Students across New York City schools, private and public, were able to showcase their creativity and intelligence through their experiments in the yearly New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSWEF) preliminary round, which was under way on Sunday, March 5 in City College.
“This fair ultimately isn’t about winning. It’s that you know what your talking about and a project you worked hard on is heard,” said Angel Zou ’17.
Seven hornets were accepted to participate in the finals. Mahmoud Abouelkheir ’17 and Amna Aslam ’17 in the category microbiology, Lilin Liu ’17 and Allan Nosov ’17 in the category earth and environmental sciences, Vivian Luu ’17 in the category chemistry, Nomon Mohammad ’17 in the category engineering and Minna Zeldin ’17 in the category medicine and health science qualified. The finals will take place on Tuesday, March 28 at the museum of natural history. Then, those finalists will have the opportunity of competing in nationals located in Los Angeles.
“This is an amazing chance to showcase all the hard work students put in and the broad range of topics that science covers,” said Mahmoud Abouelkheir ’17. “everyone can learn something new from this fair.”
Some projects were printed out on large posters, while others were on tri-boards. Each experiment had an introduction (background research), a hypothesis, a data, an analysis of that data, and a conclusion.
This fair had a specific judging system. Each experiment was assigned 3 judges and they asked questions based on the experiment’s methodology. Student scientists weren’t allowed to move away from their project until they were evaluated by the judges.
Mahmoud’s project was titled Intra Microcolony Spatial Positioning Affects Antibiotic Susceptibility In Neisseria Gonorrhoeae. This complex project tested the physical properties of bacteria.
“The purpose of this kind of fair is to get students involved in taking part in something big,” said Minna Zeldin ’17, “the fair allows students to present information and discoveries that might turn into something much bigger in the future.”
Minna created an experiment that tried to prove that DNA strands can move around from cell to cell in search of a specific marker that is found on cancer cells.
Angel Zou ’17 partnered with Whitney Wong ’17 created an experiment that uses microscopic water dwelling organisms called tardigrade to see how they affect E. coli.
“One can’t become a scientist without acting first. This fair gives students the opportunity to work in labs and become mini scientists,” said Angel Zou ’17.
Many people came to observe the science fair. Md Hoque ’18 and his friends were astonished by all the different, elaborate experiments. Md mainly focused on the biology section because he is currently working on a project where he uses a fungi, a yeast, to clean tap water and get rid of the pharmaceutical drugs found in it. He is trying to find a way to insert human liver enzymes into yeast and have them metabolize the drugs inside New York tap water. The goal of this project is to cleanse the water so marine species don’t die.
Hoque ’18 said, “every single project has their unique future implications, whether it’s creating a safer traveling regime for vaccines or making us age slower or even helping to find a cure cancer. Plus we are most likely going to continue our projects and aid in real world issues.”
This research competition was sponsored by the New York City Department of Education and the City University of New York (CUNY).
NYCSEF isn’t the only fair for the next generation to try to make a difference. Seniors are preparing for the next competition, Teptu STEM Research Conference, which will take place on Monday, April 3.
Written by Jonathan Krimgold and Klyve Morisseau (Class of 2018).
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 edition of Argus.