Student Research at BHS Agriscience Ctr

Students Engaged in High-Level Research at BHS’ Harris AgriScience Center
Posted on 02/17/2023
BHSStudents at Bloomfield High Schools’ Donald F. Harris AgriScience & Technology Center are expanding their knowledge about a wide range of global ecosystem issues connected to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – also known as STEM.

The student-research projects span from robotics to rats, and from agriculture to animals. Students are also studying the lifecycle of animals and plants -- and following the emerging food insecurities in town. Food insecurity is defined as a person or family’s lack of consistent access to healthy food.

At a recent meeting with district leaders and principals, Jaunice Edwards-Hassan, director of the Harris Center, praised the intellectual curiosity of her high school students. They showcased to district leaders some of the high-level research work in which they are engaged. 
Many students say their experience at the magnet school – one of 19 Regional Agricultural Science and Technology centers in the state – has enhanced their overall personal development and self-confidence.

“I am more assertive when talking, or presenting, to (business or university) representatives and getting my point across,’’ said Amyra Ettienne-Modeste, a senior. “A lot of people don’t always take young Black women seriously. I’ve also learned the importance of paying attention in the classroom. Knowledge is key.”

Ettienne-Modeste, who owns a pet snake and has a career goal to be an agriculture-professor, recently started her own business selling mice. She has a local pet store as a client. Few realize, said Edwards-Hassan, that rodent-reproduction and breeding is a lucrative business-sector because universities and laboratories around the world always need them for research- experiments.

Her school, Edwards-Hassan says, is as much about developing tangible skills -- problem-solving, critical thinking, persuasive writing and public speaking – as it is about agricultural research. 

 “We have students here who aspire to be lawyers, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs – all sorts of professions,” she said. 

The novel magnet school, opened in 1996, is attended by 158 students from around the region. Some of the student-projects include: 

A Hydroponics project – studying the impact of using water, instead of soil, to raise vegetables in Green houses. Students Grace-Ann Little and Jaida Foster, as a two-person research team, recently earned national recognition for their findings from the National Future Farmers of America (FFA). The student’s work is helping to increase awareness about how to sustain the production of plants in off-peak seasons.

Rats, Mice and rabbit reproduction – offers students the opportunity to become young entrepreneurs meeting the needs of niche markets.

Robotics – Bloomfield Robotics Club, in collaboration with Windsor’s FIRST Team Paragon 571, provides the opportunity for students to engage in problem-solving, stem-related exercises and assignments.

On school grounds, visitors can see goats, chickens, turkeys, reptiles and bees - and learn about the research and reproduction work going on with them. 

The Harris AgriScience & Technology Center is looking to expand its corporate, agricultural and community partnerships. Its mission is to continue offering a disciplined approach to education through the study of environmental issues, agriculture and technology.
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