Hornets Take Home Prizes in Brooklyn College Science Fair

By Nursat Jahan ’19 and Daniel Gaft ’19

After a lot of research, high school and college students presented their findings at Brooklyn College Science day held on May 4 at the Brooklyn College Student Center.

Every spring, students from different communities gather to celebrate Science Day. From high school students to graduate students in universities. The Brooklyn College website states that students competed and showcased 125 projects in 14 different fields of science with over 50 faculty members as judges. Some of the fields included Psychology, Biology, Robotics, and Chemistry. In each field first, second, and third place is awarded to students with the best project.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “This gives us an opportunity to contemplate the importance of scholarship in the science. All of our students deserve a robust and inspiring STEM education. Not only to prepare for jobs of the future, but develop skills to make them better students, employees, and citizens.” 

Seven Midwood students from the Biomimetic and Cognitive Robotics Laboratory (BCR Lab) who worked with professor and Psychology teacher Dr. Frank Grasso, presented their projects. These students are Kevin Chen ’19, Larissa Brijmohan ’19, Fizza Nayab ’19, Annabel Xei ’19, Aushna Saleem ’18, Hafsa Fatima ’18, Nila Mirza ’18 and Soanne Saint Victor ’18. The students were supervised by Mr. Glenn Elert and Ms. Susan Katzoff.

“It was an amazing opportunity to present in front of college professors and being able to experience public speaking as a junior,” said Nayab. She presented a team project with Brijmohan on how Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta Monachus) influence conspecific  behaviors.

Each of these students was judged by two judges and were asked many questions, such as how the results from their project can benefit society.

“I was very nervous while presenting to the judges and the people that came to view my project, but I was very surprised when the judges didn’t really ask me many questions,” said Xei.She presented a project that determined whether Monk Parakeets had a preference for the residential area or the urban area.

After all the presentations were judged, the scores were tallied up while the presenters and faculty enjoyed an amazing lunch. Midwood took 2 out of 3 wins for the high school division breaking a clean sweep streak (2014-2017). The first place winner was Chen who presented his project called “Aggression on the beach: Crowding increases aggression levels on fiddler crabs (Uca Pugilator) colonies.”

“I was shocked and was  really thrilled when my name was announced,” said Chen. “My hard work and patience paid off and I thank Dr. Frank Grasso and the BCR lab members for helping  me gather my data.”

Fatima earned second place with a project called “The effect of temperature on the frequency of vocalization of Myiopsitta Monachus.” The third place winner was Kemal Aziz ’18, from Staten Island Tech, with the project called “Cooling through quantum mechanics: Magnon-based description of magnetocaloric effects in La-Fe-Si, CoMnSi, and gadolinium.”

Mr. Glenn Elert stated, “Brooklyn College Day is always good. Midwood constantly performs and it’s nice to meet with other professors from different high schools and colleges. My advice for students who want to participate next year is to just do it. Give it a shot.” 

As for the future, these research students are continuing their projects and building on to them with help of their lab professors and research teacher Mr. Elert, so that they can be ready to present at the NYCSEF in 2019.

“A student is not going to perform well in competitions if he/she just does a presentation, they will get better by gaining experience with real judges, where they ask you questions and other procedures like in the real event,” said Mr. Elert.

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