Erin Ye comes off as having the maturity and intelligence to already be a successful college student, but in reality, she is only in her junior year at Huntington High School. That’s how impressive she is and it’s indicative of the high esteem she is held in by faculty members.
Ms. Ye excels across all academic areas. She especially shines in science, where she has become a star in the research program. The teenager has been engaged in high end research for the past year and her current project is sure to keep her busy.
“My science research project this year is going to focus on the effects of an online learning model on the progress of language learning for English as a new language students,” Ms. Ye said. “Over the summer, I helped work on a linguistics project sponsored by the University of Michigan’s Department of Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience that examined code switches in English and Spanish. Part of the project involved the testing of bilingual proficiency using an assessment called the LexTALE, which asks participants to identify whether a given term is a word or a non-word (a non-word looks linguistically similar to the given language, but has no actual meaning). This was especially interesting for me, as I’ve always been interested in bilingual cognition as well as statistics.”
Ms. Ye is giving her research project the time it demands and although the work can be tedious and challenging, she enjoys it.
“Through self-reported surveys and quantifiable LexTALE assessments, I hope to assess the levels of English fluency among ENL students and better understand the effects of virtual learning on non-native English speakers,” Ms. Ye said. “I’m really excited, because I think this project has tangible real-life applications given the current worldwide circumstances.”
Ms. Ye has participated in the high school’s science research program since her freshman year and “since then my love for science has grown tremendously,” she said. “Mrs. [Lori] Kenny, Mrs. [Dame] Forbes and Mrs. [Deborah] Beck have all been such great mentors, having shown me multiple different opportunities to use research to help others.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a long list of changes to school life, but Ms. Ye remaining positive while pressing forward and pursuing all of her interests with enthusiasm.
“Although this year is slightly different, as we’ve had to take certain safety precautions into account during project development, I think it’s also inspired us to do research that can help people, whether than be through biology, chemistry, or psychology,” Ms. Ye said. “Overall, I’ve loved my time in science research and would recommend the class to anyone.”
Ms. Ye has previously expressed interest in Stanford University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Michigan, Purdue University and Duke University. She is considering studying cognitive science and linguistics and possibly minoring in classics in college. The teenager has given thought to a career as a researcher or professor, but she isn’t sure of which route she ultimately wants to take.