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Best of the Week 2021-2022: Teaching to the Future


Congratulations to Matthew Mullin-Gray '22 for his award-wining research project that was recognized at the Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair (NEOSEF). Matt's project entitled, "A Comparison of Caffeine Concentration in Coffee Depending on Brewing Method" was submitted as a shortened version of his IB Diploma Program's Extended Essay research. "I chose to research coffee and caffeine for my Extended Essay because coffee has always been part of my life. Both my parents drink coffee regularly and I've been drinking it since the 7th grade. I knew going into the Extended Essay I needed to choose something that I had a strong personal connection with, so I started thinking about common things in my life that I could explore chemically," says Matt. "The part of my project I enjoyed most was the precision and technicality I could approach every step with. I got to spend a lot of time working in the lab with other students who share the same passion for science as I do. Although my findings essentially supported my assumptions about coffee brewing methods before I even had the data to support them, I still went through numerous instances of trial and error, faced a few challenges along the way, and re-ran multiple steps of my experiment just so I could determine what would give me the perfect reading."

"Matt impressed me with his resilience and engagement in this project. There were many obstacles along the way and it would have been easy to choose a different path. The time he spent in the lab performing research was inspiring. He meticulously performed improvements and multiple trials to make sure that his data would support his conclusion with limited error," says Science Department Chair Anne Marie Lavelle. "Matt also did not hesitate to learn new methods of instrumental analysis and advanced theory that exceeded our IB curriculum. With his self-discipline, motivation and interest in STEM it was a rewarding experience for both teacher and student." "Winning these awards was really special for me not just because of the accolades, but because it meant that other people understood and recognized the amount of time, effort, and energy I put into this research work. In a similar vein, having this work recognized by the NEOSEF really showed me how much people care about science and its role in our world," says Matt. "Outside of my own personal recognition, I think that these awards really speak to how good the science education we receive at SEHS actually is, both within the scope of the curriculum and the general encouragement of students to explore things they are passionate about."

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