NEGAUNEE - In middle school, Jake Kari, now 17, realized he liked science.
"That was the year we got in the lab and started doing experiments," the Negaunee High School Senior said.
That enthusiasm for science classes hasn't changed, with Kari looking forward to university studies next year to help him move into a science-related career.
Negaunee High School senior Jake Kari, 17, prepares for a lab in his advanced chemestry class. Although he’s still in the process of selecting a university to attend next year, he hopes to continue his studies in biology, potentially finding a career in a research-related field. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
"I'm kind of curious," he said. "I like learning about how things work and why they work."
Previously at NHS, Kari has taken physical science, biology, advanced biology and chemestry. Currently, he is finishing off his high school science career with physics and advanced chemestry, leaving him with plenty of labs and projects to complete before graduation.
"Physics is problems and projects," he said. "Chemistry so far, we've done a few labs and a little book work."
Next week, for example, Kari's physics project entails working with a partner to craft a boat and paddle out of cardboard, plastic and duct tape. The partners must then compete in a short relay race in the shallows of Teal Lake, each partner taking a turn to paddle the boat down an out-and-back course.
Without sinking, of course.
"You lose points if you sink," he said.
Chemistry work, however, means the students get the chance to explore the lab attached to their classroom, as well as learning how to prepare lab reports after their experiements.
"The day before, we get a packet so we can prepare," he said. "Then we do the lab and get the results. There will be some equations we have to do to analyze the results."
The lab report itself is made up of different sections explaining how the experiment was carried out, what materials were used and the end result.
Lab work was also a regular part of Kari's two biology classes, including dissecting a cow's eye and a sheep's heart.
"There was one lab where you had to take your blood and do certain tests on it. It had to do with coagulation," he said.
Unlike biology labs, however, chemestry labs often focus on reactions.
"You have to figure out if you use two products, what will you get for a reaction," Kari said.
Between his advanced chemistry class and physics, science homework takes up several hours of after-school work a week, depending on when projects and labs are due.
With his favorite branch of scientific study being biology, particularly micro biology, Kari said he was in the process of applying to and choosing a university to attend after his high school graduation in the spring. Although he hasn't made his decision yet, he said he hoped to go into a biology-related field.
"Right now I'm thinking biology of some kind," he said, adding that he was interested in a career centered around research.