, but my friends never cease to be impressed with all the cool things I'm doing!”

-Junior

“I feel comfortable to be myself here. I can be loud with my friends without facing judgement, try hard in school without being labeled as a nerd,and try different things and go out of my comfort zone.”

-Junior

“The general sense of community and belonging are unparalleled at this school. Friend groups are always expanding. You constantly learn more about each others' experiences, beliefs, ambitions, and hopes. In the process you'll make intimate connections with people who might be your friends for life.”

-Senior

 

What do you wish you knew before you came here?

“I wish I knew about the gradual adjustment into the school workload, not only during freshman year, but throughout all of high school. The teachers here really do prepare you for each coming week, month, and year, so that when the greatest obstacles come, you're prepared for them already.”

-Freshman

“I wish I knew that the teachers aren’t out to get me, and they really do care about us. The environment is not extremely intense, and it is vital to relax sometimes. Definitely be sure to figure out how to clear your brain of any extra information, and write down things instead of keeping it in your head.”

-Sophomore

“I came into the school thinking it'd be just like middle school and that I'd be at the top of the class academically. Going to Biotech, where everyone is in the top 5% of their middle school class, really evens the playing field. Although I'm not the best in my grade anymore, I feel like coming here has allowed me to separate my self-worth from my academic achievement. I've learned that sometimes you're not going to  understand what's going on in class and that you might fail a test, but people are always willing to help you out and no one's going to judge. We're all in the same boat here!”

-Junior

“I can't afford to procrastinate, even if it’s because I'm feeling a lot of anxiety. No matter what goes on in your personal life, your academic life just has to keep moving forward if you want to do well. You cannot afford to fall back. Time management ties into this - you have to plan out your day and stick to that plan if you intend to sleep at all.”

Sophomore

“Make sure to manage your time, as this is what most people at Biotech struggle with at first. More than 50% of Biotech students play sports, play an instrument, or are involved in extracurricular activities. The only way to handle the academic pressure and your life outside of school is to manage your time. There’s no way around it.”

-Sophomore

 

What are the advantages of going to our school?

“The students are in charge of clubs and have a lot of independence and responsibility. Also, you get to know your classmates really well considering there's only 80 students in a grade and you'll be with them for four years within a close proximity.”

-Freshman

“1. High ranking in NJ, so we get bragging rights
2. Fun activities like Career and Wellness Days
3. Unique opportunities for learning
4. Awesome facilities for labs
5. Great guidance program
6. Friendly and supportive people.”

-Sophomore

“You're going to  get a great learning experience and you're going to  make friends from all over Monmouth County. If you had asked me in 8th grade where Matawan was, I'd have no idea. But now that so many of my friends come from different towns in Monmouth County, I can basically label every town on a map. The lab skills you will learn in Biology, Research, and Biotech Lab Skills will put you way ahead of the game if you're interested in working/interning as a lab assistant in the future. Also, people you meet will automatically consider you highly intelligent when you tell them you go to Biotech; that's always a plus!”

-Junior

“We have a great facility, amazing teachers, extremely intelligent and hard working people, and overall an environment that promotes academic pursuit and success. We have a lot of very cool scientific equipment that other schools do not, thus giving us a deeper and more comprehensive education in the STEM fields.”

-Senior

 

What are the disadvantages of going to our school?

“Heavy workload and early start times. If you're the type of person that needs 10 hours of sleep a day, not managing your time will have drastic consequences for you.”

-Sophomore

“There can be a lot of work that builds up, and there are periods of stress that can really test you (like when five different teachers each assign a test within the span of two or three days). On top of that, you have a large project due and  you have to study, do homework and participate in whatever other activities you're in. The key to these times is to find the calm within the storm and keep pushing through.”

-Junior

“Biotech is really open to new ideas for clubs, projects, events, and more. But because it's a small school, there's only so much effort and attention to go around. On top of that, everyone here is motivated to make a positive and lasting impact on the school, leading to some competition. Both of these factors make it difficult to get ideas approved and implemented sometimes.
But, if you're persistent and your idea is truly meaningful, then the problems above shouldn't stop you from doing what you love here.”

-Junior

“Students with interests in subjects other than science don't really get to excel and further their interests. We're a science school which makes sense why everything is heavily science based, but it would be nice if there were possibly electives that are non-science based to let people explore other avenues. I'm not a super a sciency person, but I still loved going to Biotech.”

-Senior

 

As a student of Biotech, what would you recommend to the incoming freshmen?

“Do not expect to pass any exam regarding somewhat difficult topics without studying. Work hard, BUT GET SLEEP. As the year goes on, don't expect that it will get easier, because it never does. However, you become a better student in the process; if you have the motivation, you will power through and achieve what you want :)”

-Sophomore

“Try hard! The classes are going to get MUCH more challenging to juggle Junior year and your GPA will greatly benefit in the long run from top notch freshman year grades. Also, don't stress if you feel lost in class. Everyone comes from different middle school backgrounds and different amounts of schooling, so it might not be your fault if you don't quite know what's going on. Also, don't assume you're going to get straight A's like you did in middle school. Most the kids here were straight A students in middle school, so the classes are all more challenging to even the playing field a bit. It's kind of like the SAT: it has to be super hard or else EVERYONE would get a perfect score. Also, LIVE YOUR LIFE! Don't study too long, you've got the whole next 3 years (maybe 7+ if you're going to college/post graduate studies in the future) to work hard. Everyone who goes to Biotech is a bright kid and you're probably going to turn out alright, even if you don't do well on a couple tests. Take the time to go out and make friends and socialize. It's an important part of being a kid. Don't let the academic rigor hold you back from happiness.”

-Junior

“Come into Biotech prepared to work harder than you ever have before. Biotech is not an extremely hard school. If you manage your time, study for every assessment, do homework when it's assigned, and sleep well regularly, academic success in Biotech is easy to achieve. In terms of extracurriculars, get involved! There are so many different clubs and groups within our school that meet, and you should take full advantage of them. Although there can be stress and a lot of work, it's all manageable and you develop a great work ethic and unique perspective by going to this school.”

-Junior

“Try different things, such as fun clubs, events and classes. Also, don't break down when you receive your first low grade; you will recover and be fine. Try to be as organized as possible and get as much sleep as possible because it's no fun pulling an all-nighter on an assignment you had 2 weeks to complete. Make sure you hang with friends and do fun activities on the weekend instead of stay home and do homework; you need to have a fun high school experience. Learn from failed tests/assignments instead of putting yourself down and don't be afraid to ask for help from teachers or find a tutor. Also befriend the teachers and try to have conversations with them because the teachers are super cool and interesting and conversations with them are probably one of the best things to have at Biotech.”

-Senior

“In the coming years when you find obstacles to your desired path, use those experiences to improve yourself. Failing a test, falling behind on a project, not getting the results you want, not getting the club position you want, and not getting your project approved are all obstacles that you could very easily encounter over the next four years. If you're able to develop new studying strategies, time managements skills, and so forth, then none of your efforts will have been in vain. Make sure to take time to reflect on your experiences. Life at Biotech is all about following through.”

-Senior

 

Is there anything you wish you had done differently freshmen year?

“I wish I had signed up for more clubs and gotten more involved in extracurriculars. Now that I'm a junior, it's difficult to find leadership positions in clubs that I haven't created a strong reputation in over the last 2.5 years. I also wish I had asked teachers for help sooner. At first, I felt really uneasy all the time because everyone seemed so smart. I felt embarrassed asking questions during class. I just let myself fall behind in class instead of asking for extra help, which ended up helping me a lot once I did ask.”

-Junior

“Freshmen year is about learning who you are as a friend, student, scientist, athlete, and so on. In the past I've looked back on freshmen year and thought about what I should have done differently, but near the end of senior year everything is put into perspective. Now I look back on freshmen year and see it as a learning experience more than anything else. It's not that you *have to do this or that*. You can do whatever you'd like freshmen year as long as you leave your stigmas behind and try to get the largest range of experience possible through clubs, talking to new people, and more.”

-Senior

“I would have recognized the opportunities to spend more time with my classmates. I put all of my time into making sure that I was doing well in school, and while this is definitely important too, there's a lot you can gain from your friends freshman year.”

-Senior

“I wish I managed my sleep schedule and drank a lot more water (it really helps with concentration and falling asleep).”

-Sophomore


What are some fun times you’ve had at Biotech?

“In Forensics (my junior year elective), we were doing a fingerprint analysis lab using a black dust/charcoal material to capture the print. My friends and I thought it would be funny to use the charcoal dust as face paint and drew mustaches and funny shapes on our faces. We went to wash it off in the bathroom and learned the stuff does not come off easily. So the rest of the day we had faint charcoal shaped mustaches on our faces. It was a fun day.”

-Senior

“Waffle parties, the idiom game, and watching cartoons with Mr. Dannen.
When Alvin Liu played "Careless Whisper" on the saxophone in the middle of the MPR during lunch.
Making video projects with friends for biology, Spanish, Digital Literacy, and other classes.
Unofficial roast wars with Mr. Martin every class. No one wants to admit it, but efforts to weaken Mr. Martin via roast are in vain. He is too savage for such trivial matters.
Ayush U and Ayush K, the real Ayush2 battle. Always ongoing.
Mr. Shafaie, always willing to help out in class and at lunch! His Pooh bears give freshmen life.”

-Junior

 

 

Friday
May192017

Biotech Students March for Science

By: Karolina Szenkiel

 

Biotech students at the March for Science in NYC.

 

Science: it’s a universally beneficial and crucial endeavor for any nation hoping to advance and make its way in the world.  Whether scientists are creating medications for diseases, monitoring climate change, or creating the technology powers our smartphones, everyone benefits from the growing pool of knowledge that science gives us.  That’s why many Americans found themselves shocked and confused when President Trump made moves to discredit climate science and cut research funding earlier in 2017.  Inspired by the Women’s March in late January, science enthusiasts began to organize and assemble a similar march to take place in Washington D.C. to protest for science backed policy.  On April 22nd, Earth Day, the March for Science took place along with 600 other sister marches globally, amassing hundreds of thousands of protesters walking in the name of science.  Some of these were Biotech students.  Given the fact that the average Biotech student will have finished six different science courses by the end of sophomore year, it’s no surprise that BTHS students flocked to march in the name of science.  Through their words, it is clear to see that Biotech students care deeply about the role of science in politics.

Sophomore Kelli Valentini went to the March for Science in New York City hoping to show her support for the prevention of climate change.  Although she does not consider herself the most politically active person, she says she felt compelled to join because, “It is imperative to support science, especially in the wake of recent efforts by the Trump Administration to ignore facts and instead favor short-term profit regarding issues like climate change.”  She strongly believes that the government should fund scientific research as well.  “The discoveries that are absolutely crucial to the betterment of society and our world as a whole would never occur without funded research. These advancements can save lives and money in the long run, with improvements in areas like medicine, energy efficiency, agriculture, and hundreds of other essential fields we typically don’t even consider.”

Sophomore Christina Noel was also proud to be at the March for Science along with other Biotech students in New York City.  “I'm so glad that I was able to be a part of this, and it was great to see so many people involved and passionate about science!”

Social media was buzzing with photos from the march too.  Photos of colorful, creative, and sometimes comical signs filled people’s dashboards and feeds.  “There was a big group of kids marching and they held signs that were cut into flowers and penguins, and they were all following an adult holding this huge butterfly, which I thought was adorable,” said Christina.  Kelli sported her own punny sign, which read “Don’t mess with our field,” along with an illustration of electrical fields, which Biotech students learn about in physics sophomore year.

“The March for Science is a celebration of science.  It’s not only about scientists and politicians; it is about the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world,” proclaims the March for Science website.  Although the Trump Administration has yet to acknowledge the real dangers of scientifically proven climate change, one thing’s for sure: Biotech students will continue to champion science and fight for an administration that acknowledges climate change and other environmental issues.  

Sophomore Kelli Valentini holds her sign at the March for Science in NYC.

 

Friday
May052017

Science in the Real World: Graphene

By: Andrew Miller

In order to contribute more articles about things going on in the real world, especially in the science world, I feel it is important to write this article about graphene. Graphene is essentially a one atom thick sheet of carbon, with tons of different properties and uses that make it such a versatile substance that is generally believed to be the “material of the future”.   

Pictured above, artist’s rendition of graphene

Graphene can be used for many different tasks due to its insane properties. It is incredibly flexible, yet incredibly durable, making it nigh impossible to break. It can be stretched, and is the world’s thinnest material along with being billed as the world’s best electrical conductor by the labs at the University of Manchester, who discovered the substance in 2004. It also acts as a perfectly impermeable barrier, not even allowing helium to pass through. This incredible functionality is projected to lead to advancements in many fields, from consumer electronics (i.e smartphones) to medical equipment and even water filtration systems, with it having recently been used to make saltwater potable. Graphene can be used from anything from augmented reality contact lenses, like the kind you see in movies, to more effective capacitors and energy storage, potentially even helping in the push for renewable energy in the modernized world, potentially even phasing out copper and other traditional metals for wiring due to its more effective electrical conduction. However, the methods to produce graphene are very expensive and time consuming. The means of production can be seen here.

Interestingly, a new method of graphene production has been invented at the University of Exeter in late 2016, that is cheaper and produces higher yields of graphene, potentially accelerating the introduction of graphene into more mainstream products as opposed to more novelty things such as graphene tennis racquets. There is a downside to this new method, however, as it does not produce neat sheets of graphene as the previous method does, but instead produces chunks, making it harder to use as a replacement for things such as silicon semiconductors at this time.Who knows; maybe in 10 years everyone will have their own Tony Stark transparent phone.  

To conclude, I believe that graphene will become an incredibly important, versatile resource in the future, and completely shift the way many of our current technology works, from things like refrigerators to data center computers. I believe that this new frontier will change the landscape of many major industries, and it is an incredibly important scientific discovery.


 

Wednesday
Apr262017

All About Multicultural Fair 

By A.J. Fezza


Biotechnology High School has long prided itself on being a cohesive learning community containing students from various cultural backgrounds. This Thursday, the Spanish Honor Society is thrilled to be celebrating such diversity by hosting its 5th annual Multicultural Fair! It will take place on Thursday, April 27, from 6:00-8:00PM.



There will be numerous performances, activity stations and informational booths. The performances will include Chinese, Indian, and Irish modern and fusion dances, while the activity booths will involve fun games and decorating activities. Meanwhile, the informational booths in the hallways will inform viewers about international current events and cultural phenomena. There will also be a wide array of food available, including rice cakes, clafoutis, and whichever delicious dishes you decide to bring in yourself.


Instead of selling tickets, each person attending will bring a food item or a beverage that represents your culture or any culture which you are enthusiastic about. The food can be homemade or purchased, and it must include a list of ingredients to accommodate for those that have food allergies/sensitivities. Students are welcome to bring in food the morning of April 27th, but if the item needs to be heated up or kept refrigerated, it is highly recommended that you bring it at the time of the event.


So make sure to bring yourself (and your families) to the Multicultural Fair this Thursday in the MPR to be a part of this exciting celebration!


Tuesday
Apr252017

Multicultural Fair 2017