A few students’ spectacular summers
To cross an ocean one hundred years ago would be no small feat, but now a few hours on a plane means landing in a new country. Senior Emma and sophomore Grace Vlaun embarked on one such journey this summer taking a trip from France to Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.
“Traveling the world is a more interactive way to learn about history,” stated Emma tying in school with her trip.
She said to see history in action and see the places where everything took place, like the destruction of WWII, is astounding because learning and hearing about events is a far cry from seeing the results up close. Taking into account their travels to Italy, Spain, and England, the two sisters had quite the experiences throughout Europe.
“[Travel] gives you the emotion to connect to history on a deeper level,” emphasized Grace.
The sisters’ favorite events during the trip were when they started in France with visiting the Eiffel Tower, then to Switzerland and Bern. They then took a cable car ride in Schilthorn and had breakfast at a rotating restaurant at the top of the mountain.
They also visited Zurich and Lucerne in Switzerland, as well as the castles of Bavaria, Neuschwanstein, and Hohenschwangau in Germany. The drive continued to Munich, a tour in Austria, and then a tour in Vienna as well.
Going on so many expeditions have introduced different religions, art, and overall culture of many different types of people. Emma said that going on these vacations has changed her “perspective on how similar people are because when you go to a different country, you expect the culture to be so different and it is, but at the end of the day we are all human.” She can connect and relate more to the people she meets even though they speak different languages, eat different foods, and have unique social norms compared to America.
“It changes your perspective on how big the world actually is because you are able to take a six-hour plane ride to somewhere that seems totally different, and it just makes it seem like the world is a lot smaller than you think,” added Grace.
As the Vlauns continue to travel throughout their life, they will continue to experience the “happiness and awe” of being exposed to foreign countries. The change of scenery allows for them to expand their minds beyond, and see the globe as a interlocking network of humans full of hope, beauty, and uniqueness.
Seniors Jonathan Tan and Eric Gu had the summer experience of a lifetime: working for the Warfighter Performance Department of the Naval Submarine Medical Research Lab (NSMRL). The rigorous internship was sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and provided by the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program. The program allowed high school students to pursue a project for eight weeks over the summer, which looked at improving the health of Navy divers at the Naval Submarine Base in New London.
“The projects the interns choose from are projects that the NSMRL might want to pursue in the future, but don’t have the time on their hands to do so,” explained Tan.
The two learned a lot and gained engineering experience, philosophical backgrounds, and improved presentation skills from the consistent work it took to design the prototype.
“Initially, we started with cardboard prototypes but eventually moved on to wooden ones. We also had to look into boat design, hydrodynamics, and gear ratios,” added Gu on the prototype process.
Tan further explained that he and Gu prototyped and designed a remote controlled boat that could deploy a hydrophone, an underwater sound recording device, into and out of the water in accordance to the NSMRL’s latest experiments on the effects of underwater blasts on humans. So far, the NSMRL has discovered that the most damage an underwater blast will target is where acoustic impedance, which is the ease of the sound waves to travel through an object, changes the most. For example, the lungs and air cavities of a diver are more of a target compared to the water, which has similar acoustic impedance to the muscle and skin.
“We wanted to be able to support at least 50 pounds, so we used physics equations involving buoyancy to see how big we would need to make the boat in order for it to float. As for the propulsion and thrust and also looked at laminar and turbulent flow to make the boat hull as aerodynamic as possible,” said Gu.
Although there were some initial setbacks, including differing viewpoints, and material and cost restraints, the prototype in the end worked with limited help or counseling of the employees at the lab. Their original work was successful and proved a great feat in completing the program.
With research intern programs like the one Gu and Tan attended, the safety of submarine and naval workers with continue to rise as conditions may become more extreme. With this program behind them, the seniors are bound to do something great with the years to come.