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Sophomores present projects in annual Science Fair

Posted on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 by for Media, Science Fair.

Bacterial growth, lactose formation, and electrolytes were just some of the topics explored by sophomores in preparation for the annual Science Fair on May 28.

"The Science Fair is an excellent way for everyone to gather together, talk about projects, and enjoy good food," said Wen Li Wang ’15.

Principal Michael McDonnell said, "This is the first time the sophomores are given the chance to create something original and present it to the school."

The Science Fair is a yearly event in which sophomores taking Research Projects present their experiments that they worked diligently on to judges. The judges included junior and senior Science Research students and alumni. Juniors and seniors were required to judge three projects and the alumni were required to judge two or three. Around 40 alumni participated in the judging this year. The entire process is student run, and teachers only step in as extras if an alumni doesn’t show up.

Unlike other years, this year, according to Ms. Jennifer Sullivan, there were only three research classes compared to last year’s four. There were also a lot more group projects.

"It went smoothly this year since there was a smaller group," said Mr. Glenn Elert, Science Research teacher. He also added that this year, judges had more time to give feedback and were able to give each project more individualized attention.

Last year, each judge was assigned five projects, which caused judges to rush to finish grading all the projects assigned to them, instead of being able to individualize their comments for each project.

Sophomores were judged based on six different components: poster, abstract, materials and methods, analysis and conclusion, and presentation. Individual projects were scored out of 60, while team projects out of 70. Each project was judged by five different randomly assigned judges to ensure a just and equitable judgment.

"It was a fair rubric and well rounded approach," said Stefanie Henry ’14. "There was room to ask questions."

One of the challenges faced by students was the lack of time to prepare for the project. Students had two weeks to perform their experiments and decorate their poster boards.

"If we had more time to do our projects," said Gary Shun ’17, "we could’ve more accurately measured the results and data."

Mark Dela Pena ’17 said, "We wanted to use a real video recorder to record actual times so they could be more accurate, but we didn’t have time." His partner, Marco Rodriguez ’17, added that the video cameras added credibility because "human perception is often flawed."

The lack of sufficient time caused many students to cut corners when finalizing their research.

Choosing a topic was also difficult for some students.

For example, Ilham Ahmed ’17 had to go through several websites before finding a topic that interested her. At the end, she finally decided to work on lactose formation in various milks.

"I chose this topic because I really like the food sciences and this is a serious issue for lactose intolerant people," said Ahmed. "They need to drink milk because of the nutrients, but they can’t have the lactose."

Finally, another challenge the students had to overcome was the limitation of resources to carry on their projects.

According to Asia Le ’16, there were many projects that involved bacteria. However, students who had projects related to bacteria were only allowed to perform the experiments with resources provided in the research room, A214.

Amna Aslam ’17, who conducted her research on acne, said, "I couldn’t get pathogens, the bacteria that causes acne, which I needed for my desired experiment. It was also hard getting statistics and analyzing the data."

Taiseer Uddin ’17 and Pauletta Lazarevskiy ’17 did their experiment on sound levels and faced many difficulties with finding a quiet room in the school to test their sound level meter. They had to talk to many teachers and switch rooms a few times in order to complete their experiment.

Despite the many difficulties and challenges sophomores faced to get ready for the science fair, the result was rewarding. Researchers were given the opportunity to investigate topics based on their hobbies and the problems they face everyday. They also developed projects that they believed would be beneficial to others.

"I like sports and I like to exercise. I know that sports drinks have electrolytes and I wanted to see if they had a higher concentration of electrolytes than orange juice," said Joanna Midura ’17. "I know you’re not supposed to drink orange juice after working out because of all the carbohydrates, but I just wanted to try and see."

Aslam decided to research on the effects of various cleansers on acne production because she felt that acne is a problem that plagues people of all ages.

"I have acne. Adults have acne. Many people have acne," said Aslam. "It’s very common and I wanted to test which products works best. Neutrogena is the most expensive and it’s always advertised as the best. However advertisers never tell us what it’s being compared to."

Ramirez and Pena decided to work on testing the effects of different Sun Protection Factors (SPF)’s on UV beads.

"We started off with this because since it’s almost summer, most people go to the beach," said Pena. "People always say SPF 100 is the best so we did a test to see whether it really was."

Overall, judges were very pleased with the projects and the amount of work that the sophomores put into creating them,

"So far I think they’re great," said Zainab Iqbal ’15. "They’re not that advanced, but that’s for junior year. This year’s projects are giving students enthusiasm for Junior Research."

Henry said, "You can tell students put a lot of dedication and time into these projects. I enjoyed seeing fellow alumni and being in the educational atmosphere again. I’m glad to see the enthusiasm for science is still strong here."

Dao Quan Lin ’13 said, "Creativity was pretty high this year, however, generating an experimental procedure still needs work."

Seniors who are currently in Science Research can be invited to judge in the next Science Fair.

"It was interesting to start here, and after going through so many competitions, come back to judge the sophomores who did the same thing I did two years ago," said Lucy Lin ’15. "It’s kind of like returning to my childhood."

Lin and Wang plan to judge the Science Fair as alumni next year after finishing their freshman year of college.

"The Science Fair is a good experience for students," said Wang. "It prepares them for college and research as a junior and/or senior."

Mr. Elert added, "It helps sophomores practice conducting experiments, analyzing data, and speaking to the public."

The Science Fair drew attention not only from those who are enthusiastic for science, but also from those who wanted to catch a glimpse of the Hornets’ display of hard work.

"It’s a different language," said Ms. Maria Feehan, a Spanish teacher. "I’m so impressed with the work of all the young scientists. They are all so prepared and poised. They can answer the questions articulately and refer back to their data charts."

Ms. Feehan added that she is impressed with all the hard work that the students put into this project and will definitely come back next year.

"I think it was the best Science Fair ever," said Principal McDonnell.

The date for awards ceremony of the Science Fair has not been determined however it will take place as soon as the scores have been calculated and places have been determined. [Editor’s note: The awards were presented Thursday, June 10, 2015.]

Written by Jocelyn Chen and Nahian Chowdhury (Class of 2016).
This article originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of Argus.
Photos courtesy of Prianka Zaman (Class of 2013).

2015 Midwood Science Fair Results

Posted on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 by for Awards, Science Fair.

And the winners are…

1st Place


Mahmoud Abouelkheir
The Effect of Active Ingredients found in toothpaste on oral bacteria growth (Micrococcus)

Arbaz Aziz & Dmitriy Kim
The Strength of Magnetism Under Varying Temperatures

2nd Place


Allan Nosov
Using Weather Instruments and Folklore to Predict Weather

Terence Kong
The Capability of Antibacterial Soap

Angel Zou & Jennifer Phu
What’s in your seaweed? DNA Barcodes of Different Brands of Seaweed Snacks Commonly Found in Supermarkets

3rd Place


Zenab Jamil
The Primacy Effect

Carmen Zheng
The Effect of Gum and Music on Memory

Noor Asif
Henna Mixology
     

Sabrina Slutsky & Michelle Fogel
The Most Effective Antacid

Brianna Ku & Michelle Li
The Effect of Different Liquids on Dianthus Flower Growth
 

Honorable Mention


Ilham Ahmed
The Effect of a Variety of Milks on the Amount of Lactose Formed

Chunny Chi
The Effectiveness of Mouthwash Against Escherichia coli

Daniel Mirkin
The Effect of Aerated Water on Yeast Metabolism

Amy Huang
Determining how fast the ink travels across the different kinds of paper
   

Samuel Pun & Anthony Dinh
Denaturing Proteins under Heat

Jeannine Chen & Jimmy Li
What’s in your seaweed? DNA Barcodes of Different Brands of Seaweed Snacks Commonly Found in Supermarkets.

Alia Abdelhameed & Danielle LoPresti
The Effect of Hydrogen Peroxide Concentrations on Hair Strength

2015 Science Fair Abstract Book

Posted on Monday, May 25, 2015 by for Science Fair.

Join us in the Annex from 3:30–5:30 PM on Thursday, May 28th for the 2015 Midwood Science Fair. Special thanks to Carmine See (class of 2015) who designed the cover for this year’s abstract book.

Abstract Book Cover

         
         

Team NYCSEF at 2015 Intel ISEF Public Viewing

Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2015 by for Intel ISEF.

NYC students head out to 2015 Intel ISEF

Posted on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 by for Intel ISEF.

2015 Intel ISEF Opening Ceremony

Posted on Monday, May 11, 2015 by for Intel ISEF.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2015 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania has begun. 2000 science, technology, engineering, and math students from across the globe — with 18 from New York City including Lucy Lin from Midwood High School.

Midwood wins 18 awards and $5000 in prizes at 2015 ACT‑SO

Posted on Monday, May 11, 2015 by for ACT-SO.

The New York City Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is a youth program under the administrative aegis of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). ACT-SO is an enrichment program designed to encourage high academic and cultural achievement among under-served minority high school students. Near the end of every academic year, ACT-SO students participate in an “Olympics of the Mind”, which was held on Saturday, April 18 at the George Wingate Educational Complex. The awards ceremony was held on Tuesday, May 5, 2014 at St. Francis College.

Midwood received 6 gold medals, 4 silver medals, 4 bronze medals, 3 ambassador awards, and 1 outstanding teacher award. The big winner was Tanisha Williams with 2 gold medals in the humanities (poetry and short story). All medalists receive an honorarium from a New York City branch of the NAACP — $500 for gold, $300 for silver, $200 for bronze, and $125 for ambassadors (student recruiters). Gold medalists go on to compete in the National ACT-SO in Philadelphia July 11–15, 2015.


Left to Right: Dina Deng, Carmine See, Samar Syeda, Sandra Lin, Charlynn Trish Ben, Donald Ceus, Samantha Chee, Mr. Glenn Elert, Zainab Iqbal, Rolens Ambroise, Cindy Chee, Hillary Syeda, Aarin Chase

Gold Medal + $500

  • Aarin Chase received a Gold Medal in Microbiology for his project "Study of invasion of human epithelial cells by bacteria from the Neisseria genus: Focus on pathogenic Neisseria gonorrhea and commensal Neisseria elongata." Aarin worked under the supervision of Dr. Nicholas Biais in the Department of Biology at Brooklyn College. Aarin also received an Ambassador of the Year award and $125 for his exceptional service as an ACT-SO recruiter.
  • Colleen Chasteau received a Gold Medal in Medicine & Health for her project "The Comparison of Pulse Wave Velocity and QKD Velocity Methods in Congestive Heart Failure Patients." Colleen worked under the supervision of Dr. Jason Lazar in the Department of Cardiology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Colleen also received an Ambassador of the Year award and $125 for her exceptional service as an ACT-SO recruiter. Colleen’s brother, Christopher Chasteau, received gold medals in Instrumental, Classical and Instrumental, Contemporary for his performances on the steel pan.
  • Sandra Lin received a Gold Medal in Chemistry for her project "Isolation of isomeric catechols 4-chloro-2-ethoxy-5-(triethlysilyl)-[1,1′-biphenyl]-3-ol and 5-chloro-2-ethoxy-4-(triethlysilyl)-[1,1′-biphenyl]-3-ol." Sandra worked under the supervision of Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter at Long Island University in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
  • Hillary Syeda received a Gold Medal in Biology for her project "Characterization of Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF) Production, Secretion, and Target Cells for LIF within the Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) Niche." Hillary worked under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Lange in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
  • Tanisha Williams received a Gold Medal in Poetry for "Sankofa" and a Gold Medal in Short Story for "Misunderstood".

Silver Medal + $300

  • Charlynn Trish Ben received a Silver Medal in Biology for her project "A shark homolog of REV3, a DNA translesion polymerase." Charlynn worked under the supervision of Dr. Ellen Hsu in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
  • Samantha Chee & Samar Syeda received a Silver Medal in Medicine & Health for their project "Does Media Shape Body Image?" Samantha and Samar worked under the supervision of Dr. Carlos Restrepo in the School of Medicine at New York University.
  • Dina Deng received a Silver Medal in Biology for her project "Determining the Effectiveness of the Biomarker SSEA5 in the Enrichment of Endometrial Cancer Stem Cell Populations Using the Hybrid Spheroid Assay." Dina worked under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Lange in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
  • Valeriya Falkovich received a Silver Medal in Engineering for her project "Which Catalyst is Most Efficient for a PEMFC?" Valeriya worked under the supervision of Dr. Sophia Suarez in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College.

Bronze Medal + $200

  • Rolens Ambroise received a Bronze Medal in Biology for his project "A role for amyloids in yeast invasion and pseudohyphae formation." Rolens worked under the supervision of Dr. Peter Lipke in the Department of Biology at Brooklyn College. Rolens also received an Ambassador of the Year award and $125 for his exceptional service as an ACT-SO recruiter.
  • Cindy Chee received a Bronze Medal in Chemistry for her project "The Synthesis of Three Tricarbonyl Iron(0) Vinylketene Complexes." Cindy worked under the supervision of Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Long Island University.
  • Donald Ceus received a Bronze Medal in Earth & Space Science for his project "The Benefits of Using Reusable Bottles Rather than Disposable Plastic Bottles." Donald worked under the supervision of Dr. Carlos Restrepo in the School of Medicine at New York University.
  • Carmine See received a Bronze Medal in Medicine & Health for her project "The Effect of Hydralazine on the Development of Lupus. Carmine worked under the supervision of Dr. Donald Gerber in the Department of Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Teacher Award

  • Mr. Glenn Elert received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award.

Brooklyn College Science Day 2015 — 2nd sweep in a row

Posted on Sunday, May 10, 2015 by for Brooklyn College.

Brooklyn College Science Research Day has been an annual tradition for the past 25 years. It’s a one day event that showcases the research of undergraduate and graduate students at Brooklyn College and from local high schools. Nearly 170 students presented their research across 14 categories in STEM, with over 50 faculty members from the college serving as judges. First, second and third place prizes are awarded in the high school, undergraduate and the graduate divisions. The 2015 Science Research Day was held on Friday, May 8. For the second year in a row, Midwood Science students received every award in the high school division.

1st Prize: High School Division

  • Lucy Lin
    Project: Degradation of Diesel in Soil through Mycoremediation.
    Mentor: Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College

2nd Prize: High School Division

  • Melissa Lee
    Project: Food Waste to Natural Organic Fertilizers: The Leachates from Composting Processes.
    Mentor: Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College
  • Yukie Wong
    Project: Seasonal Variation in Group Size of Monk Parakeets.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College

3rd Prize: High School Division

  • Muhammad Abdulla
    Project: Monk Parakeet Chambers.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Xiao Yan Hu
    Project: Soil Carbon Dioxide Respiration in Urban Environments.
    Mentor: Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College
  • Carmine See
    Project: The Effect of Hydralazine on the Development of Lupus.
    Mentor: Dr. Donald Gerber, SUNY Downstate, Department of Medicine

Midwood Science collects 5 Young Naturalist Awards

Posted on Saturday, May 9, 2015 by for Miscellaneous.

Five Midwood Science students were Semifinalists in this year’s Young Naturalist Awards — a competition for students in grades 7–12 who explore the natural world around them in a scientific manner. Students summarize their findings in a research paper of 1,500–4,000 words which is then judged by a panel of experts. This competition is supervised by the American Museum of Natural History.

This year’s winners were mentored by two professors at Brooklyn College with outstanding histories of support for Midwood Science: Dr. Frank W. Grasso in the Department of Psychology and Dr. Zhongqi Joshua Cheng in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.


Left to right: Monique Powell, Dr. Frank Grasso, Muhammad Abdulla, Victor Lee, Elliot, Yukie Wong

Dr. Grasso’s students and collaborators study the feral population of monk parakeets in and around Brooklyn College. Like many Midwood Science students, these birds are the decedents of recent immigrants. Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) are native to Argentina and surrounding countries but have managed to start numerous, small colonies scattered across North America and Europe. All monk parakeets outside their original habitat are most certainly the descendants of escaped or unwanted pets. Midwood Science students Muhammad Abdulla, Monique Powell, and Yukie Wong studied various aspects of the behavior of these intelligent and entertaining birds.

  • Muhammad Abdulla
    Project: Chamber Analysis of Monk Parakeet Nests.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank W. Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Monique Powell
    Project: Kinematics of the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) During Courtship Rituals.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank W. Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Yukie Wong
    Project: Seasonal Variation in Group Size of Monk Parakeets.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank W. Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College


Left to right: Dr. Theodore Muth, Kate Lenahan, Dr. Jessica Joyner, Lucy Lin, Alonso, Wen Li Wang, Jan Mun, Danielle Wagner, Dr. Joshua Cheng

Dr. Cheng’s students and collaborators have been working on ways to clean up contaminated soil in and around the Newtown Creek area on the northwestern border between Brooklyn and Queens. The New York Times reported that an estimated 17 million to 30 million gallons of oil, benzene, naphtha and other carcinogenic chemicals pollute Newtown Creek and a 55 acre, 25 foot deep swath of soil in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Contamination wasn’t due to a single catastrophic release, but was the result of 100 years of lax environmental protection. Midwood Science students Lucy Lin and Wen Li Wang are working on ways to clean up the soil using oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Lucy and Wen Li worked alongside and under the supervision of Ms. Kate Lenahan (Research Assistant), Ms. Danielle Wagner (Lab Technician), and Ms. Jan Mun (Media Artist and Director of The Greenpoint Bioremediation Project).

  • Lucy Lin
    Project: Degradation of TPH-Diesel in Soil through Mycoremediation.
    Mentor: Dr. Zhongqi Joshua Cheng, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College
  • Wen Li Wang
    Project: Remediation of Contaminated Soil in Urban Environments with Pleurotus ostreatus and Microorganisms
    Mentor: Dr. Zhongqi Joshua Cheng, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College

Application for Advanced Science Research (a.k.a. 1.05)

Posted on Sunday, April 26, 2015 by for Juniors, Seniors.

pdf icon

All juniors and seniors with a currently active research placement who would like to apply for a 1.05 weighted research course (Advanced Science Research) for the spring semester of 2015 must fill out, print, sign, and present this form to their supervising teacher along with an up to date lab log. An "active" placement is one with 16 hours (on average) of lab log entries per month for the first four months of 2015. Seniors should take care of this on Thursday, April 30 or Friday, May 1 (your choice). Juniors should do this during the week of May 4–8 at their regularly scheduled meeting.

Special note just for the juniors. A placement is not official until your mentor has contacted me saying you have been accepted to work in their lab. It should also state the date you began working there. Some of you have done this and some of you have not. The official record of this is kept in the Google Docs spreadsheet called “mentors (shared)”. You were all sent an invitation to this spreadsheet in October. View it and check your status. If you see a date next to your mentor’s name, you’re OK. If not, contact them immediately and ask them to email me before the end of the marking period (Monday, May 4, 2015).

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Glenn Elert — Coordinator
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