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Ocean Science Team Swamps Competition

Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2015 by for Miscellaneous.

Astonishingly, Midwood’s Ocean Science Team pulled off a fourth place finish at the city regional of the National Science Bowl at Hunter College High School on March 7.

The National Science Bowl is sponsored by the United States Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation in order to encourage science literacy.

"The sciences are fundamental to our understanding of the world and to progress as a whole," said programmer and impromptu coach Mr. Alan Stack. "This competition serves as a great way to get the youngest generation involved and interested."

The competition consisted of 22 teams from schools across the city such as Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, Hunter, and, for the first time since 2005, Midwood. There wasn’t just one, but two hornet squads battling it out against top students from across the city.

"We’d never participated in a competition like this one, so we were just hoping for a better than last place finish," said A-Team Captain Helen Wong ’15.

Fortunately for the Ocean Science Team, the format wasn’t much different from the Bay Scallop Bowl in February because the competition was solely double elimination style.

"The question style wasn’t that different either," said B-Team Captain Joseph Parziale ’16. "Most of the material consisted of things we’d already learned in chem, bio, and physics in school or from ocean science."

The most nerve-racking moment of the competition was before it even started according to B-Team player Irla Belli ’16. "Everyone else was fervently studying last minute, and we were just there laughing and having fun," she said.

The first round was just a practice round and both teams won over their competition by at least a 20 point margin.

"That practice round was a major boost to our confidence," A-Team player Bart Rosenzweig ’16 recalled afterwards.

B-Team came close but lost the first two rounds early against Brooklyn Tech C-Team and Trinity School which cast some doubt on A-Team’s chances.

"We didn’t do great, but we got some well needed experience," said Belli.

A-Team walked into their first real match against Brooklyn Tech’s B-Team and stomped them 84-8. Question after question, players buzzed in with one correct answer after another as Brooklyn Tech sat dumbfounded.

Next, A-Team waltzed in confidently against The Browning School’s A-Team and pummeled them 86-30.

"It was a blur," said Wong, "I felt like we were answering every question, and what we didn’t know, they didn’t either."

Tougher competition awaited A-Team in round three. The best of Brooklyn Tech, their A-Team, stood in the way.

At first, it did not look good with only a third of a round gone and A-Team was already down 20 points. Miraculously, some quick buzzing, incorrect interrupts by the opposition, and some clutch 10 point bonus questions closed the gap and Midwood was up by roughly ten points with two minutes to go.

With a minute to go, A-Team converted a 4 point question but missed out on a bonus. The lead was now 56-36, but a quick answer by Tech closed the lead to 56-40. Fortunately for the Hornets, an incorrect bonus question ended the round there.

"My heart stopped," said Ms. Kimberly Lau. "Before I saw the lead was insurmountable, I thought that one question could’ve cost us."

A-Team then faced off against Hunter’s A-Team, and an early deficit was never made up leading to defeat. In the following match, a tie at 28 at the half against Hunter’s B-Team, resulted in a 94-32 loss.

"The end wasn’t too exciting because we weren’t neck and neck," admitted Wong, "However, the end result was amazing. We’d only prepared for two hours for the competition and ended fourth."

Regis High School ended up winning from the loser’s bracket over Hunter’s B and A Teams in succession, and its team will go to the state regional.

Against all odds, Midwood’s teams showed up expecting the worst and gave it their all. Competitive experience from the Bay Scallop Bowl in February helped , but dedication on the part of the players was what really gave Midwood the edge.

"Next year we’ll be ready, and we’ll try to win it all because now we know exactly what we’re getting into," concluded Mr. Stack.

Written by Samuel Makarovskiy.
This article originally appeared in the March 2015 edition of Argus.

Midwood High School shows strong at NYC Science Bowl

Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2015 by for Miscellaneous.

On Saturday, March 7th, Midwood sent a group of ten students to the New York City High School Regional competition of the US Department of Energy National Science Bowl. Twenty two teams entered the event, which was held at Hunter College High School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Midwood students have not participted in a regional qualifier for the National Science Bowl since 2005 when the closest regional event was at Brookhaven National Laboratories in Suffolk County. The teams at this year’s competition represented some of the best schools in New York City — including teams from specialized high schools (Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, Queens High School for the Sciences) and elite private schools (Dalton, Trinity, Horace Mann, Browning).

It is with great pleasure that I announce that Midwood’s A team finished the competition as the fourth best team and the third best school. Regis High School won the competition behind the strength of one phenomenal senior who had received grades of 5 on Advanced Placement Chemistry and Calculus BC as an 8th grader. Hunter College High School defended their home turf with teams taking second, third, and fifth place. Midwood A was one of the last two undefeated teams remaining in the competition before losing consecutive matches to Hunter A and Hunter B. Not only did Midwood’s A team show they could compete, Midwood’s B team finished in a tie for 13th place.

The Midwood A team consists of Helen Wong (senior), Bart Rosenzweig (junior), Samuel Makarovskiy (junior), Austin Siu (junior), and Laila Akallal (junior). The Midwood B team consists of Joseph Parziale (junior), Irla Belli (junior), Elizabeth Skapley (sophomore), Jennifer Phu (sophomore), and Ethan Sam (sophomore). All of the students who took part in this competition are members of Midwood’s Ocean Science Team. These students have worked very hard to be as successful as they are. A great deal of credit should be given to Helen Wong for encouraging their studies and Ms. Kimberly Lau for giving them so much of her free time.

9 Midwood students compete in 2015 NYCSEF Finals Round

Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 by for NYCSEF.

The New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) is the city’s largest high school research competition. More than 700 students from around the city submitted applications in 2015. The top 169 students were selected to advance to the Finals Round on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at the American Museum of Natural History. Midwood High School sent 9 students to this year’s competition under the big blue whale. Awards will be presented on Friday, March 27, 2015 in the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College from 3:00–5:00 PM.


Midwood’s 2015 NYCSEF Finalists, clockwise from bottom: Michael Divgun, Lucy Lin, Hillary Syeda, Zainab Iqbal, Tamneya Hauter, Monique Powell, Raymond Yu, Sandra Lin, Emily Tse

  • Michael Divgun (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: The Effect of Polyoxometalate Ion Replacement on Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries.
    Mentor: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Department of Physics, Brooklyn College
  • Tamneya Hauter (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: It Must Be True, I Saw It on TV: The Effect of Television on Adolescent Perceptions of Relationships.
  • Zainab Iqbal (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: PTSD Symptoms, Aggression, and Crime Exposure in a Sample of Young Adults.
    Mentor: Dr. Sara Chiara Haden, Department of Psychology, Long Island University
  • Lucy Lin (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    Project: Degradation of TPH-Diesel in Soil through Mycoremediation.
    Mentor: Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College
  • Sandra Lin (Chemistry)
    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.
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Long Island University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Monique Powell (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Kinematics of the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) During Courtship Rituals.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso and Mr. Alfie Supan, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Hillary Syeda (Cellular & Molecular Biology)
    Project: Characterization of Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF) Production, Secretion, and Target Cells for LIF within the Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) Niche.
    Mentor: Dr. Christopher Lange, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Emily Tse (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: Positive Influences on Academic Attitude and Self-Efficacy,
  • Raymond Yu (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: The Effects of Sodium Pyrophosphate Tetrabasic on the Conductivity of V4+ Electrolyte for the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery.
    Mentor: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Department of Physics, Brooklyn College


The big blue whale at the Millstein Hall of Ocean Life — site of the 2015 NYCSEF Finals Round.

Zainab Iqbal presents at SPA Annual Convention

Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 by for Publications.

Midwood Science senior Zainab Iqbal was a presenter at the 2015 Annual Convention of the Society for Personality Assessment (SPA) on Thursday, March 5, 2015. This year’s SPA convention was held at the Marriott New York at the Brooklyn Bridge. Zainab’s project was entitled "PTSD Symptoms, Aggression, and Crime Exposure in a Sample of Young Adults". She was the only high school presenter at this year’s event. Special thanks to Zainab’s mentor Dr. Sara Chiara Haden of the Long Island University Department of Psychology for nominating Zainab as a presenter.

Ocean Science Team Captures Third Place

Posted on Monday, March 23, 2015 by for Media, Miscellaneous.

Midwood’s Ocean Science Team pulled out a third place victory at the Bay Scallop Bowl at Stony Brook University on Saturday, February 7.

There were 16 teams from across the state in the competition with Midwood contributing both an A and B-Team to the competition. The competition started with a three round "round robin" tournament within a division which determined seeding for a single elimination game in the fourth round. After that round four single elimination game, the remaining eight teams played the rest of the tournament in double elimination style. A loss there would put a team in the losing bracket and another loss thereafter would end their run in the competition.

"We’re super psyched for today’s competition," said A-Team Captain Helen Wong ’15 on the bus ride there.

The day began under Midwood’s Greco-Roman columns at six in the morning when the two teams (A and B), their respective coaches (Mr. Alan Stack and Ms. Kimberly Lau), and some potential recruits boarded the bus to Stony Brook University.

"On the bus ride there, we reviewed some things we hadn’t covered thoroughly," said A-Team player Bart Rosenzweig ’16.

Upon arrival the teams ate a complimentary breakfast to settle some nerves before the first match.

"When I saw the first team, Mt. Sinai High School, my heart stopped," said A-Team coach, Mr. Alan Stack. "They’re the toughest competition at the tournament, and they’re A-Team’s first match."

The round against Mt. Sinai was close but A-Team pulled through with a close 85-76 point win. That nine point difference could have easily been erased with one question pair.


Team A: Samuel Makarovskiy, Bart Rosenzweig, Helen Wong, Andrew Li

"When we beat them, we felt so much more confident of our chances," said Wong.

A-Team’s next two rounds were 143-47 and 100-53 point blowout wins against The Stony Brook School and Farmingdale High School B-team respectively.

"In a scrim a few months ago, we had lost to Farmingdale, and this was a great consolation," said A-Team player Andrew Li ’16.

B-Team lost the first two rounds by a small margin to Churchville-Chili Senior High School and Massapequa High School. In Round 3, B-Team made a comeback in the final seconds and pulled out a win by a hair against Deer Park High School.

"I just got in the zone answering questions, and the next thing I knew we won," said B-Team player Joseph Parziale ’16.

After lunch the placements were in for the round four single elimination game. A-Team got seeded second due to their 3-0 record and went up against 15 seed Division Avenue High School. B-team was seeded tenth against seventh seed Hunter College High School.

A-Team won a relatively close match in Round 4 against Division Avenue 91-47 and survived single elimination.

"That was a weight off of our shoulders for sure because now we have some breathing room," said Wong.


Team B: Rumsha Javed, Laila Akallal, Joseph Parziale, Nicholas Christensen

Unfortunately, B-Team lost by five points to Hunter in the single elimination round ending their run in the competition then and there.

"Although we lost, I feel like we did pretty well and the matches were really close," said B-Team Captain Laila Akallal ’16.

Next round A-team played Hunter in the first double elimination and beat them thoroughly 104-26 as payback for B-team.

"I’m incredibly proud that they scored over 100 points in a double elimination round," said Ms. Lau. "The questions are so much harder at that stage in the competition."

Round 6 against third seed Great Neck South High School started off with an early 40-0 point deficit. After an attempted comeback, A-Team lost 94-40.

"We can’t slack off like that again," said Rosenzweig, "They were faster, but we should’ve buzzed in even if we weren’t 100 percent sure."

A-Team came back in Round 7 in the losers’ bracket winning 85-49 over Churchville-Chili High School from Rochester.

"That was a boost to our confidence," said Li. "We were faster on the buzzer and more confident in our answers which really paid off."

By Round 8 there were four teams left, and Mt. Sinai had won the winner’s bracket. A-Team was slated against Longwood High School, and the round was played on the auditorium stage with dozens of spectators. Early on, A-Team pulled ahead by 20 points, and held onto the lead carrying it through to the end.

"In that round there wasn’t much we didn’t know," said Wong. "Considering it’s a later round, it says a lot about the work we put in."


Teacher Advisors: Ms. Kimberly Lau, Mr. Alan Stack

Great Neck South was A-Team’s opponent in Round 9, and it was dead even off the bat at 20-20 points. In the last few seconds, unfortunate penalties for interrupted wrong answers cost the A-Team. The final score was extremely close at 54-49.

"We gave it our best, we knew the answers, and it just came out to the luck of the draw," said Rosenzweig.

Great Neck South went onto the finals and lost to Mt. Sinai who will now go to nationals in April in Mississippi. Midwood A-Team came out in third place and secured a spot for next year.

"I’m not at all disappointed with the result because we learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and did our best," said Wong.

"Every year our performance improves, and this year we beat out last year’s fifth place high water mark with our highest rank yet," said Mr. Stack. "Ms. Lau and I couldn’t be prouder of this year’s teams and are looking forward to next year."

Written by Samuel Makarovskiy.
This article originally appeared in the February 2015 edition of Argus.

Senior Research Team Brings Home Six Awards

Posted on Sunday, March 22, 2015 by for Media, St. Joseph's.

Holding six awards, senior researchers left the 20th Annual High School Poster Session at St. Joseph’s College on January 7 in high spirits. Awards were obtained from all three possible categories: first place, second place, and honorable mentions.

Research students prepared posters detailing their projects over the Winter Regents Week with the guidance of their research teachers Mr. Glenn Elert, Ms. Jennifer Sullivan and Ms. Shaniece Mosley. Common sections of the poster (introduction, methods, data and analysis, discussion, and references) were drafted and completed on a PowerPoint presentation slide. Afterwards, the PowerPoints were printed on a 36 by 48 inch poster paper.

"I put in all this hard work and all the hours," said Monique Powell ’15. "When I f nally got the results of all the hard work, I was genuinely proud that I contributed something to society."


Wen Li Wang with her mentor Ms. Jan Mun

Taulant Kastrati speaking to a judge

Carmine See speaking to a judge

Students began to receive their printed posters several days before the competition due to the long process required to print the large posters. Some posters, such as Monique’s, were printed in color and cost as much as $100; however, her mentor, Dr. Frank Grasso at Brooklyn College paid for the poster. Posters that were printed in black and white were much cheaper, averaging around $15.

Prior to the competition Mr. Elert told the students, "You have to go in with a winner’s mindset; just because some of you haven’t placed at Intel, it doesn’t mean you can’t win at St. Joseph’s."

Seniors presented their completed projects to the sophomore research classes prior to the competition as practice for the event.


Mohammed Hasan speaking to a judge

Zainab Iqbal speaking to a judge

Hillary Syeda speaking to judges

The competitors arrived at St. Joseph’s at 9 AM on Saturday, February, 7 to set up their posters and prepare for the judging process that would begin half an hour later. Every competitor was required to bring a trifold board to support their posters during their presentation.

"I felt very nervous, I didn’t know what they were going to ask me," said Charlynn Trish Ben ’15. "I just had that college professors, doctors, alumni, and attending students at St. Joseph’s College.

"The judging experience was very relaxing, it was very comfortable," said Meghan Ng ’15. "I thought it feels like talking to a friend, a friend that is very interested to learn about parrots."


Raymond Yu greeting a judge

Yukie Wong speaking to judges

Samar Syeda and Samantha Chee presenting their project

The judging process took about two hours to complete. The seniors were each judged by two to four judges. They were judged on their ability to present the objective of their projects, the methodology and the results of their experiment. Their objective was to effectively relay the big ideas and the important and interesting portions of their study.

While the judges deliberated, competitors enjoyed a lecture and presentation by Dr. Carlo Yuvienco, a researcher at New York University. During the lecture, experiments were performed displaying the unique properties of various solvents and solutes. Additionally, topics such as innovations in drug cancer treatment and the development of biological weapons were discussed, raising questions for the future of researchers. "I think this is wonderful," said Daniel Mace, alumni of St. Joseph’s College. "This gives kids at a young age not only the inspiration to join the sciences, but

also to learn the ability to communicate their thoughts." Hillary Syeda was awarded one of the two first place prizes in the competition; additionally Michael Divgun was awarded one of two second place prizes. Honorable mentions were awarded to Charlynn Trish Ben, Aarin Chase, Dina Deng, and Zainab Iqbal. In total, Midwood won six out of 14 possible awards at the competition. Students left St. Joseph’s with high hopes for future competitions. "St. Joseph’s is a chance to practice what you’re going to say, and familiarize yourself with what you’re going to be asked in the future," said Colleen Chasteau ’15.


Dr. Carlo Yuvienco prepares demonstrations for his keynote presentation

A nearly complete Midwood Science group photo

Zainab Iqbal with her mentor Dr. Sara Chiara Haden

Although some students did not win awards at the St. Joseph’s High School Poster Session, they were all awarded the experience of being judged by others in a formal event on their projects. As Mace said, it is a chance for the students to formally present their works to others and improve on their weaknesses.

Rolens Ambroise ’15 said, "St. Joseph’s isn’t very big, so it prepares you for the bigger competitions like NYCSEF by practicing your presentations."

This March, two events will be held to select the winners of the New York City Science and Engineering Fair. On March 1, a preliminary round will be held at The City College of New York; afterwards, on March 24, a final round will be held at The American Museum of Natural History to select the winners of the competition. Winners of NYCSEF will represent New York City as Team NYC at the 2015 Intel ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

For the 2016 High School Poster Session, Marco Diaz Cordova, an undergraduate student at St. Joseph’s, encourages students to, "Have good posters with a lot of pictures; something that will attract the judge’s eyes. Most importantly, would be to know what your project is on, and all the background information on the topic."

Written by Victor Lee and Joselyne Pimentel.
Photos by Andrey Moiseyenko.
This article originally appeared in the February 2015 edition of Argus.

Happy π Day!

Posted on Saturday, March 14, 2015 by for Everyone.

In the United States, dates are indicated using the number of the month followed by the day of the month and the number of the year. March 14th, 2015 then becomes 3/14/15. Compare this with the first five digits of the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle π = 3.1415. For extra fun, celebrate at 9:26:53 AM local time. The first ten digits of π are 3.141592653.

And remember — π are not squared, π are round, brownies are squared.

Message for you, Sir.

Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2015 by for Juniors, Seniors, Sophomores.

Everyone received a message at the end of Midwinter Break. If you "lost" yours, here’s a copy.

2015 New York City Metro Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS)

Posted on Sunday, February 15, 2015 by for Awards, JSHS.

The New York City Metro Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) was held at York College in Jamaica, Queens on Sunday, February 8, 2015. Individual students compete at JSHS for scholarships and recognition by presenting original research projects before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. Midwood entered 7 students and had 4 semifinalists this year.

  • Lucy Lin
    was a semifinalist and received a third place award in earth and environmental sciences for her project "Degradation of TPH-Diesel in Soil through Mycoremediation". Lucy worked under the supervision of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College.
  • Sandra Lin
    was a semifinalist 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 in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Long Island University.
  • Monique Powell
    was a semifinalist in behavioral and social sciences for her project "Kinematics of the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) During Courtship Rituals. Monique worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso and Mr. Alfie Supan in the Department of Psychology at Brooklyn College.
  • Raymond Yu
    was a semifinalist in physics for his project "The Effects of Sodium Pyrophosphate Tetrabasic on the Conductivity of V4+ Electrolyte for the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery". Raymond worked under the supervision of Dr. Sophia Suarez in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College.


Sandra Lin, Monique Powell, Lucy Lin, Raymond Yu

Midwood’s 20th outstanding year with St. Joseph’s College

Posted on Saturday, February 7, 2015 by for Awards, St. Joseph's.

Saturday, February 7, 2015 marked the 20th year St. Joseph’s College New York held a High School Poster Session for scientific research in all fields. Midwood Science students excelled once again, collecting 6 of 14 possible awards — one first place, one second place, and four honorable mentions.

  1. Hillary Syeda
    Project: Characterization of Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF) Production, Secretion, and Target Cells for LIF within the Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) Niche.
    Mentor: Dr. Christopher Lange, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  2. Michael Divgun
    Project: The Effect of Polyoxometalate Ion Replacement on Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries.
    Mentor: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Department of Physics, Brooklyn College

Hillary Syeda

Michael Divgun
  1. Charlynn Trish Ben
    Project: A shark homolog of REV3, a DNA translesion polymerase.
    Mentor: Dr. Ellen Hsu, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  2. Aarin Chase
    Project: Study of invasion of human epithelial cells by bacteria from the Neisseria genus: Focus on pathogenic Neisseria gonorrhoeae and commensal Neisseria elongata.
    Mentor: Dr. Emilia Laura Munteanu and Dr. Nicholas Biais, Department of Biology, Brooklyn College
  3. Dina Deng
    Project: Determining the Effectiveness of the Biomarker SSEA5 in the Enrichment of Endometrial Cancer Stem Cell Populations Using the Hybrid Spheroid Assay.
    Mentor: Dr. Christopher Lange, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  4. Zainab Iqbal
    Project: PTSD Symptoms, Aggression, and Crime Exposure in a Sample of Young Adults.
    Mentor: Dr. Sara Chiara Haden, Department of Psychology, Long Island University

Charlynn Trish Ben

Aarin Chase

Dina Deng

Zainab Iqbal
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