Guided research in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine
Hawken's STEMM program for sophomores, juniors and seniors provides guided research in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine.

Students involved in the STEMM program begin with a semester of Scientific Research I, which develops scientific reading comprehension and critical thinking and also encourages broad thinking about experimental methods, limitations, and questions.

Scientific Research II, which spans spring and summer, challenges students to conduct research, work with a mentor, and review journal articles on a topic related to their area of study. Students are required to complete a 160 hour summer research project with a mentor at NASA, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, VA Hospital, University Hospital, or another research lab.

In the fall following the research component of the program, Scientific Research III develops student skills in scientific writing and oral presentation as they as they write an abstract, prepare a professional poster, and rehearse a talk based on their summer project. Each year, Upper School STEMM students present projects before a panel of judges at Hawken’s annual STEMM Research Symposium. Past research project topics include robotics, watersheds, earthquake resistance, cancer, and nanotechnology.

Students have presented their research at the Hawken’s annual Research Symposium, Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair, the Intel Science and Engineering Fair, and Siemens. One student’s work was published in the World Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery; another presented his research on “The Effect of Neutral Spaces in a Markov Chain Model of Bacterial Evolution” at the 2014 European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Approximately 90 students are currently involved in Hawken’s STEMM program. In recent years, numerous Hawken students have garnered grand prizes and first and second place awards at the Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair. Since 2010, six grand prize winners from Hawken have received all-expense paid trips to the Intel Science and Engineering Fair.

Dr. Robert J. Maciunas, 1955-2011

Dr. Robert J. Maciunas was a gifted and visionary surgeon and pioneer in the field of neurosurgery and deep-brain stimulation.

In 2004, he became the first surgeon in North America to implant a deep brain stimulator to treat Tourette's syndrome, which can cause uncontrollable motions and outcries. His patient recovered far beyond predictions, giving hope to people around the world with this debilitating neurological disorder. Maciunas had already helped to develop radiation surgery and imaging techniques for invasive surgery. He once called his work an "equal mix of high science and high art."

Dr. Maciunas was one of the world's foremost experts on brain imaging, having spent his career studying and teaching computer navigation. Image-guided systems are used to treat complicated tumors or those that are hard to access. He was the author of numerous books and other publications about image-guided neurosurgery, including the very first in the field, Interactive Image Guide: Neurosurgery.

Dr. Maciunas was the Vice Chairman of Neurological Surgery at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland where he was also the Director of the Brain Tumor Center and Gamma Knife and Cyberknife Radiosurgery Center.

Dr. Maciunas was an enthusiastic supporter of the research program at Hawken. He served as a mentor and was co-chair and co-founder of the STEMM Pathways Advisory Committee. It was he who originally proposed the creation of a student research symposium as part of the STEMM Pathways program.

Recent Student Accolades

In the last five years, Hawken STEMM students have garnered impressive accomplishments at the Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair:

  • Sasha Turner ’23, Grand Prize Winner in the Biological Science Division
  • 4 First Place Winners
  • 5 Second Place Winners
  • 3 Third Place Winners
  • 4 Cash Prizes

  • 1 First Place Winner
  • 3 Second Place Winners
  • 1 Third Place Winner
  • 6 Cash Prizes
  • 1 NEOSF Science News Magazine Award

2020 – Fair canceled due to COVID-19

  • 9 second-place prizes (in various categories)
  • 2 third-place prizes
  • Over $1500 in cash prizes
  • Daniel Kotrebai won 1st place at District Science Fair in Akron and qualified for State Science Fair

The following Hawken students claimed 3 of 4 grand prizes at the 2018 Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair:

  • Claudia Hamilton ’19, Grand Prize Winner in the engineering category, David Lyons ’19, Grand Prize Winner in the math-computer category, Allison Sewell ’19 Grand Prize Winner in the health-medicine category
  • 4 First Place Winners
  • 6 Second Place Winners
  • 1 Third Place Winner

  • Dhweeja Dasarathy ’17, Grand Prize Winner in Physical Science; All expense paid trip to the Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, CA
  • 8 Second Place Winners

Other student accolades:

Dweeja Dasarahthy ’17 was named a regional finalist for the 2016 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, placing her among the top 60 in the nation.

Brian Sun ’18 helped develop a research proposal that led to a first place win in the 2016 Ken Souza Memorial Research competition. His team’s experiment will be carried out on a NanoLab flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle, and Brian will be invited to share the findings at the annual meeting of the ASGSR in the fall of 2017.
An independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school, toddler through grade 12

Early Childhood, Lower, and Middle Schools, 5000 Clubside Rd, Lyndhurst, OH 44124
Birchwood School of Hawken, 4400 West 140th Street, Cleveland, OH 44135 

Upper School, PO Box 8002 (12465 County Line Rd), Gates Mills, OH 44040
Mastery School of Hawken, 11025 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106

Gries Center, 10823 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106

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