Hampton student earns rare perfect score on AP Research Exam
A rare and notable achievement was earned by Hampton High School senior Doug Wright who received a perfect score on his AP Research exam in 2017, one of only 176 students worldwide.
That's out of 6,297 students who took the AP Research exam last year in May, or 2.79 percent, according to Maria Eugenia Alcon-Heraux, director of media relations for the College Board.
Wright, of Allison Park, didn't realize the depth of his accomplishment, so much as he even forgot to tell his mother after receiving a letter from the AP College Board on the achievement, said his school counselor, Terri Koprivnikar.
“I said to his mother, ‘You mean Doug didn't even tell you?'” she said.
Wright said he was surprised and pleased but “I honestly didn't think much about it.”
Specifically, AP Research entails achieving a perfect score on a 5,000-word research report and a 20-minute research presentation with oral defense questions, said Shannon Roos, AP Research teacher at Hampton.
Roos said only 511 students in the world achieved a perfect score on any AP Exam and almost 5 million total exams were taken last year.
Throughout the course of the year, Wright worked to conduct research on the economic feasibility of converting Hampton High School to solar energy, said Roos.
“One of the greatest strengths of his work was that he chose a topic that he is passionate about. He was able to use what he was learning in AP Research and his AP Environmental Science class as well as his personal experiences outside of school to design an amazing study,” Roos said.
He found an expert in solar energy to mentor him and also reached out to Jeff Kline, director of administrative services for the district, for help determining current energy usage in the building and communicated with local solar energy companies to determine accurate costs. Finally, his strengths in written and oral communication really helped him to achieve in this class, she said.
He said the goal of his paper “Analysis and Examination of Funding Methods for Solar Energy at Hampton High School” was to show that solar panels would be a benefit to the high school. However, to his disappointment, he found that it would not be economically feasible for the district. But he still wanted to do something worthwhile with his research.
So, last summer he reached out to SonLight Power in Ohio and visited Arcahaie, Haiti, to install solar power systems on two orphanages and a medical clinic.
Koprivnikar said she was most impressed that he took it a step further and actually applied his work to a place in need.
Wright also is on student council and plays tennis. He has practical recommendations for other students preparing for the AP Research exam.
“Don't research what other people do. Do something you like to do yourself,” he said.
That's why when he spent months researching and interviewing people on solar energy it was actually “fun” because it was something he was interested in.
“It helped me stay focused,” he said. “And don't let yourself get intimidated. Just work through it,” he said.
Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.