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.