Iodi(n)e for chemistry


Rylyn Wang, Staff Writer

Noticing the seaweed had dissolved, he drops his lab reports to grab his goggles. He peers into the glass apparatus, shifts his eye across the meniscus to catch the faint pink-colored liquid carrying the final solution.

When students were assigned to design a scientific experiment project for Chemistry IB HL, senior Edrin Astillero chose to research the extraction of iodine from seaweed. He started his experiment in August and is currently testing samples for the best result.

“I was interested in the medical applications for iodine in supplements as an antiseptic,” Astillero said. “I think it’s going pretty well overall. I’m [expecting] I’ll have a good learning experience from this.”

Astillero is a part of the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Biomedical Pathway. These classes aren’t structured like a traditional classroom. Rather, most students use online resources to follow the curriculum.

“My favorite part about PLTW is that there’s a lot of individual room to explore certain topics. There’s a lot of self-studying that needs to be done and figuring stuff out for yourself,” Astillero said. “It’s a bit odd at first, [but] they start teaching you how to do hands-on experiments [later].”

As he continues to experiment, Astillero makes sure that every step of the process gives him accurate data to analyze. To maximize precision, he compares the data results from two different products to check reliability. After first semester, he plans to move on to the writing portion of his experiment.

“I expected that I was going to be doing more science and was surprised to find out how many other things I had to account for,” Astillero said. “Are those materials read[ily] accessible? Or am I familiar with [the] equipment I needed to use and who would I borrow from if I didn’t? You never really know until you start on it, [but] I would say I’m pleasantly surprised.”

Over the summer, he also volunteered at a clinic to expand his knowledge of nursing and medicine, some of the career paths he has considered majoring in. In the future, he plans to continue to pursue the biochemistry pathway.

“Actually having a unique experience where I could interact with the patients on a one-on- one basis [made me realize] I’m not the best suited for patient- patient interaction. That’s what made me interested in a lab-based setting,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a hobby, but it’s definitely something I enjoy.” Ω