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Foundational Updates August 2020

August 18, 2020

GSSM Named Best Public High School in South Carolina

GSSM was recently named South Carolina's number one best public high school by Niche. Utilizing a rigorous analysis of key statistics, including state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT and ACT scores, and teacher quality, Niche assigned GSSM an A+ grade!

Summer Research Carries On

Historical Archaeological Dating of a Nineteenth-Century Home
Emily Harris, GSSM Class of 2021
Mentored by Meg Gaillard, SC Department of Natural Resources Heritage Trust Program

Emily washed and categorized artifacts from a duplex home on the Fort Frederick site with the SCDNR Heritage Trust. Besides many oyster shells, she also discovered ceramics, nails, glass, tabby, and brick. After washing and categorizing, she worked to identify and date these artifacts to provide insight on the years of construction for this home.

One of the most unique things that sets GSSM apart from other South Carolina high schools is the summer research experience in which every student conducts research between their junior and senior years. Students conduct their research in university and corporate R&D labs throughout the state, nation, and world, all under the mentorship of research professionals. In the months following, they work with their research mentors and GSSM faculty to compile and analyze their findings and present their work at GSSM's annual Research Colloquium and at the SC Junior Academy of Science annual meeting.

Summer 2020 posed some interesting challenges and new opportunities. Thanks to the ongoing support of research mentors and the decades-long relationships GSSM has cultivated with university and corporate partners, 89 GSSM students conducted research this summer in spite of the pandemic. A few students were able to work on-site, wearing masks and socially distancing. Many others set up research areas in their own homes. While many projects focused on computational tasks in their field, some students were able to work with equipment and materials provided by their mentors.

GSSM students and professors learned a lot this summer. Not every research project adapted well to remote experimentation, but not every in-person project is successful either. A positive outcome of conducting virtual research is that more students worked in teams on their projects this summer than ever before. Once geographic constraints were lifted, new opportunities opened up, allowing students to work on projects in their field of interest regardless of location. Summer 2020 proved yet again what GSSM has always known to be true: Govies go above and beyond to continue learning and growing.

While the scientific findings of their research are important, students benefit just as much from the experience itself. In their own words:

"I got a lot of insight into what research at a large research university entails. It was very exciting even remotely so I can’t imagine what it would be like to work inside the actual lab. I’m excited to pursue research opportunities in college."

"I gained a greater understanding for research and how it can be very trial and error oriented. I think I gained a lot of patience and determination from working on this project."

"The lab group I worked with did an amazing job with collaborating. Everyone felt comfortable voicing opinions on the project and how we could improve it. The most beneficial personal experience I gained from working with my peers was how to find common ground in a professional setting when there were opposing opinions. I learned more on how to be flexible and contribute ideas in a meaningful way that would benefit the whole, while being mindful of everyone's personal viewpoints."

Shopping online? Support GSSM at the same time!

amazon smile logoYour shopping spree could help a Govie in need! AmazonSmile contributes a percentage of your purchases to the charity of your choice, and we invite you to register the GSSM Foundation as your charity! We don't get any information about you or your purchases; the program is completely anonymous. It's an easy way to help support GSSM students and programs. Choose the GSSM Foundation as your charity on AmazonSmile today!

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