Research opportunities offered with FIRE


Junior Maxwell Silverstein introduces FIRE at Dolphin Bookshop on Main street. Silverstein plans on expanding events to other venues and inviting more scientists to present. He hopes FIRE will allow students outside of the research programs to expand their interests (above). The FIRE logo presented on the program’s website (below).

Max Miranda, A&E Editor


In a school where only 5% of all students are a part of the research program, junior Maxwell Silverstein has created a program to further research education. Furthering Innovations in Research through Education (FIRE) is a student-run program that, according to the website, seeks to “connect students with the knowledge and resources needed to conduct research in their fields of choice.”

“I hope I can let everyone learn more about research,” said Silverstein. “I started the program so that anybody who wanted to could get inspired to take the tools they learned in school and use them in the real world.”

This “connecting” is done through planned events in which students listen to lectures by professionals who have had a significant amount of research experience. The first FIRE speaker was Dr. Maria Johnston, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Farmingdale State College.

Her speech, titled “High School Research: Where To Begin,” discussed both the personal work she has done in her field, as well as tips on how to enter the world of research. Dr. Johnston has done several studies in child psychology, many of them trying to place a finger on a child’s sense of right and wrong.

One may question the necessity of such a program, if only a fraction of the student body stands to benefit from FIRE. The extremely independent nature of the program makes it so that students have difficulty getting their project off the ground, FIRE may provide an appropriate launching pad for those who are lost.

“A lot of kids in the research program face difficulty in trying to come up with an unique research project, as the program is designed to be very independent,” said junior Carolyn Blumberg. “Students are thrown into research often having little to no prior experience; FIRE helps kids find research projects that may appeal to their personal interests.”

Silverstein hopes to expand the FIRE program, and inspire those who are not in the research program. While it may appear a difficult task, the past two winners of the Intel Science Talent Search have won the competition without the aid of being in a school research program.

“The program is really about finding interests, so anybody can come if a topic sounds interesting and/or to learn about research. The goal is to have it for everyone, not to isolate it,” said Silverstein.

The hope is that the program will begin with basic instruction and lectures, and evolve from there. Silverstein has hopes that somebody will step up to take the reigns once he graduates. Future expansion efforts include finding different centers for events outside of the Dolphin Bookshop, inviting engineers, biologists, and ecologists to come speak, and perhaps expanding FIRE into a club later on.

Overall, FIRE’s organizers are pleased with the success of their first event and highly optimistic about the program’s future.

“The turnout was a solid stepping stone, but I still want to try to help as many people as possible. The next event should be within the next month and we’ve got high hopes for it and the success of the program as well,” said junior and FIRE board member Tiger Gao.