Coney Barrett Confirmed to the Supreme Court

Pictured is the Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC. Coney Barret was confirmed as Supreme Court Justice on October 26th.

by Havann Brown, staff writer

OCTOBER 2020 — The Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the highest court in the land on October 26. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Sept. 18 at the age of 87, of metastatic pancreatic cancer. One week later, President Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy. This announcement came just 38 days before the 2020 presidential election. 

Amy Coney Barrett is a devout Catholic and self-described “originalist,” meaning she interprets the Constitution as it was written and does not incorporate her views into it. At 48-years-old, Barett has worked as a law professor at Notre Dame, clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and was nominated to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. She is the third justice appointed to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump.

Coney Barrett’s past opinions and rulings have revealed her right-wing stance on issues like healthcare, Roe v. Wade, immigration, and gun rights. Many students at Bio-Med Science Academy have expressed their concerns about a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Juniors Kate Donovan and Nora Haddon described the future of the court as a “conservative revolution that would stop all progress” and “a major setback for social justice.”

The Senate hearing to confirm Judge Barrett began on October 12.  Robert Greenwood, a junior at Bio-Med, stated, “the hearings should not happen this close to the election because Republicans set a precedent four years ago.” When Democratic senators pointed out the hypocrisy of Mitch McConnell, he argued that the situation is different than four years ago, since the GOP now controls both the Senate and White House.

In 2016, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, blocked President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court because it was an election year. On the Senate floor, McConnell said, “the American people should have a say in the court’s direction. It is a president’s constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice, and it is the Senate’s constitutional right to act as a check on the president and withhold its consent,”as published by NPR. The eleven Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee signed a letter saying they had no intention of consenting to any nominee from Obama.

Democrats were not able to stop Judge Barett’s confirmation process, because of  Republicans’ 53-47 majority in the senate. At the beginning of the hearing, The New York Times reported Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC), proclaimed, “This is probably not about persuading each other unless something dramatic happens… All Republicans will vote yes and all of the democrats will vote no.” Coney Barrett was expected to be confirmed to the court unless four Republican senators voted against her, which was highly unlikely.

Despite being questioned, the Senate hearing revealed little on how Amy Coney Barrett would rule as a judge on the Supreme Court. She was asked extensively on issues relating to voting rights and healthcare. On November 10, a week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in California v. Texas, a challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Barrett’s presence on the court would contribute to a conservative majority that would have the power to rule the ACA as unconstitutional. Freshman, Logan Cook, believes the court will attempt to “overturn Obamacare as soon as Amy Coney Barrett joins.” Democratic senators used the hearing to emphasize that Republicans were rushing the confirmation process so the court can repeal the Affordable Care Act and take away healthcare from millions of Americans. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Barett’s nomination on October 22, and the entire Senate voted the following week. With the presidential election occurring just days after Barrett’s confirmation, close results in swing states and disputes over absentee ballots could allow the Supreme Court to decide the outcome of the 2020 election. Colin Martau, the sophomore history teacher, stated he does not anticipate that the court will decide the results but, “President Trump is intentionally creating mistrust in mail-in voting, which has existed in states for years. That mistrust is strategic on his part so that if there’s any uncertainty about the legitimacy of the election he will have the conservative majority on the Supreme Court backing him.”


The Virtual Life

by Alyssa Cocchiola, staff writer

OCTOBER 2020 — For some students, an average school day consists of turning on their computer and completing work alone for hours at a time. While learning at home has its benefits for staying safe, there are some challenges that arise from digital learning. 

By Owen Baird

Due to the increase of COVID cases, many students at Bio-Med decided to stay virtual for the first semester. With the hybrid schedule in place, students at school and at home learn the same content and complete the same projects. The only difference is that students attending school get to listen to these instructions and ask for help in person, while virtual students’ education lacks face-to-face interaction.

Not being able to communicate face-to-face can be difficult. Students completing school virtually had similar responses to hybrid students in regards to digital learning. Most people agreed that they had a harder time learning online.

Mady Kohout is a sophomore, and, like many students, is completing school online because she feels that it is unsafe to go in person. When being asked which method of learning she preferred, she responded, “I definitely prefer in-person school over virtual. It’s a lot more engaging, fun and motivating than learning remotely,” 

However, when asked if she would like to stay virutal all year, she said “yes.” A plethora of virtual students share this same opinion. And for some, they feel like they had to choose between feeling comfortable and safe while learning, or feeling uncomfortable while learning in a way that is easier for them to focus.

There are also some benefits from learning online, like being able to work at your own pace. “ I like being able to do certain things on my own schedule,” Kohout added. Some assignments can take longer than intended, and vice versa. One of the biggest advantages that comes from attending school virtually is being able to complete an assignment on your own time, without necessarily having to worry about following the schedule. 

Communication can also be a struggle for online students. If they need help during school and email their teacher, they might not get a response right away. This is because the teacher is most likely teaching a class and is not checking their email. While Zooms are occasionally held for asking and answering questions, they are not held every day, and students online feel like they get less opportunities to ask for help.

“Sometimes it’s harder to communicate since a lot of people don’t answer questions and stuff,” Skyler Earl added. “We don’t have a lot of Zooms this year, so sometimes it’s harder to focus.”

Other students also expressed similar concerns about not being able to focus. However, there are ways students can work to overcome these challenges. Virginia Adams, a 10th grade student,  offered insight on how to keep focused throughout the day, “I would recommend taking very short breaks throughout the day. That way it gives you a minute to reevaluate what work you have to do. Also keeping a list of what work you have to do and cycling through that as your day or week goes on. This helps you prioritize what you have to do.”

Feelings of isolation can also arise from learning digitally. Many 10th grade students mentioned they felt like they were missing out on the high school experience by attending school virtually. While they have a small amount of communication with teachers, they have even less with their peers. 

When being asked about how their first week of school was going, Ren Fejes replied, “It’s very…surreal. Like it’s weird not talking to people most of the time, which can also feel isolating, but at the same time I’m less at risk of Covid, so there’s that too.”

According to the CDC, social isolation can also lead to physical health problems, like increased risk of dementia, heart disease, and stroke. To feel less isolated, and reduce these risks, the University of Chicago recommends things like writing down positive things or memories, smiling, spending time with an animal, joining a class (most likely online), creating a schedule, enjoying nature, or even just talking to people through a phone call or zoom. 

Mrs. Lee, a Guidance Counselor at Bio-Med offered some advice for students feeling isolated due to virtual learning. “I encourage them to reach out as much as they can to friends and family. If you’re feeling isolated, there’s a good chance that one of your loved ones is also feeling the same way. Seeing one another through a screen isn’t ideal, but it at least gives us some sort of interaction! Schedule a dinner date where you and some friends Zoom in and eat dinner together, host a watch party with friends via Netflix, play online games with one another, or just a simple chat. I’ve also suggested offering to help other students in courses via Zoom that you may excel in during Advisory or after school. This could get you to know new people, gives you the satisfaction of helping others, all the while giving you a sense of interaction!!” 

Despite feelings of isolation and a harder time communicating, most virtual students stand by their decision to learn online. They also acknowledge the benefits it has like being safe from COVID, and being able to work at their own pace. 

Even then, some students are overall benefiting from digital learning. For instance, being at home can provide a safe space for students, especially when it comes to things like bullying. When being asked if there were social benefits for kids staying home, Mrs. Mihalik, an 11th grade CCF teacher responded, “As a teacher I 100% acknowledge that there’s kids at home probably not because of any health risks or anything like that. Either because they enjoyed online learning or because it feels like a socially safer environment versus a physical safer environment, and I think that’s a really good opportunity for those kids.”

While many aspects are different, some things have stayed the same compared to last year. When being asked if they were able to focus on their work at home, Ren concluded that, “It’s about the same as in-person learning, which is to say, never. So it has less to do with school itself and more just the state of the world right now.”


A Second First Day of School

Photo by Alyssa Cocchiola
View of the newly constructed wing, which houses grades 7-8 and new common area.

by Alyssa Cocchiola, staff writer

OCTOBER 2020 — For students attending Bio-Med Science Academy, Sept. 28 was the first time they physically attended school since last March. In response to safety guidelines and an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the school implemented what is known as a hybrid schedule.

The hybrid schedule separates students in two groups: purple and green. The groups run on a rotation in which one week, the green group goes to school, and the next, the purple group does. On the weeks they aren’t school, students attend virtually.

Each color group is broken up into smaller groups called cohorts. Each cohort consists of about 15 students who all share the same schedule. This way, the number of people students come in contact with is limited. While at school, students are required to wear a mask and keep at least a minimum of three feet distance from their peers. Desks are also cleaned after every class to prevent the spread of the virus.  

After students were given the option to return, many shared their excitement upon their arrival. When being asked about their first week, many students initially felt unsure how things were going to operate due to the safety protocols in place. 

However, students were pleasantly surprised by the welcoming and collaborative environment the school had to offer. “It’s been very fun and very interactive lately, and I think to be honest, we are going to have a lot of fun,” said Natalie Hammerschmidt, a current 9th grader at Bio-Med Science Academy. 

From a teacher standpoint, the cohort system is also appreciated for the most part. When being asked about it, Mrs. Mihalik commended, “The cohort system, I actually really like. Before when they were trying to do hybrid with our original schedules, it was all mixed up and this way I can at least try to make it even.”

Despite the safety protocols, students still feel that they are receiving a good educational experience. When asked about her opinions on the new schedule, Chloe Cook, a current 8th grader, offered some insight on her first week back. “Being here on Monday definitely did feel like the first day back at school, even though we had been in school for like three weeks already,” she said.

When asked about the hybrid schedule, Cook responded,  “I like being back at school. It’s definitely easy to learn that way, and I love the new building. And just like being here; it’s a great environment but I mean I am pretty sad I won’t be here next week. But I understand why and how they are doing it.” 

While students are generally pleased with the in-person weeks, online weeks are a different story. Many students shared their concerns about struggling while completing assignments online. 

Hailey Mills, a 10th grade student, said of her first few weeks at Bio-Med, “They have been good at school, but at home it’s hard to understand what the teachers expect from us and it’s hard to stay focused.”

Despite their concerns with the digital weeks, students at Bio-Med are happy to be back in school, and are enjoying the positive community it brings. By implementing the hybrid schedule and following these safety precautions, people attending school are able to receive a learning experience that is enjoyable, while also staying safe. 

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Behind the Scenes of COVID-19

by Aliscia Phillips, staff writer

With the spread of coronavirus, front line workers and first responders continue to risk their lives to help those in need. One registered nurse takes on the hardships of a pandemic head-on. This nurse, who has requested to remain anonymous, works primarily with digestive disease but, because of her line of work, has been in contact with patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

She explains that her field has primarily been impacted by the personal protective equipment shortages. Masks and cleaning supplies are kept locked up and strict policies have been put into place to avoid running out of essential equipment. Employees that require them are allowed one N95 mask per day. When not in use, the masks are draped over brown paper bags with handles despite being labeled single-use. 

“No one understood the full scope of things,” she said. 

 Society as a whole was not prepared for this pandemic as shown by the PPE shortage, but our nurse admits that not even she expected the magnitude of its effect on the country. She explains that Ohio was lucky; it was able to control the spread quickly with the stay-at-home order. 

Many of the nurses she works with are still fearful of getting the virus. She describes how her coworkers send their children to other families to avoid potentially spreading the pathogen to them. 

“Earlier this week I had taken care of three COVID-positive patients and I walked through the door and my daughter just wanted to hug me and I had to be like ‘Get away.’” 

The strain put on front line workers’ relationships is a hard one to bear. The virus also makes for long, stressful days in uncomfortable conditions. The masks hospital staff wear are tight, often causing headaches and bruising. She says the one thing she misses the most, however, is the hands-on care for patients. Everyone has to be much more careful to avoid harming patients so maintaining distance is a necessary sacrifice.  

The long-term effects of the pandemic will hopefully show growth within the healthcare industry and the way it’s managed. Our nurse explains that she sees hospitals being run by different people. She believes that because hospitals are run by administrators who lack patient contact, there is a general disconnect that could have even contributed to the PPE shortage because they don’t see what’s going on at ground zero. She also thinks that virtual visits may become more popular even after the pandemic because they are convenient and avoid bringing patients into areas with a high risk of contamination. 

Life in quarantine may be rough, but the future always brings the possibility of change and a positive outlook. This pandemic is yet another opportunity for society to hopefully learn and improve upon itself.

Note: It is usually The Hive’s policy to not publish anonymous interviews, but we are honoring the request of this front-line worker to remain anonymous because she is afraid of possible repercussions from her employer.

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Diabetes affects more than 100 million Americans including Bio-Med staff and students

By Evelyn Berry, staff writer

According to the CDC, in America today 30.3 million people have diabetes. That’s about  9.4% of the population. Further research suggests that 7.2 million people (23.8%) have the disease but are not diagnosed. Diabetes is caused when the immune system attacks insulin cells, which causes the body to no longer produce the correct amount of insulin to regulate blood sugar. For people who have the disease, it affects every part of their lives. A few Bio-Med teachers and students know this firsthand. 

At six years old,  senior Ashley Pawlowski was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. 

“I went to a normal pediatric check-up … and they tested my urine for ketones,” she explained. Ketones indicate Diabetic Ketoacidosis, but it can be an indicator of other issues as well. “From there the doctor ordered that I go to the hospital.” 

Ashley described the painful process that then occurred at the hospital. 

“I got an IV, the worst pain in my whole life, because I was so little. I had to get my blood sugar checked every 15 minutes, and that hurt,” she said.  “After about two hours of that, they took me to an overnight unit.” 

At this point, Ashley hadn’t eaten for 12 hours. 

“I was so weak due to me not eating, and they constantly came in to take my blood.” Ashley said that she was afraid of the prospect of the nurse giving her a shot, but the nurse said, “This is happening for the rest of your life, dear; you have to get used to it.” 

Reflecting on how her diagnosis changed her life, Ashley said, “Becoming diabetic was a big eye-opener for me. I had to become more responsible at a young age. I was fully taking care of myself two months after. That includes giving myself shots, carb counting and more.” 

There are other challenges as well, like the increase in the price of insulin. 

“It’s not even in insulin,” she said.  “It’s everything that has to do with Diabetes. For example, about a month ago Insulet, the makers of my insulin pump, decided to up the prices and not even tell us. My order used to be like $150 per mail order (three boxes of ten pods) and now they are $200 per box. That is outrageous. I am on Generic Insulin now. We can’t even afford the real kind! They make it for like $8 and sell it for like $600. It’s ridiculous. We even have two insurances covering my stuff, and my parents still have to pay out of pocket for meds. It’s not just the prices, it’s the insurance companies too. ”

Insurance coverage isn’t something that most teenagers have to worry about.

“With the new pre-existing conditions rule I might not even be able to get covered,” she explained. A pre-existing condition is when a patient already has a diagnosed condition prior to getting insurance. Some insurances will not cover costs associated with these pre-existing conditions. “Who knows what life has in store for me. Let’s just hope things work out.” 

In 2015 a teacher here at Bio-Med, Mr. Ulliger, received the same diagnosis of Diabetes, but at the age of 32. He described the symptoms that lead him to his diagnosis. 

“I wasn’t really sleeping and I wasn’t really eating. I also didn’t understand; it felt normal that I was mysteriously losing 40 or 60 pounds over the course of four months. Then I started noticing things, like I always had to go to the bathroom, I was sweating a lot, you know. I started finding myself on Kent State campus walking across campus and suddenly stopping and wondering where I was going. Just forgetting where I was at. Because like, your brain function is affected by [Diabetes].  I was a lot more irritable; my wife started noticing that.” 

He also remembers the confusion and fear that was brought with this diagnoses,

“It was finally on Thanksgiving of 2015. We were at my wife’s grandparents’ house [and they commented] about how skinny I was looking. And finally I was just like, I am going to get this checked out, and they told me I had type one diabetes. Adults usually don’t get diagnosed with it. I had problems with insincere people believing me. It’s kind of a scary thing. You don’t know what the cost of healthcare is going to be. So it was kinda scary.”

The increased cost of insulin affects Ullinger too.

“Luckily, I have been pretty decently insured. I have my insurance and my wife’s insurance, so it costs me about $25 to $30 for a one month’s supply of my daytime insulin and $55 for my night time medicine, something like that.”

Not everyone is so well insured, according to Ullinger.

“The biggest thing,” he explained “is one of the few people who had it like I have … passed away last January because he couldn’t afford his insulin. And many of us knew he was struggling; like we were trying to give him extra insulin pens and this and that. And you know he was rationing himself; he was cutting himself off from insulin on certain days or only doing it at certain times.”

Ullinger explains that if a person with low pancreatic function waits until later in the evening to administer insulin, his numbers might be too high or too low, which makes it hard to administer the right amount of insulin. That person then runs the risk of injecting too much insulin.

“And that’s pretty much what he did,” Ullinger explains. “He gave himself too much insulin and died on his kitchen floor. His girlfriend came home in the morning and found him like that. That kind of stuff has been hard, but you know I have been lucky.” 

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House Bill Raises Question of Religion in Schools

By Benjamin Morgan, staff writer

Will Ohio students be allowed to answer homework and test questions according to their religious beliefs rather than what they learned in class? That’s the question on the minds of many students, educators, administrators and parents who are wondering what impact a new Ohio House bill would have if passed in the Ohio Senate. 

HB164, officially short titled “Regards student religious expression,” is the third attempt to pass similar legislation that has been repeatedly revoked due to time restrictions in the Ohio State Assembly. On its face, HB164 seeks to extend student religious expression to class time and define both student religious expression and how said expression may or may not be regulated.  

Supporters of the bill believe that it will help preserve student religious liberty and will expand protections for students to demonstrate their religious beliefs. Opponents, however, are wary of the vague wording and lack of explicit definitions contained in HB164. Many are concerned that this lack of definition could cause confusion regarding what the bill really means, who will enforce it, and what the effects on education might be.  

Rep. Timothy Ginter (R – Columbiana), the bill’s sponsor, stated his intent in his sponsorship testimony, namely that “[t]his legislation removes the section of law allowing a school district to limit religious expression to lunch or other non-instructional time.” 

Rep. Diane Grendell (R – Portage), who voted for HB164, stated that it would “give our young people the freedom… to talk to each other and give themselves a chance to communicate to each other for their own religion.” 

When asked whether these rights were not already protected, Rep. Grendell said that “apparently in some schools they weren’t allowed to talk about religion… if they just wanted to meet in the morning and say a prayer together or after school.”

By the time this article was published, the National Prayer Caucus had not returned the reporter’s phone calls regarding such instances.   

Upon reviewing the bill, Bio-Med senior Nadim Awad stated that “I think that (the section regarding how assignments will be judged) is kind of vague… where do we draw the line with that?” He went on to say that despite this lack of clarity, he supports the religious freedom proposed and believes that, especially for people of different cultures, religion is an important part of one’s identity.

Others are wary of issuing a one-size-fits-all policy. One common concern regarding HB164 involves the teaching of certain topics that have been characterized as “controversial,” such as evolution or geologic timelines.

Bio-Med biology teacher Laura Sass said that “(t)here have been several headlines that give the impression this would also include students being able to address scientific concepts and questions with religious reasoning and it be counted as scientifically correct.  However, the more I read into the bill, this did not seem to be the case.”

This concern arises from a section stating that schools shall not “prohibit a student from engaging in religious expression in the completion of homework, artwork, or other written or oral assignments… (g)rades and scores shall be calculated using ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance, including any legitimate pedagogical concerns, and shall not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student’s work.” 

This passage is where most of the debate over this bill stems. When asked about why she voted against HB164, Rep. Randi Clites (D, Portage) said the section concerning academic work was too “murky.”

She went on to say that her worry was that “if you believe differently than what you’re being taught in public school, based off of your religious beliefs, it is not clear in this language that your grade could be reflected based off of what you learned in class.”

Christian Watkins, a Bio-Med junior, agrees, saying that “if it’s what’s being taught in class and that’s the question and that’s what you should have learned, and you answered [according to your personal beliefs], you should be marked wrong.”

He went on to say that during a project his freshman year focused on evolution,“A lot of the religious people were indifferent about it, but they dealt with it.” 

  Stephanie Lammlein, Bio-Med CEO,  said, “It’s good to allow students a space where they can feel safe to express their religious views at school, as long as they’re being mindful that not everyone is going to agree with them, and that’s alright.” But she is also careful to note that   “there could be a big change (to the bill), so if we get too far ahead of it, we’ve just spent a lot of time talking about what is now a moot point.”   

Update: Since the original publication of this article, HB 164 has been passed in the Ohio General Assembly and is set to become fully effective as of September 18, 2020.  

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Generation Z Spearheading Social Change

By Benjamin Morgan and Skylar Cole

Generation Z is preparing to enter the adult world en masse, and the recent wave of student activism shows that many members of this group aren’t willing to sit back and wait for change. Across the world, teenagers have gone on strike in opposition to the injustice they see in the world around them. The activism of this group differs greatly from that of past generations due in large part to the tools that many teens and other young adults have grown up with and have ingrained into their collective culture. Handheld computers, instant access to social media users around the world, and the greatest database of human knowledge ever accessible have all contributed to the strength and scope of Gen Z taking a stand.

One of the first and most covered American events in the new era of student protests was the response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Following the deaths of 17 people in this school shooting, thousands of students walked out across the nation to protest gun violence and support gun control. After the national walkout in March of 2018, the New York Times reported that “the emergence of people not even old enough to drive as a political force has been particularly arresting, unsettling a … debate that had seemed impervious to other factors.” 

Many Bio-Med students participated in this act, constituting the first real concerted effort of student activism in our school. 

“[The shooting and walkout] made me want to do more, but I didn’t know what else to do… Not all of us can be Greta.” said Eryka Lund, a participant in the walkout. 

At the time of the writing of this article, students in Hong Kong are continuing school strikes that have lasted almost two months in the face of continuing police brutality and violence against the people. 

The student-led components are a part of that city’s opposition to increased rule by mainland China, most notably a now-retracted extradition treaty. These students are standing against increased aggression by the Chinese military and local police and defying the recent mask ban, a measure instituted by Hong Kong’s government to ban the wearing of face masks that obscure identity during demonstrations, protecting their right to protest with anonymity. Protesters have managed to send hundreds of videos, photographs, and messages to the outside world, piercing the web of censorship that China has attempted to cast over them to stifle their voices. As the violence has intensified, students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong built barricades on the University grounds and fought the police as government forces attempted to regain the campus. Though they face arrest, government-sanctioned beatings, and even death, the students are willing to accept any fate if it means a future of freedom and democracy for their city.

Perhaps the most striking recent example of global student solidarity came in late September of 2019 with the Global Climate Strike. While working people around the world participated in the strike, the event was inspired and organized by a group of Swedish teenagers, most notably Greta Thunberg. 

August 20, 2018, was the first day that fifteen-year-old Thunberg sat outside the Swedish Riksdag, the national legislature and decision-making body, with her now-famous sign reading, “Skolstrejk för klimatet,” which in English reads “school strike for the climate.” From that day until the Swedish general election on September 9, Thunberg sat outside the Riksdag during school hours every weekday in protest. Her demands came after Sweden experienced the hottest summer in 262 years, in which the country was overtaken by wildfires and heatwaves.

Between September 20-27, 2019, she helped to orchestrate the Global Climate Strike. Independent sources estimated that over six million students voided going to school on the final day in solidarity with Thunberg.

Thunberg’s action caught international attention, in part due to her blunt language about the climate crisis. She continues to call out world leaders and the public to take action and address climate change. For her actions, Thunberg has received and been nominated for many awards including being named one of the 100 most influential people of 2019 by Time magazine and being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. 

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Interview: Miss Hisey Awarded OLSEN STEM Teaching Award

By Colleen Bungard

Last June, Miss Candace Hisey, Bio-Med’s sophomore ELA teacher, earned the Excellence in STEM Teaching Award for her innovative integration of STEM in her classroom. The award is given yearly to a teacher in the state of Ohio who teaches STEM principles in unique and effective ways. It is funded by the Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN) and Battelle, a STEM solutions company that helps finance a lot of the current STEM education initiatives in Ohio. We had a chat with Miss Hisey to get the inside scoop on how she feels about receiving this award and how she comes up with her award winning teaching ideas.

Colleen Bungard: What has been the biggest perk or experience that has come out of receiving this award?

Candace Hisey: I think the coolest thing that happened was that my alma mater, Baldwin Wallace — I’m very proud of it being my alma mater, it’s just a great school — did a write-up on their alumni of note page, and I didn’t even know about it until a friend sent it to me and said, “Oh, Baldwin Wallace did an article about you!” It was kind of weird that they didn’t contact me to ask if it was ok; I don’t know how they even found out about it, but that was probably the coolest thing that came out of it, because I really love my college.

CB: How do you come up with your innovative ideas for classroom integration?

CH: There is no one particular way, but I read a lot of books. I set a 75 book-a-year goal every year. I’m a little behind right now, but I think that in that way I’m exposed to a lot of information and a solid half of the books I read have to be nonfiction. So I’ll read about different science topics, and I’ll see how they’re integrated with language concepts and so reading is a lot of it, listening to a lot of podcasts. [I] subscribe to several science and engineering newsletters that I get in my email but the biggest thing is definitely just within sophomore team; we have a constant group chat going at all times about whatever interesting things we encounter and we’ll just get into a really random conversation and almost always a project idea will come out of it … I think those conversations more than anything lead to these huge ideas that we then generally have to scale back because they become a little too big.

CB: That’s really cool, this idea that collaboration is such a great source of ideas for you guys.

CH: Absolutely! Yes, and I think that kids see our team doing it, and so they know that it’s a real skill that you actually have to use because we’re doing it visibly, every day, which helps with the buy-in.

CB: Yeah, think it’s so easy to think that stuff like this comes from a vacuum, that you have to come up with totally original ideas on your own, but that’s really not the case is it?

CH: No, it is not, and any creative people that tell you that it does are lying, because — think about it — if you were alone in a room all day and didn’t talk to anyone you would have only your thoughts, your own ideas to work from, but everybody’s ideas build off of everything else even if it’s not in your immediate surroundings. Maybe you’re an artist and you pull your ideas from one of the classical masters of a particular medium. It’s not coming out of nowhere, and I think it would help kids to be a little less stressed out when they’re not feeling very creative if they realized that it’s not this mystical thing that some people can tap into and other people can’t tap into, that it is something that anybody can access if you surround yourself with the right things and the right people. 

CB: Who nominated you for the award?

CH: Miss Mino, Miss Lang, and a group of students all had to work together to fill out this very big application. They should win the award for filling out the application, I didn’t have to do anything. … I think Miss Lang kind of led the charge, and then Miss Mino went around and got some recommendations from the kids. 

CB: We already kind of covered this in elaborating on one of my previous questions, but as a humanities teacher, how do you find ways to involve STEM in your classroom? Obviously, those are two pretty different subjects.

CH: I think that’s such a misconception. You look back at theses periods of really robust human exploration, not just in the humanities but in STEM fields too, look at the Renaissance. When you talk about receiving a classical education, what you mean is an integrated education. You are combining all of those subjects into one big, cohesive understanding of the world around you, and language is at the heart of all of that. You can’t do anything without language; you can’t communicate. There was a massive shift in scientific research once we developed a structure for how to published scientific research, right? Because all of a sudden we had this structure like: I’m going to write my abstract up here, and my methods under that, and my results down here. As soon as we started doing that — I don’t remember specifically when, it’s in the book we just read — but as soon as we started doing that information circulated and people could say, “Oh, in that lab over there, they did this cool thing; we’re going to do a follow-up experiment and share it with them. The sharing of information is what allows for growth, and you can’t do that without language. I honestly don’t feel like they’re that different, and I feel like the humanities, language specifically, are the foundations of STEM and that without it, those others things can’t exist. 

CB: That makes a lot of sense. Did you ever consider going into a STEM field? It seems like you have quite the passion for science.

CH: Honestly, it’s one of those things where I enjoy reading about it and learning about it as an adult learner and continuing to dig into it so much I think in part because I don’t do it as my job, and it allows me a certain level of freedom to go at my own pace and read what I want to and research what I want to, so I don’t think I would make a particularly good research scientist. In part because I don’t want to be in a lab all day. In terms of my profession, I like to be around people, not that you can’t do that as a scientist, but if I were to be a researcher, you do spend a lot of time alone just doing your research. I love reading about it and I love interacting with it in those ways but I don’t think I would want to do it as a career.

CB: That’s really cool. I think a lot of kids my age are approaching that point of having to ask yourself “I like this thing; do I like it enough to make a career out of it or does it have to stay a hobby for me to continue enjoying it” in a similar way.

CH: Absolutely, and I definitely can see that. I was a very musical kid; I took lessons and all that, and for a while I definitely considered — and I think my parents were kind of pushing for, I know my voice teacher was pushing for me — to go to school for music, and I had that moment of like, “If I do this, will I still enjoy this in the same way, or is it going to become my source of stress instead of my source of joy because it will be my job.” 

Wise words from someone who so clearly enjoys her job. Finding a way to integrate your interests with a career can seem near impossible, but Miss Hisey is accomplishing that quite successfully. She’s doing what she loves and doing it well, and I for one can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Interview has been edited for length


New Biomedical Engineering Teacher Shares Her Background

By Aliscia Phillips

Mrs. Cassandra Bonvissuto, a recent addition to the Bio-Med Science Academy staff, currently teaches biomedical engineering to the juniors. Her passion for science started before she can remember and has stuck with her throughout her life. She explained how she likes the subject because of how broad it is and enjoys the freedom of being able to take it in whatever direction she pleases. She graduated from Ohio State University with a biology major but had previously attempted to major in mathematics. However, she found it hard to understand her professors so she switched to biology, thus beginning a career in a field she loves. 

Before teaching, Mrs. Bonvissuto held jobs in research where she participated in several labs, ranging from studying multiple sclerosis to practicing flow cytometry (a technique used to characterize cells) to researching chemotherapeutic drugs. She held the position of a research associate which essentially made her the lab manager. She oversaw the lab, ensuring that good safety practice and the correct protocols were being carried out. She also had the opportunity to train people who participated in them. 

The very last job she had before going into teaching was at Case Western Reserve University where she was testing potential chemotherapeutic drugs and various cancer cell lines. At the time, she was the only one working in the lab, which required her to be there every six hours and she had recently become a parent. Because of the time restraint it put on her, she decided that she needed to find a new job.

Mrs. Bonvissuto both enjoyed and was familiar with being in somewhat of  an education role as a research associate, so it made sense that her next career would be in teaching. This allowed her to stick with a subject that she loved while also having enough time to take care of her child. She started at Poland Seminary High School where she taught various science-related classes. Eventually, she made the decision to leave because of disagreements she had, primarily with their lack of disciplinary action. She noticed that this wasn’t necessarily specific to just Poland Seminary, but to most typical public schools, which is ultimately what led her to decide to work at Bio-Med. 

Bio-Med in particular provides a more collaborative, hands-on approach. Mrs. Bonvissuto gives the example of a student getting suspended. At Bio-Med an intervention of sorts is held in which the student has the opportunity to grow from the experience whereas, at another school, the student might get suspended for a few days and then return to class with no discussion of improvement. She says that her favorite part about Bio-Med so far is the community. Students at other schools don’t have the same opportunity to take part in cross-curricular activities that allow them to better build connections between subjects. 

Outside of school, Mrs. Bonvissuto loves to spend time with her family. She has an eleven-year-old stepdaughter named Bella and a ten-year-old daughter named Hannah. She has been married to her husband, Greg, since leap year day of 2012. They have two pets: a rescue dog named Cassie and a cat named Samantha. Mrs. Bonvissuto also loves anything outdoors including snowboarding and rock climbing. She even enjoys playing Scrabble despite being an admittedly bad speller.

She hopes that from her class, students can learn and understand how to run their own investigation if they ever desire to do so and be able to apply that process to other subject areas. The ability to run an investigation assists in higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills that are applicable to all aspects of life, not just science labs. If you were to have her in a classroom for more than one period you’d quickly notice her motto: “Don’t suck at life.” Despite being fluent in sarcasm, Mrs. Bonvissuto genuinely believes that it’s healthy to be able to laugh at your own mistakes and try to improve from them. It’s impossible to be perfect, but you can always grow. 


New Social Studies Teacher Brings Unique Experience to Bio-Med Science Academy

By Aliscia Phillips

Mr. Marteau, the new sophomore social studies instructor, hadn’t always wanted to be a teacher. In fact, he graduated from Kent State with a degree in criminal justice and previously worked as a claims investigator for an auto insurance company in Columbus. However, he later returned to school to earn his master’s degree in education after realizing he was better suited to make a difference in his community through teaching rather than law enforcement. His passion for social studies bloomed into existence as a student when the subject became a personal favorite. He said that it was the ability to have a daily positive impact on people that motivated him to take up a career in teaching.

During his return to school, he found out about Bio-Med Science Academy through the head of his master’s program, Dr Lisa Testa, because she had a daughter who attended. He liked the fact that Bio-Med was a Research and Development (RND) school, meaning it was established by the state of Ohio to research better techniques for students. With this privilege, Bio-Med is able to take risks and push for legislation to change education for the better. Essentially, Mr. Marteau saw that the school was doing the best it can for its students which led him to pursue a job there.

Currently, his favorite part about Bio-Med is the sense of community, both within the student body and staff. He said the teachers are tight-knit and the whole community feels like a family. If his students get anything out of his class, he hopes that it’s a general sense of responsibility. He wishes for them to be advocates for themselves and others, to be active citizens who are aware of their environment and who understand that they have the capacity to make changes.

Outside of his job, Mr. Marteau loves to stay active by running. He has also found a hobby in creating art, specifically sketching and painting, and has been interested in comic book style artwork since he was a student. He recently bought a house with his fiancée, Megan, and his cat named Shadow. He and Megan got engaged just this summer.

Mr. Marteau leaves off with a piece of advice, taken from a quote by Teddy Roosevelt: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” He believes that if you can find a job in something you’re passionate about, you’ll never have to work a day in your life because you’ll simply be doing what you love. He himself always looks forward to work despite the struggles because he adores his job.