The Home of Midwood Science Research

Hornets Come Out on Top at NYSEF

Posted on Monday, May 1, 2017 by for Media, NYCSEF.

Out of 130 finalists, seven students from Midwood made the NYCSEF finals and showcased their projects at the Museum of Natural History. The finalists are Mahmoud Abouelkheir '17, Allan Nosov '17, Nomon Mohammad '17, Lilin Liu '17, Vivian Luu '17, Minna Zeldin '17, and Amna Aslam '17.

According to midwoodscience.org, NYCSEF, also called the New York City Science and Engineering Fair, is a yearly competition in which hundreds of students participate in a preliminary round at City College and a final round at the Museum of Natural History. Sponsored by the Department of Education and CUNY, NYCSEF allows students to learn about a field they're interested in and get a chance to become a recognized and accomplished person, which also stands out on a college application.

Mentors at Brooklyn College, City College and the Hospital for Special Surgery supervised the finalists. They did projects in different fields, such as biology, physics, and earth and environmental science and presented them to expert judges. The winners can get various awards, internships, scholarships, and cash prizes.

One of the top projects included "Intra-microcolony spatial positioning affects antibiotic susceptibility in Neisseria gonorrhoeae," by Mahmoud Abouelkheir. He was awarded the NYCSEF First Award and the Intel ISEF award, which are the highest awards of the competition. Abouelkheir expressed his excitement, as winning an award and competing with others is something he would never forget.

"NYCSEF was a different experience that other science fairs I've been to. I also participated in the first and second round," he said. "I did not think I was going to become a finalist. It was really cool that I had one of the top projects."

Nomon Mohammad received the NYCSEF Second Award and the ASM Materials Education Foundation Award for his engineering project on studying different ways to use electrolytes to optimize energy storage in batteries. Mohammad described his experience at NYCSEF and believed that winning the award was a symbol of the hard work and he and his lab put into the project.

7 students arranged around a large lunar globe
Vivian Luu, Amna Aslam, Nomon Mohammad, Allan Nosov,
Mahmoud Abouelkeir, Minna Zeldin, Lilin Liu

"It was interesting to see other people's projects at the competition because it really represented their scientific exploration and their effort," he said. "I hope that the research program grows in the coming years because it's something that can change one's perspective on science."

Lilin Liu was one of the students to win the NYCSEF Third Award, but also won the Brooklyn Navy Yard Award for her project testing the effectiveness of x-ray fluorescence on lead contaminated vegetables.

"Winning an award is always beneficial. Not only does it make you feel good, but it's good for college too. I also received a paid internship because of this project – it's a good opportunity and can help me achieve more in the future," she said.

Allan Nosov, another student to receive the NYCSEF Second Award, did an earth and environmental science project called "Lapse rate analysis — model versus observations." Nosov felt honored to have competed with the other students and found the event to be enjoyable.

"Competing with the other students was fun because their projects were really exceptional. It was fun because I met new people from other schools and I think it was a good educational opportunity," he said.

The top 16 projects will continue on and represent New York City at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles, California during May 14–19. For more information on the finalists, visit nycsef.cuny.edu.

Written by Yumna Ahmed Qazi (Class of 2017).
Sara Omran (Class of 2019) and Shakila Islam (Class of 2018) also contributed to this article.
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 edition of Argus.

7 Midwood students receive NYCSEF awards; Mahmoud Abouelkheir receives ISEF award; Lilin Liu awarded Brooklyn Navy Yard internship

Posted on Sunday, April 2, 2017 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, internships, scholarships, and cash prizes. The top 16 projects go on to represent NYC at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles, California May 14–19.

NYCSEF logo

Midwood Science is proud to congratulate Mahmoud Abouelkheir for receiving the highest award of the competition — the Intel ISEF Award. Lilin Liu received an award from the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, which includes a paid internship. Allan Nosov and Nomon Mohammad also received special awards. Vivian Luu, Minna Zeldin, and Amna Aslam rounded out the list of award winners.

This year's Finalists worked in the Departments of Biology, Physics, and Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College; the offices of NOAA-CREST at City College; and the Flow Cytometry Core Facility at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Special thanks to all the mentors for their dedication and hard work.

NYCSEF First Award and Intel ISEF Award

ISEF logo
  • Mahmoud Abouelkheir (Microbiology)
    "Intra-microcolony spatial positioning affects antibiotic susceptibility in Neisseria gonorrhoeae."
    Mahmoud worked under the supervision of Dr. Nicolas Biais in the Department of Biology at Brooklyn College.

NYCSEF Second Award

  • Allan Nosov (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    "Lapse rate analysis — model versus observations."
    Allan worked under the supervision of Dr. Brian Vant-Hull in the office of NOAA-CREST at City College. Allan also won a NASA Earth System Science Award for a project that offers the greatest insight into the Earth's interconnected systems.
  • Nomon Mohammad (Engineering)
    "Anthraquinone as an effective electrolyte for redox flow batteries."
    Nomon worked under the supervision of Mr. Domenec Paterno and Dr. Sophia Suarez in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College. Nomon also received the ASM Materials Education Foundation Award for outstanding research related to materials science.

NYCSEF Third Award

Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation logo
  • Lilin Liu (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    "The effectiveness of x‑ray fluorescence on lead contaminated vegetables."
    Lilin worked under the supervision of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College. Lilin also won a Brooklyn Navy Yard Award for an exceptional project that promotes the Navy Yard's commitment to academic excellence and scientific inquiry.
  • Vivian Luu (Chemistry)
    "A variable temperature study of the conductivity and activation energy of aqueous solutions of VOSO4 in 1 M TFSA."
    Vivian worked under the supervision of Mr. Domenec Paterno and Dr. Sophia Suarez in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College.
  • Minna Zeldin (Medicine & Health Sciences)
    "Circuit amplification with DNA strand displacement cascade for the evolution of cell surfaces."
    Minna worked under the supervision of Dr. Sergei Rudchenko in the Flow Cytometry Core Facility at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
  • Amna Aslam (Microbiology)
    "Role of nucleolar stress factors in DNA damage response."
    Amna worked under the supervision of Dr. Anjana D. Saxena in the Department of Biology at Brooklyn College.

NYCSEF Showcases Young Scientists

Posted on Thursday, March 30, 2017 by for Media, NYCSEF.

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.

Group photo at the front of Shepard Hall

“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.

7 Midwood students advance to NYCSEF finals

Posted on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 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 2017. The top 130 projects were selected to advance to the Finals Round on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at the American Museum of Natural History. Midwood High School sent 7 students to this year’s competition under the big blue whale. Awards will be presented on Friday, March 31, 2017 in the Tribeca Performing Arts Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College 4:00–6:00 PM.

7 students arranged around a large lunar globe
Vivian Luu, Amna Aslam, Nomon Mohammad, Allan Nosov,
Mahmoud Abouelkeir, Minna Zeldin, Lilin Liu

  • Mahmoud Abouelkheir
    "Intra-microcolony spatial positioning affects antibiotic susceptibility in Neisseria gonorrhoeae." Mahmoud worked under the supervision of Dr. Nicolas Biais in the Department of Biology at Brooklyn College.
  • Amna Aslam
    "Role of nucleolar stress factors in DNA damage response." Amna worked under the supervision of Dr. Anjana D. Saxena in the Department of Biology at Brooklyn College.
  • Vivian Luu
    "A variable temperature study of the conductivity and activation energy of aqueous solutions of VOSO4 in 1 M TFSA." Vivian worked under the supervision of Mr. Domenec Paterno and Dr. Sophia Suarez in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College.
  • Lilin Liu
    "The effectiveness of x‑ray fluorescence on lead contaminated vegetables." Lilin worked under the supervision of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College.
  • Nomon Mohammad
    "Anthraquinone as an effective electrolyte for redox flow batteries." Nomon worked under the supervision of Mr. Domenec Paterno and Dr. Sophia Suarez in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College.
  • Allan Nosov
    "Lapse rate analysis — model versus observations." Allan worked under the supervision of Dr. Brian Vant-Hull in the office of NOAA-CREST at City College.
  • Minna Zeldin
    "Circuit amplification with DNA strand displacement cascade for the evolution of cell surfaces." Minna worked under the supervision of Dr. Sergei Rudchenko in the Department of Flow Cytometry at Hospital for Special Surgery.

The big blue whale suspended over the Millstein Hall of Ocean Science
Under the big blue whale

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.

Science brings students together at NYCSEF

Posted on Monday, March 9, 2015 by for Media, NYCSEF.

Anxious presenters stood next to their boards as they explained their projects to the public at the New York City Science and Engineering Fair on Sunday, March 1.

"Seeing all those projects were really helpful to me because I learned how the projects are being displayed and it teaches us things that can possibly benefit the world," said Matthew Chung ’16.

The New York City Science and Engineering Fair, NYCSEF, was held at City College in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan. This is known to be the largest science fair for New York high school students. Students from various high schools entered, including Brooklyn Technical High School, Edward R. Murrow High School, and Stuyvesant High School.

According to Mr. Glenn Elert, Science Research Coordinator, there were 450 projects, 578 students, and 120 became finalists. Nine of those finalists included Midwood’s Michael Divgun ’15, Tamneya Hauter ’15, Syeda HIllary ’15, Zainab Iqbal ’15, Sandra Lin ’15, Lucy Lin ’15, Monique Powell ’15, Emily Tse ’15, and Raymond Yu ’15.

Seniors in the Science Research program presented their projects in the science fair. The judges who viewed the presentations varied from Google employees to professors at universities.

"In the beginning, I was really nervous and scared, but as judges started coming and I presented to my first judge, I started to relax more," said Dina Deng ’15. "It was a fun experience because you got to see what other people researched and studied."

Mr. Elert also attended as a judge for the science fair.

"It’s like being a teacher, you’re just grading someone’s work," said Mr. Elert. "They had over 400 judges, which was the largest amount ever. There were so many judges that they ran out of judge IDs."

After the seniors were done presenting to the judges, the science fair was open for public viewing which the sophomores and juniors attended.

"I wanted them to see what the event was like before they went for real," Mr. Elert said, "Meaning going in for competing as opposed to just observing."

Michelle Do ’16 said, "It was a really nice and enriching experience because now that I know first hand what is happening, I will work on my project even more since I will be doing this same exact thing in a year from now."

Final rounds will take place at The American Museum of Natural History in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life on March 24. Experts in 14 different science and engineering fields will judge the finalists. Out of those finalists, around 20 students will be chosen to represent New York City in May at the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"I was astounded by the news that I got into the NYCSEF finals," said Yu. "I feel honored to be selected as a finalist and am excited for the upcoming final round."

The prizes for the winners of the final round include over $4,000,000 in scholarships and awards as well as an all expenses paid trip to Pittsburgh. However, above all else, these presentations showcased the hard work and passion of the students.

Iqbal said, "I attended because I wanted to present my project and hopefully go somewhere with it. Psychology can also be very underestimated sometimes because you usually see chemistry and physics, but not a lot of psychology."

Written by Christine Ly and Amanda Kwong.
This article originally appeared in the March 2015 edition of Argus.

NYCSEF Paperwork Monday

Posted on Friday, December 12, 2014 by for NYCSEF, Seniors.

Seniors. We will be assembling paperwork for NYCSEF on Monday, December 15, 2014. Report to room 155 sometime between 12:30 and 2:30 PM. If you are free earlier, meet me in the Research Room. All copies will be made at this time using the school’s heavy duty photocopiers in room 156A across the hall. I will bring large envelopes, staples, binder clips, and labels. You will bring your completed paperwork including …

See you Monday.

NYCSEF Signature Pages

Posted on Monday, December 8, 2014 by for NYCSEF, Seniors.

Seniors, I need your NYCSEF signature pages on or before Wednesday, December 10, 2014 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. I will sign part b (Science/Research Teacher Approval) for everyone. All of the paperwork is due for photocopying Monday, December 15, 2014.

Research students impress at NYSCEF Finals

Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 by for Media, NYCSEF.

Scholarships and awards worth up to $5,000 a year were presented to New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) finalists on March 27 at Hunter College, mere days after the NYCSEF finals round on March 25 at the American Museum of Natural History.

At the finals round, the long tables stretched across the hall in rows with projects on top. A enormous blue whale hung from the ceiling, and students waited patiently for the judges to walk around. A total of 100 projects were presented at the NYCSEF finals round from students all over New York City. 13 of those participants were Midwood students.

"Part of the fun of NYCSEF is to learn from other people’s projects, not just your own," said Raquel Hosein ’14.

The following seniors were awarded at the finals. Raquel Hosein and Allen Barbarovich won first place and second place was awarded to M. Tasnin Kabir. Third place was awarded to Yasmine Brown-Williams, Varvara Budetti and Alisha Bunting, Amy Cao and Ying Tong Guo, Stefanie Henry, Xin Yi Chen, Shadika Jahan and Kiara Nunez, and Tiffany Mai. These awards were given to projects that were outstanding.

"It’s a small reward for all the work we put in," said Allen Barbarovich.

Additional awards were also given out. Jelissa Castro ’14 and Samuel Genchikmakher ’14 received the Sarah and Morris Wiesenthal Award, which includes a $100 honorarium. The award is given to projects that bring awareness to the man-made and natural environment. Budetti and Bunting also received the Stockholm Junior Water Prize for their water related projects and were identified as NY State Semifinalists. Chen received the Association for Women Geoscientists Award and the Jenny Hunter Scholarship Award. She will receive a $1000 scholarship to Hunter College, renewable for 4 years. Hosein received the Frank W. and Jane J. Stahl Memorial Award for Technical Excellence, this award includes a $200 reward.

"The last three years have been really outstanding for us," said Glenn Elert, Science Research Coordinator.

Hosein and Barbarovich were chosen to be Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) alternates. 15 projects were selected from this year’s competition to continue on to ISEF in Los Angeles, from May 11-16.

According to Mr. Elert, there are still many more competitions left to compete in this year, including the New York City Academic, Cultural, Technological & Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), Google Science Fair, and Brooklyn College Science Day.

Saba Sakhi & Jacquelyne Gilman
This article originally appeared in the April 2014 edition of Argus.

2014 New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) Awards

Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2014 by for Awards, ISEF, NYCSEF.

NYCSEF First Award and Intel ISEF Alternate

  • Allen Barbarovich (Medicine & Health Sciences)
    Project: Link Between Systemic Cobalamin Deficiency and CNS Demyelination in a CD320/TCblR KO Mouse Model
    Mentor: Dr. Edward V. Quadros, SUNY Downstate, Department of Biochemistry
  • Raquel Hosein (Engineering) also received the Frank W. and Jane J. Stahl Memorial Award for Technical Excellence, which is awarded to students with engineering-related projects demonstrating technical excellence. This award includes a $200 honorarium.
    Project: Application of a Wireless Electrical Device for the Detection of Epilepsy
    Mentor: Dr. Jonathan Viventi, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

NYCSEF Second Award

  • M. Tasnin Kabir (Cellular & Molecular Biology)
    Project: Anti-cancer peptide PNC-27 associates with Mitochondria in Cancer Cells
    Mentor: Dr. Josef Michl, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Department of Pathology

NYCSEF Third Award

  • Yasmine Brown-Williams (Medicine & Health Sciences) also received the Society for In Vitro Biology Award for an outstanding project that exhibited the use of in vitro biology or tissue culture.
    Project: The Effect of a High-Fat Diet on Whole-Body and Muscle Insulin Resistance
    Mentor: Dr. Kathleen Axen, Brooklyn College, Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences
  • Varvara Budetti and Alisha Bunting (Earth & Environmental Sciences) also received the Stockholm Junior Water Prize and were identified as NY State Semifinalists for their exceptional water-related project.
    Project: The Effects of Macroalgae on Benthic Biodiversity in Jamaica Bay
    Mentor: Dr. Brett Branco, Brooklyn College, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Amy Cao and Ying Tong Guo (Chemistry)
    Project: Synthesis of iron triisopropylsilylated vinylketene complexes
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Long Island University, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Xin Yi Chen (Earth & Environmental Sciences) also received the Association for Women Geoscientists Award for exceptional projects by young female geoscientists and the Jenny Hunter Scholarship Award for outstanding projects and performance by a NYC DOE student. Xin Yi will receive a $1000 scholarship to Hunter College renewable for 4 years.
    Project: Fermented Food Waste and Plant Growth: A Greenhouse Study
    Mentor: Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Brooklyn College, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Stefanie Henry (Medicine & Health Sciences)
    Project: Promoting Repair of Damaged Corticospinal Tract
    Mentor: Dr. John (Jack) Martin, The City College of New York, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
  • Shadika Jahan and Kiara Nuñez (Medicine & Health Sciences)
    Project: Computer Vision Syndrome: A study on blink rates
    Mentor: Dr. Mark Rosenfield, SUNY College of Optometry, Department of Biological Sciences
  • Tiffany Mai (Microbiology)
    Project: Mammalian Cell Expression of M2e-HA1 Conserved Sequences of H5N1 Influenza Virus
    Mentor: Dr. Lanying Du, New York Blood Center, Viral Immunology Laboratory

Additional Awards

  • Jelissa Castro (Behavioral and Social Sciences) received the Sarah and Morris Wiesenthal Award for projects that promote the objectives and mission of Environmental Quest; to bring awareness to the man-made and natural environment. This award includes a $100 honorarium.
    Project: Barbie Dolls and Fire Trucks.
  • Samuel Genchikmakher (Animal Sciences) received the Sarah and Morris Wiesenthal Award for projects that promote the objectives and mission of Environmental Quest; to bring awareness to the man-made and natural environment. This award includes a $100 honorarium.
    Project: Effect of an Audience on the Calling Behavior of Monk Parakeets.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Brooklyn College, Department of Psychology

NYCSEF Winners prepare for Finals competition

Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 by for Media, NYCSEF.

Science projects varying from Microbiology to Behavioral and Social Sciences were displayed at this year’s preliminary round of New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) on Sunday, March 2 at The City College of New York. Students competed in the hopes of making it to the finals.

With a total of 13 senior students making it to finals, things are looking great for Midwood. Allen Barbarovich, Yasmine Brown-Williams, Varvara Budetti, Alisha Bunting, Amy Cao, Ying Tong Guo, Xin Yi Chen, Stefanie Henry, Raquel Hosein, Shadika Jahan, Kiara Nuñez, M. Tasnin Kabir, and Tiffany Mai are this year’s proud finalists.

"This is the largest science event in NYC," said Glenn Elert, Science Research coordinator.

NYCSEF not only allows students to present their projects, but also gives participants an opportunity to widen their knowledge of science by reading other projects.

Both students from Science Research and Social Science Research competed at the event. 482 projects (including teams) were presented and over 600 high school students participated. Projects that scored the top 20–25 percent in their category went on to the finals, which are about 100–150 projects.


Senior research students at the
NYCSEF Preliminaries

Dr. William, a judge, said projects are graded mainly on quality of work, creativity, and understanding of material. The grading follows a rubric and is on a 1–10 scale. Each project was reviewed by three judges, and the grade for each project is then averaged.

"I feel confident but nervous because I have to go against all those other contestants," said Ying Tong Guo ’14.

The Finals Round will be held on Tuesday, March 25 at The American Museum of Natural History, followed by an Award Ceremony two days later at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.

The next step is the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The top finalists get an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles, California, where they can receive awards and scholarships.

"I was in awe when I found out I won. I could not believe I made it to finals," said Alisha Bunting ’14.

Juniors from Science Research also went to NYCSEF to look at projects. It was mandatory for them to go and write about the projects that were of interest.

"Going to NYCSEF helped me because now I know how many other people I have to compete against next year," said Cindy Chee ’15. "I realized how much time and effort everyone has put into their projects for this event."

Saba Sakhi & Marisol Morales
This article originally appeared in the March 2014 edition of Argus.

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