Celebrating the Research of STEM EXP Students


Peddie Flickr

STEM EXP students gather together before presenting their research.

Dalina Cao '24, Assignment Editor

Chatting students and parents lined up outside the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Science Center on October 14, 2022, as they waited for the doors to open for the Signature Experience in Advanced Research poster night event. Inside the building, 27 Peddie seniors were dispersed throughout the first and ground floor, preparing their presentations on the scientific research they conducted over the summer. 

The Signature Experience in Advanced Research (EXP) is a science enrichment program at Peddie. This program prepares and places students in summer laboratory internships following the conclusion of their junior year. Students work closely with post-doctoral researchers, graduate students, and principal investigators (PI) as they dive deeply into their field of interest. 

Students, parents, and faculty traveled through a maze of EXP presentations. They learned about numerous research topics and projects, including the genetic associations between diabetes and sleep apnea (Harvard University), an educational card game (Columbia University), black holes and Hawking evaporation (University of California Berkeley) and an ant catalog (California Academy of Sciences).

Catherine Zhang ’23 completed her research at the University of Pennsylvania, where she focused on ophthalmology – the study of diseases of the eyes – specifically, retinol inflammation. When asked about her preparation for the poster night event, she shared that she was “really nervous … I redid my format twenty times at least, but I had my PI and graduate student that were willing to work with me on [the poster].” She said her experience at the lab prepared her well to present her project, as her lab “made [her] present every week.” 

When current EXP student Lakhi Raju ’24 attended the event, she sought advice from the seniors who completed their research, like Zhang. Raju shared that many seniors gave her advice to persevere in finding a lab. They told her that “there were many rejections” but reassured her by saying, “you will eventually find one.” 

No matter the person’s background in science, the senior students explained their research and findings in-depth to viewers. They also held detailed conversations with underclassmen who might be interested in the STEM-EXP in the future. Advice was exchanged, knowledge was shared, and Peddie students, faculty, and parents all left with new facts.