Rajoshi Basu '23 Researches Learning Engagement at GSET
Posted on 08/03/2022
Rajoshi Basu ‘23, was accepted to this year’s New Jersey Governor’s School of Engineering and Technology (GSET) as a research scholar. GSET is an intensive residential summer program in the state of New Jersey that brings together 72 high-achieving and talented high school rising seniors to have them learn together, challenge each other, and collaborate to create something new. During the program, the priority is to give students the opportunity to collaborate with their peers on a novel research project which is then showcased in a conference-style final paper and presentation in front of hundreds of invited guests at a research symposium. 

This year, GSET ran from June 26th to July 22nd. For the first week, Rajoshi and the other scholars attended classes and meetings virtually over Zoom. For the remaining three weeks, scholars lived with each other at B.E.S.T. Hall West at Busch campus of Rutgers University. Over the course of the four weeks, Rajoshi took four classes – modern physics, robotics, game design, and theoretical materials science. In these courses, she learned about cutting edge physics, contributed to building robots which would fight another robot, learned about materials, and designed her own game about prom. 

Furthermore, Rajoshi and the other scholars visited the sites of Bristol Myers Squibb for them to learn about the creation and research that goes behind drugs, the Rutgers EcoComplex to understand waste management engineering, and the PSE&G Nuclear Power Plant at Salem to comprehend electricity generation. Additionally, there were multiple guest lectures on topics including engineering ideas in developing countries, solar cars, aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering and the heart, astrophysics, and nuclear engineering.  There were a few other enrichment and social activities including the talent show, karaoke night, and a hike in Rutgers Gardens, which is a 180-acres botanical garden in North Brunswick. However, as stated earlier, the most important focus area of GSET is the research project where students spend countless hours creating new knowledge and/or products. This year, the scholars were split into 15 groups to work on 15 novel research topics ranging from user authentication using AI to analyzing the creation of MIDI music using generative adversarial networks to separate, etc.

Rajoshi and her team members researched current educational crowdsourced platforms and analyzed how they engage readers for effective learning. “Crowdsourced websites like Wikipedia and Quora just present long blocks of really complex text,” Rajoshi said, “which, even though these sites were built with the intention of imparting knowledge, don’t really help in doing so.” So, as a result, they researched further about the importance of engagement in students and then they implemented features which modeled formative assessment, cognitive scaffolding, and instant feedback in their own model web app to see how students’ brain and memory retention would improve. 

This research project seemed like a big undertaking, to be sure, but that’s part of what made GSET a surely unforgettable for Rajoshi. “On the last night before the symposium, while I was preparing my notes for the next day which was going to be big for me, I could not really concentrate that much, to be honest. My mind was crowded with memories from the past four weeks. From those invigorating book club meetings with the “mysterious” Dean Antoine to those GSET-C meetings with us trying to troubleshoot what was going wrong with our water fetching robot H2O-Bot to having fun with friends while playing tug of war, racing, cup stacking competition, throwing water balloons at each other, and watching ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ at the cinemas to simply having fun with everyone in the dining hall, in the lounges, and in my dorm room, I did enjoy every moment of GSET.” On that night, she did tell her mom and her other friends that GSET was like her second home and that she wasn’t feeling like leaving B.E.S.T. at all. “The bonds you make at GSET while you are living there with those 71 other scholars become so strong that those people become family to you after those four happening weeks.” She is looking forward to meeting them again in-person very soon at the GSET reunion in November.