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The Alabama School of Math and Science is all about education, and what better way to cultivate education than through course-specific Directed Research (DR) courses!

Now, what is a DR? These classes have a bit more wiggle room when coming up with a curriculum since they are created by the students and the instructors. If you are interested in something specific, but ASMS does not offer it as a traditional class, students can find an instructor who is willing to teach it, and there you go!

DRs have long been a part of ASMS’s education, and they are a great way to introduce the students to fun topics and subjects that are rare to find. Since students can create their own DRs, ASMS has a lot of them this term, with many more to come.

One DR being offered this term is Parasites, Pathogens, and plagues. Taught by Dr. Natalie Ortell, this course is designed to teach the students about the worldwide impact of parasites, and about the historical context of these bacteria. Students will broaden their understanding of analyzing research papers, articles, and podcasts to find real-world evidence that will cultivate into a presentation about the class, and what the student learned. Students are very excited about this directed research, and we wish Dr. Ortell the best!

Another DR being taught this term is a Pyrotechnics. Dr. John Petty is excited about teaching this class, and his student, Sam Dunlop, is excited too! This class is designed to teach the students all about the study of combustion and how to produce self-sustained chemical reactions. The students will discuss and figure out the different types of chemical reactions that occur during your typical pyrotechnics display.

“I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned in chemistry this year to fun, new things in this DR,” Dunlop says.

This class is unique and outside of the box, which is exactly the type of class that students at ASMS thrive in!

Another DR being offered is Oceanography! This class, taught by Ms. Alison Rellinger, is designed to teach all about the biology, and the chemistry behind the ocean. Topics being discussed will be current patterns, chemical balances in the water, sea levels, climate change, and many more.  There are a lot of students on campus who are very interested in marine biology, making this is right up this schools’ ally!

The DR program is just one of the many different things that make the Alabama School of Math and Science unique. DR courses allow for deeper understanding and broadening of interests across all of the student body, allowing students to blossom. We cannot wait to see where this program goes in the future!

This Article was written by Ben Cogar for the ASMS Marketing Team.

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