By Yumna Ahmed Qazi ’17
Out of 130 finalists, seven students from Midwood made the NYCSEF finals and showcased their projects at the Museum of Natural History. The finalists are Mahmoud Abouelkheir ’17, Allan Nosov ’17, Nomon Mohammad ’17, Lilin Liu ’17, Vivian Luu ’17, Minna Zeldin ’17, and Amna Aslam ’17.
According to midwoodscience.org, NYCSEF, also called the New York City Science and Engineering Fair, is a yearly competition in which hundreds of students participate in a preliminary round at City College and a final round at the Museum of Natural History. Sponsored by the Department of Education and CUNY, NYCSEF allows students to learn about a field they’re interested in and get a chance to become a recognized and accomplished person, which also stands out on a college application.
Mentors at Brooklyn College, City College and the Hospital for Special Surgery supervised the finalists. They did projects in different fields, such as biology, physics, and earth and environmental science and presented them to expert judges. The winners can get various awards, internships, scholarships, and cash prizes.
One of the top projects included “Intra-microcolony spatial positioning affects antibiotic susceptibility in Neisseria gonorrhoeae,” by Mahmoud Abouelkheir. He was awarded the NYCSEF First Award and the Intel ISEF award, which are the highest awards of the competition. Abouelkheir expressed his excitement, as winning an award and competing with others is something he would never forget.
“NYCSEF was a different experience that other science fairs I’ve been to. I also participated in the first and second round,” he said. “I did not think I was going to become a finalist. It was really cool that I had one of the top projects.”
Nomon Mohammad received the NYCSEF Second Award and the ASM Materials Education Foundation Award for his engineering project on studying different ways to use electrolytes to optimize energy storage in batteries. Mohammad described his experience at NYCSEF and believed that winning the award was a symbol of the hard work and he and his lab put into the project.
“It was interesting to see other people’s projects at the competition because it really represented their scientific exploration and their effort,” he said. “I hope that the research program grows in the coming years because it’s something that can change one’s perspective on science.”
Lilin Liu was one of the students to win the NYCSEF Third Award, but also won the Brooklyn Navy Yard Award for her project testing the effectiveness of x-ray fluorescence on lead contaminated vegetables.
“Winning an award is always beneficial. Not only does it make you feel good, but it’s good for college too. I also received a paid internship because of this project – it’s a good opportunity and can help me achieve more in the future,” she said.
Allan Nosov, another student to receive the NYCSEF Second Award, did an earth and environmental science project called “Lapse rate analysis — model versus observations.” Nosov felt honored to have competed with the other students and found the event to be enjoyable.
“Competing with the other students was fun because their projects were really exceptional. It was fun because I met new people from other schools and I think it was a good educational opportunity,” he said.
The top 16 projects will continue on and represent New York City at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles, California during May 14-19. For more information on the finalists, visit nycsef.cuny.edu.
Sara Omran ’19 and Shakila Islam ’18 contributed to this article