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Team NYC paused for a photo opportunity on their way to the 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) at the Phoenix Convention Center this morning. New York City’s top young scientists are ready to compete against more than 1,700 students from around the world. Midwood Science is represented by Bilal Azhar (Material Sciences) and Urooj Ansari (Microbiology) seen in the front row on the far right.
Midwood Science students received 5 gold medals, 5 silver medals, 8 bonze medals, 2 special awards, and nearly $5,000 in prize money at the NYC ACT-SO Awards Ceremony held Monday, May 9, 2016. Gold Medals and $500 went to Nga Ying Lo, Kai Saunders, Yusra AbdurRob, Laila Akallal, and Shanayah Renois. These five students now have the opportunity to compete at the National ACT-SO July 14–17 at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is a multidisciplinary academic competition for high school students sponsored by the NAACP, the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights organization. Students compete in 27 different categories in the sciences, visual arts, performing arts, humanities, and business. Students may enter projects and performances in multiple categories up to a maximum of 3. The National ACT-SO is held in conjunction with the NAACP National Convention each year.
ACT-SO began in 1976 as a local competition for students in Chicago, but quickly expanded across the United States. There are now approximately 200 local ACT-SO chapters. Much like the Olympic Games, there are bronze, silver, and gold medals for the top students. Again like the Olympic Games, medals are hung around the neck of the winners as they stand on a tri-level platform. When all the medals in a particular category have been awarded, the medalists arms are raised in triumph. ACT-SO’s unofficial nickname is "The Olympics of the Mind".
Every year in May, the science students at Brooklyn College get together for a friendly poster competition amongst themselves. Every year they also ask high school students from Brooklyn to join them. Projects are separated by grade level (Graduate, Undergraduate, High School). For the third year in a row, Midwood Science has taken every one of the awards at the high school level. We even had two First Place winners this year — Kai Saunders (a senior) and Noor Asif (a junior). Award winning students were given prizes including Barnes and Noble gift cards, USB flash drives, portable phone chargers, and stainless steel water bottles. Everyone received a free pen, a free lunch, and a nice break from from classes during a stressful week of Advanced Placement Exams.
The World Science Festival needs volunteers. The Festival starts Wednesday, June 1 and ends Sunday, June 5. With hundreds of jobs in 30 venues across New York City, you’re sure to find a time, place, and position that suits you. (Seniors, be advised that Friday, June 3 is Prom night.) Submit your volunteer application today. Volunteers need…
The World Science Festival gathers great minds in science and the arts to produce live and digital content that allows a broad general audience to engage with scientific discoveries. Through discussions, debates, theatrical works, interactive explorations, musical performances, intimate salons, and major outdoor experiences, the Festival takes science out of the laboratory and into the streets, parks, museums, galleries and premier performing arts venues of New York City and beyond.
Seniors wishing to enter the Google Science Fair should finish most of their entry during Spring Break. The task is time consuming, but fairly straighforward. Consult the contest web page on the Midwood Science website for a breakdown of the process. Entries will not be accepted from students who are ineligible (for hazardous chemical or animal subjects restrictions) or who violate any of the contest rules (like mentioning brand names or using copyrighted material).
I have cleared my schedule Thursday, May 5 to deal with this. Stop by periods 4, 5, 7, 9, or 10. After you have shown me that your entry is complete, you may hit "submit" and +10 points will be added to your grade for the semester. This is also a good time to take care of the 1.05 application (for the very few seniors who are eligible this semester).
The Midwood Science Fair is only a month away. Right now as you read this the sophomore research students are diligently working on their projects, formulating hypotheses, and plotting the best way to gather and analyze data. The juniors and seniors are sharpening their metaphorical pencils as well as their literal questioning skills. The alumni judges are looking forward to seeing old friends at Midwood once again. The teachers are keeping their students focused. Everyone is coordinating their schedules to make sure they’re ready for Thursday, May 26, 2016.
Scholarships, awards, Bitcoins, and dollar prizes were awarded to 15 Midwood High School research competitors at the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) Awards Ceremony on April 1. Two students received the most prestigious award, an invitation to represent New York at the Intel International 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 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. Second and Third place awards were 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 in 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. Detailed understanding and skills are required for those aiming to win at NYCSEF and other fairs.
Azhar’s project won in the category of Physics & Space Sciences. He conducts his research with Dr. Karl Sandeman in Brooklyn College. Urooj Ansari won in the Microbiology category, and her research was conducted with Dr. Nicolas 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 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.
Midwood 2016 NYCSEF Finalists, clockwise from bottom: Urooj Ansar, Kieran Bissessar, Bilal Azhar, Kai Saunders, Victor Lee, William Xie, Joshua Pilipovsky, Colleen Simon, Emily Hui, Xia Jun (Gloria) Cao, Yusra AbdurRob, Xiu Ling Weng, Nga Ying Lo.
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. Joseph Parziale ‘16 and Kai Saunders ’16 each received one Bitcoin.
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 Brooklyn College Science Day.
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.”
NYCSEF is the annual New York City Science and Engineering Fair with hundreds of participants from across the five boroughs. Roughly 400 participants are selected from 700–800 entries to participate in the Preliminary Round held at City College. The top 25% of these go on to the Finals Round at the American Museum of Natural History. These students compete against one another for various awards, scholarships, and cash prizes paid out in dollars and, for the first time ever, bitcoins. The top 16 projects go on to represent NYC at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix, Arizona May 8–13.
Midwood Science is proud to congratulate Urooj Ansari and Bilal Azhar for receiving the highest awards of the competition — the Intel ISEF Award — as well as a NYCSEF First Award (Urooj in Microbiology and Bilal in Physics & Space Sciences). Gloria Cao also received a First Award in Microbiology. Midwood has gone many years without winning one First Award. This year we had three! With four Second Awards and six Third Awards this has been our best year since 2004. (That year we had a very rare six students go to ISEF.)
Kieran Bissessar, Nga Ying Lo, and William Xie were each awarded four year scholarships to Hunter College. Max Miloslavsky received two $100 awards from the nonprofit organization Environmental Quest. Joseph Parziale and Kai Saunders received one bitcoin each from the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. (A bitcoin is a virtual, peer-to-peer currency that started in 2009. On the day of the awards ceremony, bitcoins were trading at $417 apiece.)
This year’s Finalists worked at Brooklyn College, SUNY Downstate, NYU (Tandon and Langone campuses), LIU, Cooper Union, and St. Joseph’s College. Special thanks to all the mentors for their dedication and hard work.
The Rolling Drones, one of Midwood’s robotics teams, will be moving on to the FTC World Championship from April 27–30 in St. Louis, Missouri. [Note: Due to lack of funds, The Rolling Drones were unable to attend this event as planned.]
The team will be competing against teams from all over the country after being one of the twenty-four teams to move on from the FTC East Super-Regional Championship that took place in Scranton, Pennsylvania from March 18 to March 20. Bötley Crüe, the other team that made it to the Super-Regional made it to the semi-finals, but did not qualify for the World Championship.
Before heading to the Super-Regional competition, Bötley Crüe won the trophy for the winning alliance and the Connect Award for helping the community understand FIRST, the FIRST Tech Challenge, and the team itself at the LI/NYC regional competition that was held at Townsend Harris High School on February 28. The Rolling Drones were awarded the trophy for the Finalist Alliance and won the PTC Design award for the design of their elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic.
"I was overwhelmed with excitement knowing that they are both moving on to the Super-Regional," Ms. Ali said. "It is the ultimate reward after all of their hard work."
The tables turned during regionals. The Rolling Drones won four out five of their qualifying matches while Bötley Crüe only won one. Bötley Crüe had connection issues that prevented the robot from working. At one point, the phone that holds all the programs that allowed the robot to work fell out of its case and hindered the robot from moving. Due to the good relationship with Techno Chix, a Girl Scout group ranked fourth, they were able to move onto the Super-Regional championship. In 2009, Techno Chix and Bötley Crüe moved onto the World Championship together.
"During one of the matches, we went up the mountain way too fast," said Shazem Khalid ’16. "Our robot flipped over and that cost us one of our matches."
Bötley Crüe Captain Victoria Gnip ’16 said, "It was really close and we didn’t think weren’t going to make it because we had so many technical issues. Luckily Techno Chix chose us to be part of their alliance. We were able to fix our technical problems and win the competition."
Shazem Khalid ’16 and Michael Nurilov ’16 are the drivers for Bötley Crüe with Dana Gan ’16 as the coach. As for Rolling Drones, Caitlin Tsang ’17 and Jessy Li ’16 are the drivers while Ihor Bakhank ’16 coaches from the side.
Between each match, the teams had time to make small adjustments to their robots. Mostly, the teams switched up parts of the robot to be better prepared for the different sides of the field that they would be competing on.
Rolling Drones was ranked second and they were able to pick their three alliances and move onto the semi-finals and the finals. Bötley Crüe won one out of the five qualifying matches due to technical difficulties (mostly Bluetooth disconnection) and were ranked 25th.
Both teams moved on to the Super-Regional where they competed in the Grace Hopper Division made up of 36 teams. The other division, Nikola Tesla, was also made up of 36 teams. While Rolling Drones only lost 2 of 9 matches, Bötley Crüe was not as fortunate. The Rolling Drones were in fourth place and got to chose which teams would move on with them to the elimination rounds. The Rolling Drones and Bötley Crüe were allies at the semi-finals but lost the elimination match. The winning teams from each division faced each other for a final match. The Hopper Division won the match, and the teams from that division moved up on the ranking chart. Because of their ranking, the Rolling Drones moved on to the World Championship. Since the Midwood alliance did not win the elimination match, Bötley Crüe could not qualify for the World Championship.
"As a captain, it’s a lot of pressure to keep the team together, organized and strong so we are able to perform to the best of our abilities from match to match. Being calm, cool, and collected was the key to success," said Rolling Drones’ Ihor Bakhnak ’16.
Mr. Jahn said, "I was really proud of both teams for making it that far. Both teams did extremely well despite the fact that Bötley Crüe was teamed up with teams that made it hard to win. I’m glad one of the teams made it."
Midwood Science Research Program
Glenn Elert — Coordinator
|Midwood High School at Brooklyn College|
Michael McDonnell — Principal
2839 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11210
|Mr. Elert (Coordinator)||A214||elert@||midwoodscience.org||2141|
|Mr. McDonnell (Principal)||127||mmcdonn2@||schools.nyc.gov||1270|
|Mr. Rosenfeld (Assistant Principal)||A200||trosenf@||schools.nyc.gov||2003|