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The Home of Midwood Science Research

Midwood Students Place First in State STEP Competition

Posted on Thursday, April 3, 2014 by for Awards, Miscellaneous.

Midwood seniors Kiara Nuñez and Sade Seidu with Crystol Thomas from the Preparatory Academy for Writers in Queens were finalists at the Science Technology Entry Program (STEP) Statewide Student Conference held in Albany from March 28–30. They received First Prize in the Senior Division of Human Services for their project, "Limited Access: How much do you know about Diabetes?" Kiara, Sade, and Crystol were supervised by Mr. Carlos Restrepo at the New York University School of Medicine. Approximately 60 New York State universities participate in STEP, which is funded by the New York State Department of Education.

Sade Seidu (Midwood) and Kiara Nuñez (Midwood)
with Crystol Thomas (Preparatory Academy for Writers)

ACT-SO Reminder

Posted on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 by for ACT-SO, Seniors.

Saturday, April 12th, 2014 is the Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics or ACT-SO at Wingate High School from 10:00am–5:00pm. Any student interested will need to go to registration on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at P.S. 84 in Manhattan beginning at 10:30am and lasting till about 12:00pm. Students must bring the following to registration:

Students are allowed to work in teams. If students are in a team, only one member of the team is needed to register on Saturday, April 5th, however, an autobiography and picture are needed for both students. (No group pictures.) Also, if a student cannot make it, another student can give in the papers for them. (If you want someone else to register for you they will need your name, address, phone number, etc. so it is suggested that you register yourself.) All you need to do is drop off your papers, sign the registration forms, and leave. You can also go over your board with them if you want. (This is suggested).

Only students in the following categories can enter. Even if your project isn’t exactly in one of these categories, it might be possible to enter in a related category.

For rules on how to format your paper go to this web page. Then click on your category to see the requirements. (They are basically all the same.)

On the date of registration be sure to write under “Student Ambassador” the name of one of the Midwood recruiters: Chukwunonso Nwasike, Christopher Ayala, M. Tasnim Kabir, or Raquel Hosein.

2014 Brooklyn Frontiers in Science Public Lecture

Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2014 by for Extra Credit, Lectures.

The Brooklyn Subsection of the American Chemical Society and the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering present a free lecture to the public.

Professor Jacqueline K. Barton
Signaling through DNA
Brooklyn Frontiers in Science Lecture

Thursday, April 3, 2014
5:30–7:00 PM

Pfizer Auditorium
NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering
5 Metrotech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201

We think of the DNA double helix as the library of the cell, encoding all that we are. But DNA can also serve as a conduit for the flow of electrons, a medium for signaling. Like a stack of copper pennies, the stack of DNA base pairs is conductive. Recent experiments have shown that DNA can serve as a conduit for the transport of electrons over long molecular distances. We can use this to chemistry design sensitive DNA-based diagnostic sensors. Nature uses this chemistry to find where DNA is damaged and in need of repair — an important mechanism in maintaining our genetic library against the damage associated with aging, cancer, and oxidative stress.

Dr. Jacqueline K. Barton is the Arthur and Marian Hanisch Memorial Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. She is a native New Yorker. Barton was awarded the A.B. summa cum laude at Barnard College in 1974 and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at Columbia University in 1978 in the laboratory of Stephen J. Lippard. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Bell Laboratories and Yale University with Robert G. Shulman, she became an assistant professor at Hunter College. In 1983, she returned to Columbia University, becoming an professor of chemistry and biological sciences. In the fall of 1989, she joined the faculty at Caltech. In 2009, she began her term as Chair of the Division. Dr. Barton has won many prestigious awards, including the 2010 National Medal of Science from President Obama.

If you are interested in attending, please register here. Midwood Science Research students will receive extra credit if they submit the public lecture assignment to their supervising teacher the day after. An attendance photo will also be taken.

The PhysicsBowl Approaches

Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2014 by for Extra Credit.

The PhysicsBowl is a competition for high school students and schools. Each year, approximately 10,000 students take a 40 question, 45 minute timed, multiple choice test under their school’s supervision. Students compete in Division I (first-year physics students) or Division II (second-year physics students). Students and schools compete against each other by geographical region. (Specialized math and science schools are treated as a separate region.) Awards are given to the top students and schools in a division and region.

The questions for the PhysicsBowl are taken from high school physics classes at all levels (conceptual physics, AP Physics B/C, modern physics, etc.). It is NOT expected that any one student or school will have covered all the topics on the test. Practice exams can be printed out or taken online.

The 2014 PhysicsBowl will be administered at Midwood period 9–10, Wednesday, April 9 in room A320. Mr. Spergel is coordinating this event. Registration instructions will be emailed to all research students. Space is limited. Interested students should register and take the practice tests as soon as possible.

2014 New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) Awards

Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2014 by for Awards, ISEF, NYCSEF.

NYCSEF First Award and Intel ISEF Alternate

NYCSEF Second Award

NYCSEF Third Award

Additional Awards

NYCSEF Winners Prepare for Finals Competition

Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 by for Media, NYCSEF.

Science projects varying from Microbiology to Behavioral and Social Sciences were displayed at this year’s preliminary round of New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) on Sunday, March 2 at The City College of New York. Students competed in the hopes of making it to the finals.

With a total of 13 senior students making it to finals, things are looking great for Midwood. Allen Barbarovich, Yasmine Brown-Williams, Varvara Budetti, Alisha Bunting, Amy Cao, Ying Tong Guo, Xin Yi Chen, Stefanie Henry, Raquel Hosein, Shadika Jahan, Kiara Nuñez, M. Tasnin Kabir, and Tiffany Mai are this year’s proud finalists.

"This is the largest science event in NYC," said Glenn Elert, Science Research coordinator.

NYCSEF not only allows students to present their projects, but also gives participants an opportunity to widen their knowledge of science by reading other projects.

Both students from Science Research and Social Science Research competed at the event. 482 projects (including teams) were presented and over 600 high school students participated. Projects that scored the top 20–25 percent in their category went on to the finals, which are about 100–150 projects.

Senior research students at the
NYCSEF Preliminaries

Dr. William, a judge, said projects are graded mainly on quality of work, creativity, and understanding of material. The grading follows a rubric and is on a 1–10 scale. Each project was reviewed by three judges, and the grade for each project is then averaged.

"I feel confident but nervous because I have to go against all those other contestants," said Ying Tong Guo ’14.

The Finals Round will be held on Tuesday, March 25 at The American Museum of Natural History, followed by an Award Ceremony two days later at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.

The next step is the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The top finalists get an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles, California, where they can receive awards and scholarships.

"I was in awe when I found out I won. I could not believe I made it to finals," said Alisha Bunting ’14.

Juniors from Science Research also went to NYCSEF to look at projects. It was mandatory for them to go and write about the projects that were of interest.

"Going to NYCSEF helped me because now I know how many other people I have to compete against next year," said Cindy Chee ’15. "I realized how much time and effort everyone has put into their projects for this event."

Saba Sakhi & Marisol Morales
This article originally appeared in the March 2014 edition of Argus.

Gene Therapy: A Forever Fix

Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by for Extra Credit, Lectures.

This event has no public webpage.
Click the image above to read the
dust jacket for Dr. Lewis’s latest book.

Ricki Lewis is a science writer with a PhD in genetics. She is author of the true story The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It, the college textbook Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications, co-author of two human anatomy and physiology textbooks, and has also published a short genetics book, an essay collection, a novel about stem cells, and more than 3,000 articles. She also writes the Public Library of Science (PLoS), Medscape Medical News, Scientific American, the Multiple Sclerosis Discovery Forum, the Genetics Society of America and the Rett Syndrome Research Foundation. She is a genetic counselor at CareNet Medical Group in Schenectady, NY, and teaches Genethics online for the PhD program at the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College. Dr. Lewis is a frequent public speaker and lives near Schenectady, New York.

Gene Therapy: A Forever Fix
Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM
43rd Annual Nelson Rosenthal Convocation
New York University — Eisner and Lubin Auditorium
60 Washington Square South, New York NY 10002

Contact Ms. Ross if you would like to go. Attend, listen, and take notes. Retain your admission ticket, program, or any other handout given at the lecture. Have your photo taken at the event by a teacher or other approved attendance taker. Complete this assignment while the lecture is still fresh in your mind. Bring the completed, typed assignment to your supervising teacher with proof of attendance to your next meeting. Be prepared to answer additional questions.

2014 New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) Finalists

Posted on Monday, March 10, 2014 by for Awards, NYCSEF.

13 Midwood Science Research students were declared finalists in the 2014 New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF). NYCSEF is the New York City Department of Education’s annual science and technology research competition, coordinated by the City University of New York (CUNY). More than 700 students from around the city submitted applications to the 2014 NYCSEF. On Sunday, March 2, the qualifying students from high schools across the city met at City College to display their scientific research for the Preliminary Round.

Only the top 100 projects (approximately) are invited to attend the finals round. These students are the best of the best. Wish them good luck at the finals on March 25, 2014 at the American Museum of Natural History. Awards will be announced two days later at Hunter College.

Sammi Chung Wins Intel STS Digital Badge

Posted on Monday, March 3, 2014 by for Awards, Intel STS.

Sammi Chung was awarded a Student Initiative Badge "in recognition of her exceptional effort and accomplishment relative to available resources" for her entry in the 2014 Intel Science Talent Search. The Society for Science & the Public in partnership with the Intel Foundation awards digital badges to inspire learning, confirm accomplishment and validate the acquisition of knowledge or skills. Sammi’s winning project was entitled "Electrode Size Effect on Microbial Fuel Cell". She worked under the supervision of Dr. Sophia Suarez and Ms. Yara Adam in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College.

New Judging System Denies Badges

Posted on Monday, March 3, 2014 by for Intel STS, Media.

Under the new judging guidelines, most seniors in the Science Research program have only earned entrant badges in the Intel Science Talent Search (STS). This digital award, which is one of many, is given to every participant; however, last year’s eleven seniors won more badges than this year’s senior research class.

"I was surprised that the science research students, as a group, received a fewer other badges than the entrant badge considering the quality and depth of the papers submitted," said Stefanie Henry ’14.

In the beginning of January, seniors were notified by the Society for Science and the Public (SSP) that they would receive their badges shortly, but they weren’t emailed back.

"I thought that there was a mistake," said Mr. Glenn Elert, Coordinator for Science Research. "These students have worked very hard on their projects. Some of the research papers were good, and some of them were excellent, but the seniors have nothing to show for it."

Mr. Elert personally sent an e-mail to the SSP about what had happened. The e-mail mentioned that several schools have experienced a decline in the number of badges being presented because the Intel STS "refined their criteria on what they were looking for" in science projects.

"As a student who has worked three long years on his project," said Chris Ayala ’14, "to be presented with the explanation that the judges refined their criteria on what they were looking for was no excuse for the lack of badges this year."

Sounding eager to help out future applicants, the SSP considered making improvements to the badging system by asking evaluators how they’re evaluating. That way, applicants could know what they can do to improve their applications.

"I’ll believe it when I see it," Ms. Sullivan, a research teacher, said. "There’s a sense of blindness one feels when applying to Intel. If I were a student, I would feel very discouraged not knowing what I can do for my paper."

According to Intel, the Intel STS is a national science competition in which high school students compete for $1,250,000 in scholarships. The badging system was introduced to Midwood last year, though it was used two years earlier by the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). These badges award students on scientific-based merits, such as writing a research paper especially well or showing student initiative.

"As a still growing competition," said Ayala ’14, "I understand that they had to make new policies but there was no reason to make it so that barely anyone won, especially without stating requirements of the badges."

Taulant Kastrati & Charlynn Trish Ben
This article originally appeared in the February 2014 edition of Argus.

To earn an Intel STS Entrant Badge, all portions of the application must be completed at the high level expected, provide complete and thoughtful responses, and accurately cite sources and not claim the work of others.   An Intel STS Research Report Badge is awarded to an entrant who has submitted a well-written, college-level, journal-style research report based upon his or her own independent science research.   An Intel STS Student Initiative Badge is awarded to an entrant who has exhibited extraordinary effort and dedication in his or her pursuit of scientific research and has made great accomplishments relative to the resources available to him or her.
Intel STS Semifinalist Badges are awarded to an entrant selected as one of 300 semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search.   Intel STS Finalist Badges are awarded to an entrant selected as one of 40 finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search.   The the teacher of each successful applicant listed in their application will also receive an Intel STS Research Teacher Badge

Seniors Win Big at Science Poster Contest

Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 by for Media, St. Joseph's.

Victory reigned supreme at the High School Poster Session at St. Joseph’s College on Saturday, February 1, from 9 am to 1 pm. With first place awarded to Raquel Hosein ’14 for her "Application of a Wireless Electrical Device for the Detection of Epilepsy," second place to Allen Barbarovich ’14 and Christopher Ayala ’14. Honorable mentions were awarded to M. Tasnin Kabir ’14, Chukwunonso Nwasike ’14, Sammi Chung ’14 and Jasmin Kim ’14. Competition was fierce with 112 high school contestants from all over the New York City metropolitan area, but Midwood still managed to come out on top. This year marked the greatest number of contestants.

"It’s great to get recognition for the work that you did," said Raquel Hosein ’14. "I loved my project and that’s why I did well. When you don’t love what you’re doing there’s something lacking in your work."

Judging and waiting to be judged. Allen Barbarovich discussing his project with the judges. Chris Ayala discussing his project with a judge.

At the event there were two first place winners, two second place winners and 10 honorable mentions. All the participants received certificates. The winners and honorable mentions received a small gift bag. The winners also received gift cards from Barnes and Noble. The session is held every year and next year will make its 20th anniversary.

"I started working in my project junior year and my professor helped a lot on my presentation," said Tasnim Halim ’14. Juniors and seniors who are in the Science Research Program entered the competition. Not many juniors entered because they aren’t as far along with their projects. It was mandatory for the seniors to enter.

Raquel Hosein, M. Tasnin Kabir, Mr. Glenn Elert, Tasnim Halim Ms. Jennifer Sullivan, Ying Tong Guo, Amy Cao Ms. Shaniece Mosley, Alisha Bunting, Varavara Budetti

According to Glenn Elert, Science Research Coordinator, there were 37 contestants from Midwood at the competition.

Starting junior year, students get internships at colleges in labs and start attending weekly, depending on their schedule. There, students work on projects with their mentor. Next, the work done in the lab is submitted to various competitions including the Research Poster Session.

Dr. Jill Rehman hosting the awards presentation. Varvara Budetti relaxes between judgings. Leonidas Eracleous, Samuel Genchikmakher, Jeffey Tsui

Frank W. Grasso, professor of Psychology at Brooklyn College, said he guided his students in his lab by meeting with them and giving them resources, along with constant course corrections.

"Your mentor assigns projects along with what your mentor finds," said M. Tasnin Kabir ’14.

There were a total of 31 judges at the event. Posters were displayed on tables on stage and in two separate rooms. The judges walked around with their folders to each poster board making it to as many students as they could. Students presented to three or more judges. One main question asked while presenting was "Why did you chose this project?"

Full House Dr. Cindie Kehlet discusses her research at the intersection of science and fine art. Group Photo

"It’s really interesting to see what people are doing," said Michael Megafu, a judge. "It’s on a 1 to 5 scale and contestants are judged mainly on the quality of work and their presentation."

The judging took two hours, followed by a keynote where the guest speaker, Dr. Cindie Kehlet, spoke about her research on "Portable Nuclear Magnetic Resonance for the Investigation of Artist Materials." At the end they announced the winners and gave out the awards. The purpose of the event is to help showcase the scientific achievement of the students.

Saba Sakhi & Jacquelyne Gilman
This article originally appeared in the February 2014 edition of Argus.
Images reproduced under Creative Commons License from St. Joseph’s College.
View more images of this event on their Flickr Stream.

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Midwood Science Research

Midwood Science Research Program
Glenn Elert — Coordinator
Midwood High School at Brooklyn College Midwood High School at Brooklyn College
Michael McDonnell — Principal
2839 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11210
(718) 724–8500