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NYCSEF paperwork delivered

Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 by for NYCSEF.

At 2:30 PM today, 20 Midwood Science research papers were delivered to NYCSEF headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn. At 2:31 PM, CUNY employees tore open the white protective envelopes and began poring through the carefully prepared application materials. This is the first step in the largest science fair in New York City.

Animated GIF of a CUNY employee opening a white envelope containing a research paper for NYCSEF. A pile of similar envelopes is in the foreground.

Each year, hundreds of students from all five boroughs participate in the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF). The 2017 preliminary round is scheduled for Sunday, March 5, 2017 and will be held at City College's Shepard Hall in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan.

This year's top awards include scholarships to study at the City College of New York and Hunter College as well as an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles, California to represent Team NYC at the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

NYCSEF is sponsored by the New York City Department of Education and the City University of New York.

Are you ready for NYCSEF Paperwork Day?

Posted on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 by for NYCSEF, Seniors.

Seniors. We will be assembling paperwork for NYCSEF on Monday, December 12, 2016 starting period 7. All copies will be made at this time using the heavy duty photocopier in Mr. Rosenfeld’s office (A200) or Mr. Spergel's office (A300). I will bring large envelopes, staples, binder clips, and labels. You will bring your completed paperwork including …

See you Monday.

Rolls of paper for a Heidelberg Contiweb press

NYCSEF Signature Pages

Posted on Monday, December 5, 2016 by for NYCSEF, Seniors.

Seniors, I need your NYCSEF signature pages on or before Wednesday, December 7, 2016 so the Principal and I can sign them. Please print the Principal’s name (Michael McDonnell) for him, but do not sign or date the form (obviously). Please do the same for my name (Glenn Elert). I will sign part b as the Science/Research Teacher for all seniors. The rest of the paperwork along with a complete research paper must be ready by Monday, December 12, 2016. All photocopying will be done at Midwood with the exception of pages in your report that contain color images or diagrams. Copies of those pages are the responsibility of the student.

15 Midwood students receive NYCSEF awards, scholarships, dollars, and bitcoins; Urooj Ansari and Bilal Azhar receive ISEF awards

Posted on Friday, April 1, 2016 by for Awards, ISEF, NYCSEF.

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.)

NYCSEF logo

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.

NYCSEF First Award and Intel ISEF Award

ISEF logo
  • Urooj Ansari (Microbiology)
    Project: Physical and chemical warfare between Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sanguinis
    Mentor: Dr. Nicolas Biais, Brooklyn College, Department of Biology
  • Bilal Azhar (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: Comparison of work output from first order and second order magnets during magnetic heat transitions
    Mentor: Dr. Karl Sandeman, Brooklyn College, Department of Physics
    Bilal also received an ASM Materials Education Foundation Award for outstanding research related to materials science.

NYCSEF First Award

  • Xiao (Gloria) Jun Cao (Microbiology)
    Project: The effect of tenofovir on bone homeostasis
    Mentors: Dr. Aránzazu Mediero Muñoz and Dr. Bruce Cronstein, NYU Langone Medical Center, Department of Pharmacology

NYCSEF Second Award

  • Yusra AbdurRob (Medicine & Health Sciences)
    Project: Photoreceptor layer thickness in Parkinson’s disease during circadian rhythm
    Mentor: Dr. Ivan Bodis-Wollner, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Department of Neurology
  • Nga Ying Lo (Chemistry)
    Project: Development of an efficient synthesis of aryl trifluoromethylated compounds and the purification of products produced from reactions with vinylketene complexes
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Long Island University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
    Nga Ying also received a Jenny Hunter Scholarship, a merit scholarship of $1,000 per year renewable for up to four years.
  • Joshua Pilipovsky (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: Accuracy of the Ising approximation in quantum computation
    Mentor: Dr. Vladimir Tsifrinovich, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Department of Applied Physics
  • Kai Saunders (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    Project: Urban soils: Metal content in artifacts
    Mentor: Ms. Hermine Huot and Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Brooklyn College, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
    Kai also won a Brooklyn Navy Yard Award and an Association of Women Geoscientists Award. The first of these is for exceptional projects that promote the Navy Yard’s commitment to academic excellence and scientific inquiry and came with a prize of one bitcoin. The second is for exceptional projects submitted by young female geoscientists.

NYCSEF Third Award

  • Kieran Bissessar (Biochemistry)
    Project: A new perspective on the lupus malady
    Mentor: Dr. Donald Gerber, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Department of Medicine
    Kieran also received a Hunter College Sage Scholarship, a merit scholarship of $4,000 per year renewable for up to four years.
  • Emily Hui (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Paternal investment in male-pregnant pipefish Syngnathus fuscus
    Mentor: Ms. Frieda Benun Sutton and Dr. Tony Wilson, Brooklyn College, Department of Biology
  • Victor Lee (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Variations and similarities of nest construction behaviors amongst monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) of identical and different nest sites
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Brooklyn College, Department of Psychology
  • Colleen Simon (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    Project: How does the presence of Stropharia rugoso-annulata in different types of soil affect the growth of ryegrass?
    Mentor: Ms. Jan Mun and Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Brooklyn College, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Xiu Ling Weng (Chemistry)
    Project: Cycloaddition of tricarbonyl iron(0) vinylketene complex with methyl 3-iodopropiolate
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Long Island University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • William Xie (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: Resiliency of proton transport in Nafion 117 after exposure to select solvents
    Mentors: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Brooklyn College, Department of Physics
    William also received a Hunter College Sage Scholarship, a merit scholarship of $4,000 per year renewable for up to four years.

Additional Award Winners

  • Max Miloslavsky (Engineering)
    Project: MYEXOHAND
    Mentor: Dr. Victoria Bill, Cooper Union, Department of Student Programs
    Max won an Environmental Quest Award and a Sarah and Morris Wiesenthal Award for an outstanding project that brings awareness to the man made and natural environment. Each award came with a prize of $100.
  • Joseph Parziale (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Measurement of fitness traits of two common marine species in an urbanized environment: How variable are fitness traits?
    Mentor: Dr. Kestrel Perez, St. Joseph’s College, Department of Biology
    Joseph won a Brooklyn Navy Yard Award and one bitcoin for an exceptional project that promoted the Navy Yard’s commitment to academic excellence and scientific inquiry.

13 Midwood students advance to NYCSEF Finals

Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 by for Awards, 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 2016. The top 130 projects were selected to advance to the Finals Round on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at the American Museum of Natural History. Midwood High School sent 13 students to this year’s competition under the big blue whale. Awards will be presented on Friday, April 1, 2016 in the Gerald W. Lynch Theatre at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice from 3:00–5:00 PM.

group photo

  • Yusra AbdurRob (Medicine & Health Sciences)
    Project: Photoreceptor layer thickness in Parkinson’s disease during circadian rhythm
    Mentor: Dr. Ivan Bodis-Wollner, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Department of Neurology
  • Urooj Ansari (Microbiology)
    Project: Physical and chemical warfare between Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sanguinis
    Mentor: Dr. Nicolas Biais, Brooklyn College, Department of Biology
  • Bilal Azhar (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: Comparison of work output from first order and second order magnets during magnetic heat transitions
    Mentor: Dr. Karl Sandeman, Brooklyn College, Department of Physics
  • Kieran Bissessar (Biochemistry)
    Project: A new perspective on the lupus malady
    Mentor: Dr. Donald Gerber, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Department of Medicine
  • Xiao Jun Cao (Microbiology)
    Project: The effect of tenofovir on bone homeostasis
    Mentors: Dr. Aránzazu Mediero Muñoz and Dr. Bruce Cronstein, NYU Langone Medical Center, Department of Pharmacology
  • Emily Hui (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Paternal investment in male-pregnant pipefish Syngnathus fuscus
    Mentor: Ms. Frieda Benun Sutton and Dr. Tony Wilson, Brooklyn College, Department of Biology
  • Victor Lee (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Variations and similarities of nest construction behaviors amongst monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) of identical and different nest sites
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Brooklyn College, Department of Psychology
  • Nga Ying Lo (Chemistry)
    Project: Development of an efficient synthesis of aryl trifluoromethylated compounds and the purification of products produced from reactions with vinylketene complexes
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Long Island University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Joshua Pilipovsky (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: Accuracy of the Ising approximation in quantum computation
    Mentor: Dr. Vladimir Tsifrinovich, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Department of Applied Physics
  • Kai Saunders (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    Project: Urban soils: Metal content in artifacts
    Mentor: Ms. Hermine Huot and Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Brooklyn College, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Colleen Simon (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    Project: How does the presence of Stropharia rugoso-annulata in different types of soil affect the growth of ryegrass?
    Mentor: Ms. Jan Mun and Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Brooklyn College, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Xiu Ling Weng (Chemistry)
    Project: Cycloaddition of tricarbonyl iron(0) vinylketene complex with methyl 3-iodopropiolate
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Long Island University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • William Xie (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: Resiliency of proton transport in Nafion 117 after exposure to select solvents
    Mentors: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Brooklyn College, Department of Physics

NYCSEF Paperwork Delivered

Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 by for NYCSEF.

41 NYCSEF applications were delivered to 16 Court Street at 2:20 PM.

NYCSEF Paperwork Day

Posted on Saturday, December 12, 2015 by for NYCSEF, Seniors.

Seniors. We will be assembling paperwork for NYCSEF on Monday, December 14, 2015 starting period 6. All copies will be made at this time using the heavy duty photocopier in Mr. Rosenfeld’s office (A200). I will bring large envelopes, staples, binder clips, and labels. You will bring your completed paperwork including …

See you Monday.

Rolls of paper for a Heidelberg Contiweb press

NYCSEF Signature Pages

Posted on Thursday, December 3, 2015 by for NYCSEF, Seniors.

Seniors, I need your NYCSEF signature pages on or before Tuesday, December 8, 2015 so the Principal and I can sign them. Please print the Principal’s name (Michael McDonnell) for him, but do not sign or date the form (obviously). Please do the same for my name (Glenn Elert). I will sign part b as the Science/Research Teacher for all 43 seniors. The rest of the paperwork along with a complete research paper must be ready by Monday, December 14, 2015. All photocopying will be done at Midwood with the exception of pages in your report that contain color images or diagrams. Copies of those pages are the responsibility of the student.

11 Midwood students win NYCSEF Awards, Lucy Lin wins ISEF Award

Posted on Friday, March 27, 2015 by for ISEF, NYCSEF.

Massive congratulations go out to Lucy Lin and the other 11 winners at the 2015 NYCSEF Award Ceremony today. Let me explain why.

NYCSEF is the New York City Science and Engineering Fair. It is the largest science fair in the New York metropolitan area and is sponsored by the City University of New York (the nation’s leading urban public university serving more than 480,000 students) and the New York City Department of Education (the largest school system in the US with more than 1.1 million students). NYCSEF begins in December when over 700 students apply. From this pool of applicants, the NYCSEF staff approved something like 460 projects. These students presented their projects to judges at the NYCSEF Preliminary Round on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at City College in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan. The top 141 projects were then selected to present at the NYCSEF Finals Round on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At the end of all of this, 12 Midwood students received awards.

NYCSEF First Award and Intel ISEF Award

Lucy Lin received a First Place Award as well as an invitation to present at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 10–15, 2015. The last time a Midwood student attended an ISEF competition was back in 2008. Lucy worked under the supervision of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College. Special thanks go out to Dr. Chen who has worked with so many Midwood students.

  • 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.

NYCSEF Second Award

  • Raymond Yu (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: The Effects of Sodium Pyrophosphate Tetrabasic on the Conductivity of V4+ Electrolyte for the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery.
    Mentors: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Department of Physics, Brooklyn College

NYCSEF Third Award

  • Monique Powell (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Kinematics of the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) During Courtship Rituals.
    Mentors: Dr. Frank Grasso and Mr. Alfie Supan, Department of Psychology, 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
  • Emily Tse (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: Positive Influences on Academic Attitude and Self-Efficacy,
  • 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
  • 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
  • Michael Divgun (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: The Effect of Polyoxometalate Ion Replacement on Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries.
    Mentors: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Department of Physics, Brooklyn College

Sarah and Morris Wiesenthal Awards

This award is presented to students with outstanding projects that promote the objectives and mission of Environmental Quest; to bring awareness to the man-made and natural environment. Wiesenthal Award winners each received $100. Midwood Science students won nearly half of these awards. All four students worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso in the Department of Psychology at Brooklyn College. Special thanks go out to Dr. Grasso who has worked with more Midwood students than any other mentor.

  • Yukie Wong (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Seasonal Variation in Group Size of Monk Parakeets.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Monique Powell (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Kinematics of the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) During Courtship Rituals.
    Mentors: Dr. Frank Grasso and Mr. Alfie Supan, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Mohammed Hasan (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Interpreting Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) Behavior and Calls.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Meghan Ng (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Direction of Gaze and Monk Parakeet Vocalization.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College

CUNY Scholarship Awards

  • Michael Divgun also received a Hunter College Sage Scholarship, which recognizes exceptional academic achievement and potential. Sage Scholars receive substantial tuition awards for 4 years, preferred access to Hunter’s residential housing and housing aid, dedicated advisors, special workshops to facilitate success in college and invitation only events with inspirational faculty and community leaders.
  • Emily Tse and Raymond Yu also received a Hunter College Jenny Hunter Scholarship, which recognizes a high level of academic achievement and potential. Jenny Hunter scholars receive a $1,000 tuition award for 4 years, preferred access to Hunter’s residential housing and housing aid, dedicated advisors, special workshops to facilitate success in college and invitation only events with inspirational faculty and community leaders.

Additional Awards

  • Zainab Iqbal also received an American Psychological Association award for exceptional projects in psychology entered in the behavioral sciences category.
  • Lucy Lin also received an Association for Women Geoscientists award for exceptional projects submitted by a young female geoscientist.
  • Michael Divgun also received an Office of Naval Research, US Navy and Marine Corps award for an outstanding project submitted by an individual student.

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.

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