Maya's Digital Portfolio

artist statement

Dear Durango,

The reason that I decided to create this college is that it matters that we all get to go back to normal. It matters that we can learn in a regular way. Masks are the way that we can keep people safe and the way that we can end this pandemic. I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired of not getting to go to school and see my friends and learn from what the teachers are saying instead of just dragging my way through the school year. I want to get scheduled at my job and go to the movies again. I’m sure that all of you are also very over this. Many people believe that masks don’t do anything. However, it is scientifically proven that if you are wearing a mask that is designed the right way it will protect you and others from the virus. I know that I am being harsh but I’m a 16-year-old girl stressing about money and work and not even knowing if I get to go to prom or my best friend's graduation. This is sad, and yes there isn’t much that we can do to completely stop it, but it is important that we try. It’s important that we protect ourselves and others. So wear your mask, social distance, and please, please don’t go to parties. :)


Maya Olivier


1. Pick one of the four Essential Questions below and answer it. At the end of your answer, describe what beliefs (if any) you held at the beginning of the semester in relation to that Essential Question and how your understanding related to the Essential Question grew as a result of the work you did in this course.

1) What is the biochemical nature of SARS-CoV-2? 2) What is the relevant biochemistry for preventing or treating a COVID-19 infection from SARS-CoV-2? 3) How can the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 be understood chemically? 4) How can the lens of chemistry be used to inform societal practice and policy designed to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2?

How can the lens of chemistry be used to inform societal practice and policy to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2?

2.How did your knowledge of science grow through your work on the project? You can reference: Specific scientific concepts or facts that you learned Skills you developed related to doing science or engineering Understandings you developed about the way science is done or the relationship between science and other aspects of society?

My knowledge grew a lot through this project. The big concepts that I learned were what is COVID made up of? How does it spread? How does COVID duplicate in the body? And why we wear masks and how they work to keep the virus out? The major skill that I learned throughout this project is mostly the research skill. I feel that because we were online for most of this project, I found myself having to research a lot to understand the assignment and get it done. I also learned the different societal perspectives on wearing a mask and why some people wear them and why some don’t. ​

3.This semester in Chemistry we focused on the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 because of their obvious relevance to our lives. In doing this we studied some ideas that would traditionally be studied in biology class, some that would be found in a physics class, and some that would be found in a chemistry class. We also read far more news articles and spent more time looking at scientific papers than is typical for a high school chemistry class. The trade-off is that we did not cover as much chemistry content as you would typically see in a chemistry class and we did not do it in an order that is most advantageous to learning chemistry. Please evaluate this pedagogical decision and state whether you believe the benefits of this method outweigh the downsides or not.

I think that this did have some downsides. Just because I had already learned about some of the things that I learned in biology. Although I did like learning about COVID I think that we could have focused on the chemistry side a little more than we did.


Leetaru, Kalev. “Mask-Wearing Guidance: A Timeline of Slow-to-Shift Messaging.” RealClearPolitics, 22 May 2020,

“COVID-19: Considerations for Wearing Masks.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

Project Reflection


  1. How did your cooking process transform your food macroscopically and affect the food’s overall characteristics? Be specific and describe the transformations that happened on the molecular level that led to the observed macroscopic changes.

My cooking process consisted of four different methods: Oven, air fryer, stovetop, and smoker. Cooking chicken and meats, in general, can all be cooked differently depending on the heat and the environment of cooking. For my experiment, each cooking method changed my final result substantially. The way that I could figure this out was by measuring certain aspects of the chicken after it was cooked. I measured the moisture, texture, and taste. To me, these were the most important things when cooking a chicken, because nobody really likes dry and tough chicken.

The overall worst chicken that I made was in the air fryer. The air fryer sucked all of the moisture out of the chicken and made the outside really tough. The way that I found this out was I weighed each chicken breast before it was cooked as well as after to see how much moisture the method of cooking took out. I also measured the texture by simply poking each chicken after being cooked with a fork and rating how tough it was on a scale of one to five. The next chicken that was dry and tough was the stovetop. I cooked this in oil and in a pan. The reason that the chicken was dry is that it was cooked really fast. The chicken had a lot more of a char on it and it ended up being more dry and tough. Cooking the chicken in an oven surprised me. I thought that it was going to be the one that was the moistest and the least tough. However, this was not the case. The chicken was cooked in the oven for about twenty minutes in a pan with a little bit of oil on the bottom. The chicken was not that dry and tough however the scale and the taste of the chicken did show that it lost more moisture than the smoker. The smoker held most of the moisture in the chicken and was very soft but in a good way. I think that the big reason for this was because it was slow-cooked. I noticed in my experiment that the longer the chicken cooked the better the taste. Cooking chicken fast loses more moisture because of how the proteins in the chicken react, the chicken loses proteins when it's being cooked and the more proteins you lose the dryer the chicken is. One of the smaller changes in the chicken that I noticed was the color and overall looks of the chicken changed based on the method of cooking. In the air fryer and stovetop, the chicken charred on the sides and was darker. The chicken that was cooked in the oven and smoker had a similar color all throughout the outside of the chicken breast. Because the color changed this shows that there was a chemical reaction during the cooking process. Overall, cooking chicken in different ways changed the way the chicken tasted, its toughness, and its moisture a lot more than I originally thought it would.

  1. In what way(s) are cooking and doing science similar and in what way(s) are they different? How are a cook and a food scientist similar or different?

Cooking and science are similar in a lot more ways than I thought, however, they are also different in a lot of ways. They are similar because cooking takes a lot of very precise measurements to get the right result. Science also takes a lot of very precise measurements in order to make sure the experiment is accurate. When we cook we use a lot of heat and other tools. This makes it so that we can get a good result that we can eat. In science, we often use heat to get a faster result or just the results of the experiment depending on the circumstances. Though cooking and science are similar they are also different in many ways. For example, in science they have an understanding of what they will get, however, there's a lot of guessing and hypotheses involved. However, when it comes to cooking you know what you are making most of the time. Especially if you are following a recipe. Another thing that is different is there is a lot more math that goes into science and experiments, this makes them difficult to conduct and takes a lot of education on certain things. However, cooking can be a lot easier because there is not as much math involved and pretty much everyone can cook and follow a recipe.

I think that cooks and scientists are super similar. This is because they both essentially are conducting experiments. A cook mixes together different ingredients and food in order to make something, and a scientist just mixes together chemicals and other things and even food at times. This is the biggest similarity that I could find between cooking and science experiments. Although they are not the same thing they are very similar.