Infinity High School students present research to sociology experts

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Imagine overseeing an experiment, writing a 25-page research paper about it, and then presenting your research to esteemed doctors and professors in New York.

It sounds like a lot to tackle. But there are people around the country doing it every year, some of them are even high schooler seniors from Little Village High School.

"To be doing work that college students do, it just makes you feel smarter or you feel empowered because you're doing work that people don't necessarily do in high school," said Anayeli Anguiano, an incoming freshman at Michigan State.

"It's like raising a kid and the ending product is there and you get to be proud of it," added Karen Muniz, an incoming freshman at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "It's very nerve-racking, but it's a good step for us because it gives us some idea of what college will be like."

Students like Anguiano and Muniz have been working on their research project for the past two years with the help of their sociology teacher, Dennis Kass.

"They will be the only high school students in the country presenting at the conference," Kass said. "They design, they execute, they have to write and edit and then they get to go to a conference and present it and the people there don't even know that they're high schoolers."

Students were selected to participate in Kass's program during their sophomore year. The first semester of students' junior year is similar to a typical sociology class.

"But semester two they do the research projects. They work in groups of two to three and pick their project topics. At the end of the five months, the methodology and the writing have to be at graduate-level work," Kass said.

This year's research topics varied from social identity conflicts to religious beliefs in minority communities. The projects took a lot of time, some students even worked through the summer, but for them, it was worth it.

"It may be hard and it gets boring, but it's just cool to be able to do something that most people don't get to do," Anguiano said.

Because when they head off to college this fall, they'll have these memories and this experience to look back on.
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