Spring 2021 BIE High School Science Symposium

May 14th -16th: Virtual Symposium

The communication of scientific ideas is an essential part of guiding the advancement of society.  To make sure society has a clear understanding of scientific advancements, we must prepare to use software and programs to present information clearly and vividly.  To help students in the Inland Empire (IE) begin developing skills with new software and communicating scientific ideas and findings, Borderless IE and environmental science students from North High School are holding a virtual science symposium to share their scientific findings with presentation software developed by ESRI, a local, national, and international GIS company.

The presentations will be shared using ESRI’s Story Map platform and highlight the Teams’ findings while looking closely at air quality and the instrumentation used to assess the air we breathe in the Riverside area. This symposium will illustrate the developing roles technology can play in developing scientific literacy and communication.

We invite those interested in quality and equitable education, student research, environmental awareness to come and see the work our local high school students are doing.


Jay Spencer



William Tarpai, Retired UNHCR


Letter from ESRI

To All Symposium Participants and Attendees:

Esri is committed to building a society in which all members can think holistically about everything, from the big issues down to day-to-day decisions. By understanding how to see patterns and relationships, how to think geographically, and how to build, analyze, and represent data, you are becoming stronger global community members. Using maps to present data and context as a part of effective communication prepares you and others to act. We are pleased to provide free software and tools to help you along your way. Thank you for including us in your projects, and we look forward to seeing how spatial thinking and data science play a part in your future careers.


Esri Education Team


Team Projects

The high school teams met with members of Borderless IE once a week for five weeks. They spent time learning how to create maps to show their data and present their research on Esri’s StoryMap platform. The projects below are the culmination of their research and the new skill they have been developing with Esri’s mapping and presentation software.

Attendees are encouraged to view each of the projects and leave feedback for the teams.

Team Rogue

Air Quality Project

What is the best air monitors for common consumers?

  • Our project is a base of evidence to identify what the best device is for the common consumer based on easy identification of data and portability.
  • Some common air quality components are: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen cyanides, hydrogen fluorides, chlorine, methane, and ammonia.

See their full presentation here.

Fantastic 4

Fantastic 4 Air Quality

Which air quality monitor is more practical?

The process of Utilizing different methods and materials to collect data on the air quality is one of the main focuses of our project. Another factor that will differentiate our data is the times of day that the data will be taken. Essentially our project relates to air quality in general because the main focus is to test the products and their ability to inform the Riverside community about the air quality that is in our local area.

See their full presentation here.


Airheads’ Air Quality Project

What air monitor is the most accurate?

In the context of this project, “accurate” means which air monitor captures readings that correspond the closest to our government sources (AirNow) while also taking into account factors such as wind, weather, and location of data collection.

See their full presentation here.

Comment Section:

Please follow this link to the comment section. When you arrive at the comment section, or padlet, you will be able to add comments to the respective projects. This page will be moderated by BIE and other participants.

Closing Remarks

Sunday, May 16th, 2021

Welcome all participant and attendees!

As I walked down the street near my home this morning, I was able to see the campus of North High School, the campus of the University of California, Riverside and the new California Air Resources Board (CARB) site.  It has been an incredible experience, over the last 5 weeks, to work with highly motivated high school students and their teacher on their Environmental Science class projects.  

Having attended the world conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015, in one of Riverside’s 9 sister cities in 8 countries, I was able to record a message from Margareta Wahlstrom, (former) Director, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction at that UN Conference.  She urged IE students to GET ON THE TRAIN (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kREelenmOSo).  She was referring to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) challenge.  5 years later, I want to urge students, their family members, and teachers to get involved during this UN Decade of Action.

This 5 week pilot project aimed to provide proof of concept for me of what Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, President of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) argues is “the critical role of GIS and storytelling in solving global challenges” (see  https://www.esri.com/arcgis-blog/products/story-maps/constituent-engagement/jeffrey-sachs-discusses-the-critical-roles-of-gis-and-storytelling-in-solving-global-challenges/).

I want to thank everyone involved in this project, and urge we continue to improve our abilities to use GIS and storytelling for building data-driven solutions to our sustainable development problems. 

Sincerest Regards,

William Tarpai, Retired UNHCR

Co-Founder of Borderless IE

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