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RHS seniors present Capstone projects

By Staff | Apr 19, 2019

Sue Sitter/PCT Kaitlyn Linstrom presents the results of her research project on illegal immigration and law enforcement.

Rugby High School seniors presented the results of months of research and writing last Thursday night for their Capstone presentation, held at the school.

“This is their senior research project that they take on in my class,” explained Language Arts Instructor and Advisor Leah Johnson, “It’s an elective, and a dual credit course; they’re earning college credits at the same time when they take my class.”

“It’s designed to mimic a thesis type of research, where they are looking at the existing research, but also creating an original research tool, and then trying to correlate the two, and match up the data and draw conclusions from that,” Johnson added.

Johnson said the courses she teaches at RHS know as composition 110 and 120, count for credit in English composition at North Dakota colleges and universities at the freshman level. She teaches the course, known at the high school as senior capstone, through Dakota College at Bottineau.

“The presentation part of it is really secondary in a way, to the paper itself,” Johnson continued. “But it’s a way for them to be publically acknowledged. Otherwise, they only see me as the audience, and that’s not accurate. So, I’m trying to get them to see that larger audience like that, and know what it’s like to talk to people about something they’ve learned about, and not be afraid of doing something like that, and be able to present that to someone.”

The evening began with three oral slide presentations in the Tillman Hovland Auditorium.

Kyler Gingerich presented information on standardized testing, its effects and consequences.

Next, Nathan Livedalen explored issues related to collecting and selling consumer data in companies operating online. Livedalen asked if people were aware how much of their information was collected and sold by large corporations, and to illustrate how few read user agreements when they visit websites or make purchases, he told of a video game company’s agreement that included a clause that drew laughter from the audience.

“I read an article about this company in Europe, for one day, they changed their policy to say, if anybody buys any games, we have the right to your soul after you die. Most people didn’t know until after the fact,” Livedalen continued with a smile, “So it’s surprising they can do something like that.”

Kaitlyn Linstrom took the stage next, introducing herself by referring to a popular video series by public speakers.

“Howdy everybody, I am by no means organized, which is probably why I’m not a TED Talker yet,” she said to a chuckling audience. “I’ve got to work on that. Yeah, it’s going to happen.”

Linstrom discussed the complicated issue of illegal immigration and its impact on law enforcement, using charts, graphs and surveys.

One-on-one open presentations followed in the school’s commons area, where 21 students shared their research on topics from vaccines and medical matters to technology and social issues.

Senior Brittany Loughman described how the presentations were done. “Three people either volunteered or were chosen to do the presentation in the auditorium, and then everyone else in the class had to do a visual presentation whether that be a powerpoint presentation on the computer, or poster board like I did, and most people did poster boards. They had the freedom to pick,” she noted.

“I did the effects of social media on mental health.”

Loughman said of her conclusion, “Social media, for the most part, has a negative effect on us, whether we notice it or not. So, the best way to combat that would be to get off your phone for awhile. If you feel social media is really affecting your life, try deleting it; try unfollowing accounts that make you feel bad about yourself; try to just surround yourself with positive things.”

McKenzie Tuenge titled her presentation “White Privilege”.

“(White privilege) is the way people perceive things how white privilege started out, with segregation and slavery, and how it escalated and declined,” Tuenge said. “I think it’s died down today. It’s less than it used to be.”

Zachary Grice presented information on artificial intelligence.

“Currently, we can build the machines; we can make the programs to teach themselves, but as they evolve, they become harder and harder to understand. They are referred to as black box systems, because we don’t actually understand how they think. And because we can’t understand them, they can’t understand us, because of human theory of mind, because we’ve learned how to deal with people, Grice said. “But these don’t think like people. They have binary code; we have chemical (brain function).”

Grice said he surveyed students and staff for their opinions on the topic.

“The majority of respondents were 15-16 years old; the second majority were 17-24 years old, and the third majority were 54-65,” he said of his survey.

Grice said his survey’s results surprised him.

“Most of the group agreed it was currently good,” Grice continued. “Most of the younger people distrusted artificial intelligence more than the older groups. A lot of this negative (perception) is from (age group) 15-16 and below.”

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