Researchers Shine At NYCSEF

The NYCSEF finalists attend the NYCSEF finals at the Museum of Natural History.

By Michael Grandel ’17

Scholarships, awards, bitcoins, and dollar prizes were awarded to 15 Midwood High School research competitors at the New York City Science Fair (NYCSEF) on April 1.  Two students received the most prestigious award, an invitation to represent New York at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

The ISEF award is the main goal for research competitors. Bilal Azhar ’16 and Urooj Ansari ’16 both received the invitation and will represent New York at ISEF in Phoenix Arizona on May 8-13 along with 14 other representatives. In addition, Azhar, Ansari, and Gloria Cao ’16 received the First Award, which is considered as a first place award. A Second and Third place awards was also given out to several research students.

“I feel great and excited for ISEF,” said Azhar. “It was definitely worth the stress since I got to participate in a very strong STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] community and won.”

The Midwood Research class enables students to participate in NYCSEF and other competitions. Students are required to go through extensive work their junior and senior years. By mid-junior year students are required to work in a lab with researchers, professors, and scientists, and use their newfound research as the basis for competitions. Thus detailed understanding and skills are required for those aiming to win NYCSEF and other fairs.

Azhar’s project won in the category of Physics & Space Sciences. He conducts his research with Dr. Sandeman in Brooklyn College. Urooj Ansari won in the Microbiology category, and her research was conducted with Dr. Biais in Brooklyn College. For further details, view the Midwood Science website.

Azhar said “I understood my project very well. It takes a lot of researching to understand the concepts. In addition, I had to practice my presentation several times before the judging.”

The First Award and ISEF invitation aren’t the only recognized prizes. Scholarships and sponsorships also glorified a few of Midwood’s research students. Seniors Kieran Bissessar, Nga Ying Lo, and William Xie were each awarded four-year scholarships to Hunter College.

“The scholarship is an amazing opportunity for students to attend college with significantly less debt. It is definitely worth taking,” said Xie.

Another award is a bitcoin from the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. A bitcoin is virtual currency that can be traded and is worth approximately $417 apiece. Joseph Parziale ‘16 and Kai Saunders ’16 both received one bitcoin each.

NYCSEF is a big part of Midwood science research, but it isn’t the only one. The competitors now continue to prepare for other tasks and fairs.

Xie said that he plans on focusing on college. He added that he would enjoy pursuing research during his freshman year of college, but the likelihood is dependent on several factors. Also, the students are preparing for the Brooklyn College Science Fair.

Research teacher Mr. Glenn Elert is happy for the students, but the load of work to come is substantial.

“It will be a lot of fun, but it will also be a lot of work,” said Mr. Elert. “Our schedule is so bad that the only time you’re not doing anything official is when you’re eating or sleeping.”

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