Local student builds snow depth sensor


When the average high schooler enters their senior year, you will often hear them talk excitedly about taking fewer classes, enjoying social events or moving on to bigger and better things.

It is safe to say that Connor Burkesmith is not your average student. Rather than cutting down on classes during his senior year, Burkesmith asked to complete an independent study project that will yield real scientific data for years to come.

By the end of his junior year, Burkesmith had already completed the entirety of his required science and mathematics courses. Knowing he wanted to continue exploring those fields, he partnered with science teacher J.D. Kurz and computer science teacher Jesse Morehouse to develop an independent research project.

Kurz said Burkesmith “was an unusual student in that he wanted to learn more as a senior,” as opposed to some of his peers, who wanted to do less.

The high school science teacher is passionate about providing students with a chance to gather and analyze real data. His global science course is an elective, which gives him more flexibility to take students on field trips and introduce them to research, using the natural environment of Pagosa Springs as an intellectual playground.

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