DSC_0162Statistics is everywhere; we just don’t always make an effort to recognize it. Here at Jesuit, the faculty and staff make sure to show their students how statistics in the classroom translates to real world applications.

On September 25th-28th, the Jesuit Statistics course took a trip to the Goshute Mountains, about twenty-three miles south of Wendover, Nevada. There, Mrs. Mattacchione and Mr. Myers, the teachers of the class, took eleven students to collect data on hawks during their migrational season. The trip was a perfect example of how statistics can be found everywhere, even on mountaintops. Mr. Myers said that they “worked with an organization called Hawk Watch International to count raptors that were flying by us on their annual migration.”

The statistics portion of this trip came in to play when the biologists were counting the raptors which enabled them to do long-term studies and DSC_0961analysis that is attached to them.
“I love to hike and camp, and I was very excited that the boys wanted to go on the trip,” said Mrs. Mattacchione when reflecting on the excursion. “Everyone got to help release a hawk into the sky. Some of us spotted some unique birds such as the Mississippi Kite and a Golden Eagle.”

Mark Vache, one of the lucky Jesuit seniors who attended, loved the experience. Vache explained that he was excited by the opportunity to be outdoors with his Jesuit brothers while using his knowledge of statistics in a real life situation. “We caught, tagged, and then released Hawks migrating through the mountains. The data will be used to help conservationists manage hawk numbers in the US,” he said.

After reaching the summit, the accompanying education director explained the process of collecting data on the birds and how this data is used to help understand the patterns and trends of hawk migration.
Mr. Myers viewed the trip as “a great experience to get out into nature, especially since the location was so isolated. Salt Lake City was 150 miles to the east, and Reno was 400 miles to the west. In between, there’s not much — except for our group up on the side of a rocky peak. It was a thrill.”

Tyler Schlapkohl ’15 thought that the trip was a blast. He said “I enjoyed the experience of catching and releasing hawks. Although this was only the second trip to Nevada for Jesuit statistics, I believe that it has the potential to become a long lasting tradition due to the trip being interesting and fun.”
At the end of the trip, many of the students were sad to leave. Mrs. Mattacchione is already excited for next year, ready to continue this new Jesuit tradition of hawk tagging. Any student in the Statistics class who is interested in a hiking and camping adventure is welcomed and encouraged to sign up for the trip.

Below is a link of the trip that Mr. Myers made that summarizes the high points of the trip. Enjoy.