Five Christian Brothers Academy seniors were given an opportunity to showcase their impressive, multi-year scholarly studies during the fourth annual CBA Scholars Colloquium on Sunday evening.
Under the direction of Mr. Andrew Cusick and Mrs. Therese Heidelberger, the CBA Scholars Program offers students a unique chance to embark on college-level independent research and thesis development during their upperclassmen years at CBA. Members of the program are free to pursue a thesis they are most interested in and final presentations are held during March of their senior year. The top senior projects are selected for the annual Colloquium, which is open to the public.
This year’s members showcased an incredible degree of dedicated research, experimentation, and practical findings. Each senior provided a 15 to 20-minute presentation of their topic, led question-and-answer session, and explained their plans for continued study.
John Memon and William Walsh – Path Finding
The duo presented on pathfinding, which is the plotting of the shortest route between two points by computer program. They demonstrated how this is used in daily life in GPS map programs and in artificial intelligence. Memon and Walsh highlighted the use of Dijkstra’s algorithm, which is used in GPS programs to find the shortest route on a grid. (College selections: Memon/Northeastern, Walsh/UPenn)
Nick Hanlon – Socioeconomic Impact of Legalized Sports Gambling & Analysis of Predictability and Randomness
With New Jersey being one of the leaders in legalized sports gambling, Hanlon dove into the revenue and jobs created. He presented monetary values on how much is wagered during major sporting events such as the Super Bowl, March Madness and the World Series. In the second part of his presentation, he showed the randomness involved with sports gambling by completing an experiment. He picked game winners based on his dog’s habits, which showed that even a dog could come close to even when picking games. (College selection: Johns Hopkins University)
David Ham – Sports Psychology and the Distinction Between Routine, Habit and Superstition
As a senior on the CBA cross country team, Ham has witnessed his teammates distinct routines, habits and superstitions that come with sports. He decided to survey his teammates and then use scientific proof to confirm or debunk their theories on how each routine helped their running. He found that most of his teammates’ routines, such as carb-loading the night before, does not have a scientific impact on their running. Ham also showcased how these routines, habits and superstitions are held by high schoolers to Olympic athletes. (College selection: University of Virginia)
Patrick Devine – Hydrodynamics by Constructing a Hydrofoil Surfboard
With so many different types of surfboards available, Devine was curious enough to see if he could construct a board that could handle in any water condition. After studying the effects of hydrodynamics, he decided that a surfboard with a hydrofoil could handle a wide array of conditions. In his own garage, he developed a prototype and then refined it until it was ready for testing. He tested it behind a powerboat in flat water first, becoming successful after a few tries. He explained to the audience the risks and rewards of hydrofoil and why the benefits outweigh the negatives. (College selection: Georgetown University)