Research Student Earns Spot in International Competition

By  Huonna McCarthy ’16 and Joselyne Pimentel ’16

For the first time in  seven years a Midwood research student has been invited to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair, more commonly known as ISEF, as part of Team NYC to compete for over $4,000,000 in awards. Lucy Lin ’15 was one of the nine students invited to compete in the New York City Science and Engineering Fair finals on Tuesday, March 24 at The Museum of Natural History.

The New York City Science and Engineering Fair, NYCSEF, is the city’s largest high school research competition. 457 projects competed in the preliminary round on Sunday March 1 at City College of New York. From there the top 141 projects, the top 25% in their categories, were selected to present at the NYCSEF Finals round at The Museum of Natural History. Among the finalists were nine seniors in the Science and Social Science Research programs: Michael Divgun, Tamneya Hauter, Zainab Iqbal, Lucy Lin, Sandra Lin, Monique Powell, Hillary Syeda, Emily Tse, and Raymond Yu.

NYCSEF finalists were each judged by experts in the fourteen science and engineering fields at the competition. Fifteen projects and eighteen students were selected to represent Team New York City, and receive an all expense paid trip to present at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 10–15. ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college sciencep;p;’;x competition. Over 1,700 students from 70 countries, regions, and territories are invited to present their projects and showcase their talents on an international stage, while competing for millions of dollars in scholarships.

Lucy, under the supervision of Dr. Zhongqi Cheng in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College, is the first student from Midwood since 2008, chosen to represent Team New York City at ISEF.

“ I worked on my project for almost a year, a lot of work had to go into it. I had to do all of the background work, I had to learn all of the lab technique’s before I actually did any experiments.” said Lin “ I mean it was a lot of work and I thought about dropping it once but, I think it pays off and I made the right choice.”

Midwood researchers won a total of 11 awards and scholarships. In addition to Lucy’s first place award and ISEF invitation, she received an Association for Women Geoscientists award for exceptional projects submitted by a young female geoscientist.

Three students were also awarded CUNY scholarships. Divgun was awarded the Hunter College Sage Scholarship, which recognizes exceptional academic achievement and potential, and substantial tuition awards for four years. He also received an Office of Naval Research, US Navy and Marine Corps award for an outstanding project submitted by an individual student. Tse and  Yu each received a Hunter College Jenny Hunter Scholarship of $1000 over four years, which recognizes a high level of academic achievement and potential.

Wong, Powell, Hasan, and Ng, who all worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso in the Department of Psychology at Brooklyn College, each won The Sarah and Morris Weisenthal Awards. This award is presented to students with outstanding projects that promote and bring awareness to the man-made and natural environment. Midwood students won nearly half of these awards.

In addition, Iqbal also received an American Psychological Association award for exceptional projects in psychology entered in the behavioral sciences category.

For future NYCSEF competitors Amanda Daly, one of the head coordinators of NYCSEF, offered a piece of advice.

Certainly for their project they should really be thinking about what the societal impacts could be, based on their research, and they should be able to articulate that pretty well for the judges,” said Daly. “I think a lot of projects while we read them we’re looking for ‘ What is the rational?  How does it set this project apart? And how is it new and adding to the field of this person’s study?’. When a judge comes back super excited about a student’s project it’s generally because the student was able to articulate how their research would have a positive impact on society or how it addresses a problem in the field.”

Hornet research team competed in NYSEF, a city wide science competition.
Hornet research team competed in NYSEF, a city wide science competition.

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