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April 19, 2023

New Club in Town

“Research is a force to bind people,” says Yoyo Zheng ’23, who co-founded Research Club in September 2021. “The mission of the research club is to provide a creative and insightful space for encouraging other students to apply the knowledge we have studied in class, further explore our academic and career interests, and solve real-world problems like sustainability, education, and health. The brilliant faculty members and student body here at Asheville School are the keys to our growth.” Here are just a few of the projects that students researched:

Project 1: The conservation of chimney swifts

Yoyo Zheng ’23 initiated a conservation project to provide habitats for a declining bird species called chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica). The birds’ unique physiology make its legs hard to perch but easy to cling to the cracks or grooves in chimneys or hollow trees. In the past decades, the population of chimney swifts has declined drastically. Artificial chimneys are one solution, and this spring, a group of Asheville School students faculty came together to help construct an artificial chimney habitat on campus. This chimney tower not only serves as a home for chimney swifts, but also as a natural on-campus research lab.

Project 2: Stock and bond risks

Stella Zhang ’24 led a project using computational modeling to help evaluate the options for buying stocks. Intrigued by economy and finance, Stella and the research club dove behind the economic principles and financial systems to find out a model for reducing the potential risk of buying a stock or a bond. By using a binary tree and available market data, they constructed a two-period binomial model. To increase the accuracy and minimize the potential deviation, they utilized Risk-Neutral Pricing through codes, which allowed the students to manipulate the number of steps in the model. The model and research were recognized at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Regional Fair.

Project 3: Elephants in Yunnan, China

“For the elephant research project, I led my team members in looking at the issue of human–wild elephant conflict from the perspective of misleading reporting,” says CiCi Liu. “We visited twenty local villagers, including ordinary farmers, the village chief, and elephant watchers to get a more accurate perception of the damage to the local villagers. Then, we consolidated the farmers’ attitudes toward wild elephants and the actual losses and launched a questionnaire survey, which included general knowledge questions and attitudes toward wild elephants.” The students analyzed the data and published an evidence-based article on the truthfulness of wild elephant news in Public Interest Times (a Chinese newspaper focused on environmental action).