The Home of Midwood Science Research

Student Spotlight: Henry Hua

Posted on Monday, October 7, 2019 by for Public Affairs.

Student Research Spotlight: Henry Hua and Green Sea Urchins With plans for a career in marine biology, joining Dr. Kestrel Perez of St. Joseph's College in her work with green sea urchins was a no-brainer for Henry Hua '20.

Even so, the opportunity didn't exactly fall into his lap. Early into his junior year, Hua set out to find a lab that could aptly merge his enthusiasm for research with his love of the ocean.

"The mystery of the ocean is so intriguing because we know so little about it," said Hua. Specifically, it's the "Human-caused issues and their effect on marine organisms" that fuels his interest. But why bother? According to Hua, there are so many endangered species struggling to survive in the ocean, that we need to start looking for ways to help them. "I want to know what we can do about this," he said.

A lab in St. Joseph's College
Dr. Kestrel Perez's marine biology laboratory at St. Joseph's College, Brooklyn, New York

In the lab, Hua studies the effect of ocean acidification on green sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis). The primary focus of his research is to monitor their food consumption, and correlate his observations with the impact of decreasing pH on eating habits.

In a tank with conditions meant to mimic that of the acidifying ocean, Hua claims that he typically observes one of two trends: "Either the sea urchins will eat more than usual because they're trying to acquire as much nutrients as possible while they still can, or they'll eat far less than usual because they want to save energy by not processing food".

Such research explains how environmental pressures can trigger fluctuations in certain species' eating habits that have the potential to disrupt entire food webs, and thus ecosystems (a concept referred to as a positive feedback loop).

Inherent to Hua's understanding of his work and it's in-situ repercussions is his involvement with Midwood's Ocean Science Team .

For two years, Hua's been apart of the academic group that closely studies the ocean, for competition at the Bay Scallop Regional Ocean Science Bowl. According to Hua, "Prior knowledge from Ocean Science has helped me greatly with my experiments, like monitoring sea water conditions". Not only this, but the rigorous, multidisciplinary Ocean Science curriculum—which combines aspects of marine biology, physical oceanography and environmental science—allows Hua to situate his research in the greater context of addressing the ocean's biggest threats.

"I feel like I'm better prepared to do research in the future, and more familiar with marine biology procedures that can help me further investigate issues like ocean acidification," said Hua.

Even in ways beyond knowing the material, Hua feels that his experience working for Dr. Perez has readied him for the coming years of college research; "I've learned the importance of keeping meticulous notes, documenting EVERYTHING, making enough time for it, and maintaining a consistent schedule". More pressingly, though, for anyone looking to get involved in research, Hua stresses "Find a lab that you enjoy working in, that's the most important part.''

Alyssa Kattan
Class of 2020

Science research update

Posted on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 by for ACT-SO, Awards, Brooklyn College, Media, NYCSEF, Science Fair.

To celebrate the last two days of the academic year, here's all the news that happened at Midwood Science in the past two months. Have a great summer and see you in September.

Fizza Nayab and Emily Movsumova win at 2019 Brooklyn College Science Day

Posted on Friday, May 3, 2019 by for Awards, Brooklyn College.

3 Midwood students awarded gold medals at 2019 NYC ACT-SO

Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 by for ACT-SO, Awards.

2019 Science Fair Abstract Book (and more from the past)

Posted on Monday, May 27, 2019 by for Science Fair.

2019 Science Fair in action

Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 by for Science Fair.

Alyssa Kattan represents Midwood High School and Brooklyn College at the 47th annual MARM

Posted on Friday, May 31, 2019 by for Publications.

Midwood Science students volunteer at the 2019 World Science Festival

Posted on Monday, June 3, 2019 by for Everyone.

2019 Midwood Science Fair Awards

Posted on Friday, June 7, 2019 by for Awards, Science Fair.

NYCSEF competitors strive for success

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 by for Media, NYCSEF.

Research students debut findings at Science Fair

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 by for Media, Science Fair.

Research students debut findings at Science Fair

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 by for Media, Science Fair.

May 30th will be a exciting day for many of the sophomore research kids. The science fair will be taking place all over the third floor of the annex, starting at 3:30 pm and ending at 6:00 pm. There, student projects will be judged by five different judges.

All sophomore research students must make a project, and they are given about a month to work on it. While working as a team or individually, they can choose their own topic, with approval from a teacher. There are under 100 contestants, but about 120 judges. The judges are a mix of alumni, juniors and seniors in AP Research, and a handful of teachers.

As a bonus, there will be free food, Mr. Glenn Elert, a physics teacher, said, adding, "Everyone likes that. Free food is good."

Mr. Elert is also the teacher who compiles the scores from the judges into a spreadsheet. From there, the winner, runners up, and honorable mentions are calculated based on their scores.

Student standing next to her poster talking to a judge
Maham Ghori '21 explains her research results to Dr. Trevor Stokes, biology teacher and judge for the science fair. Photo Credit: Justin Chow.

Sophomore Aaliyah Gordon's project involves the cleanliness of water and the effect of boiling. She said, "I chose this project because my parents boil water instead of using tap, so I was wondering if that was effective. They also buy cases of bottled water to drink, so I was wondering if it has little to no bacteria. There is a stigma in America that tap water is bad and bottled water is good, and I wanted to test this for myself."

Though the teachers don't choose the project topics, they do help guide the students in their work.

Jeanine Jardine '21 said, "My research teacher Mrs. [Shaniece] Mosley has worked so hard to support us. She constantly gives us ideas and advice to make our experiment better."

Ms. Mosley, a chemistry and research teacher, said, "I've got some very inventive projects this year, but I won't say specifically [who she thinks will win]. I think some great things will come out of my class."

Two student standing in front of their poster
Jaden Thomas '21 and Tasnia Shadat '21 tested the effect of color on the
efficiency of water purification. Photo Credit: Justin Chow.

Some projects have presented unexpected challenges. Sophomore Lucie Lim's project dealt with how the fat percentage of cheese could affect bacteria.

"Since we are making our own cheeses at home, the experiment is flawed," she said. "We don't know how to make cheese, so we could disrupt the controlled experiment. I now have a newfound appreciation for people who make cheese."

And sometimes, science just stinks, literally.

Gordon said, "I absolutely despise the smell of growing bacteria. It is horrendous, but being able to see what's inside of my water is fascinating."

Overall, the experience has been a valuable one.

"What I like about the experiment is getting a taste of how a lab works and what we do in a lab," said Lim.

The fair itself is on May 30, and the award ceremony will most likely take place June 14.

"May the best project win," said Mr. Elert.

Written by Hillary Michel (Class of 2020)
This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Argus.

NYCSEF competitors strive for success

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 by for Media, NYCSEF.

Surely, robotic body parts only exist in "The Terminator." There is no such thing as a real cyborg, right?

Wrong! As Midwood's very own Rana Mohamed '19 can tell you, robotic body parts are real. Mohamed won first place at the New York City Engineering Science Fair (NYCSEF) for her robotic passive walker.

NYSCEF is a competition where students from all over New York City come together and present scientific projects they've worked on all year. Students send in a research paper, and about 450 projects are selected to be presented at the science fair. Among the 450 projects, only 120 are selected to move on to the final round.

Midwood had 32 students selected to compete in the competition, and five moved on to the finals. Along with Mohamed's first place win, Annabel Xie '19 and Larissa Brijmohan '19 came in second place, and Fizza Nayab '19 and Maryam Khan '19 came in third place.

Mohamed's invention was a step towards the future of biomedical engineering.

"I built an actuated passive walker that mimics the movement of exoskeletons used by paraplegics, people who are paralyzed from waist down," said Mohamed. "I made this walker to conduct energy expenditure experiments to extend the battery life of my walker. Essentially, if I am able to figure out which variables can decrease energy consumption, I can project my findings onto an actual exoskeleton."

Traditional photo of a student standing in front of her poster.
Rana Mohamed '19 hopes to project her findings onto an actual exoskeleton.

The passive walker has a promising future. It can be used to help people paralyzed from the waist down or veterans with lost legs. They could use the passive walker to walk normally.

Mohamed is currently studying how to extend the battery life and lower the weight of the walker to make it possible to attach it to the skeleton of a human. She will be attending New York University (NYU) Tandon this coming fall to continue her research in biomedical engineering.

The science research class helped various students branch out into different fields they were interested in and get hands-on experience.

"You start research as a sophomore, and you do foundational work like how to write papers and how to write an argument," said Mr. Glenn Elert said. "Sophomores do the sophomore science fair, and juniors try to find internships in labs across the city to work there for about a year. Then they enter competitions in the fall of senior year."

Xie described her second place win as "an honor."

"I studied [and] did field work on monk parakeets, Myiopsitta monachus," said Xie. "I'm in a psychology lab. I worked with the ArcGIS, which is a system that allows us to map things, put data layers onto a map, and perform spatial analysis."

Xie did research and mapped out monk parakeet nests. Monk parakeets are small bright green parrots that can be relatively noisy creatures.

"Since monk parakeets are often viewed as a noise nuisance, my research can help inform people about where monk parakeets tend to nest so people who are not fond of noises would know to move away from these areas," said Xie. "If people like the noises, they can move closer to the birds."

This research gives the real estate market a new perspective on property value. Depending on the buyer, knowledge on where the monk parakeets are nesting can change the buyer's view of the property.

Whether its building passive walkers or mapping the nesting of monk parakeets, the future is bright for Midwood's NYCSEF competitors.

Written by Armin Pasukanovic (Class of 2020)
This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Argus.

2019 Midwood Science Fair Awards

Posted on Friday, June 7, 2019 by for Awards, Science Fair.

And the winners are…

1st Place

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Nichole Gutierrez
The Effect of Varying Magnetic Fields on Planarian Regeneration
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Tiffany Ng & Jacklyn Vu
The Viability of Ferrofluids on Oil Spills

2nd Place

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Aliyeh Khan
Impact of Gene Expression on Effectiveness of Transcription Factors
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Nitu Farhin & Malayka Mudassar
Constructing an Artificial Pancreas
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Jessica Serheyeva
Environmental Pollutants and Their Effect on Ivy Plant Transpiration Rates

3rd Place

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Ivy Chen & Emily Chen
Desalination vs. Salt Water
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Walter Rosales
The effect of various metals on electrical conductivity

Honorable Mention

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Jenane Benhalima & Lyna Ammi
The Effect of pH on the Regeneration of Planaria
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Alina Ongeyberg
The Electrolyte Challenge
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Zainab Ishfaq & Nicole Kravets
Best and Safest Paint Remover?
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Harmain Munir
Man vs. Nature: Comparing the Effectiveness of Different Antacids
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Michelle Tcherevatenko & Jeanine Jourdain
Beasts of the Meat
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Mohinur Abdullaeva
pH vs. Bacteria
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Christina Lamar & Ellen Mokhevishhvili
Filthy Phones

Bonus Photos

Trophies about to be awarded
Trophies waiting to be awarded
Alumni and teacher
Almas Shafiq (2014), Mr Elert, Chris Ayala (2014)
Research teachers posing with a skelton
Mr. Elert, Ms. Katzoff, Mr. A. Skeleton, Ms. Goldstein, Ms. Mosley

3 Midwood students awarded gold medals at 2019 NYC ACT-SO

Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 by for ACT-SO, Awards.

On Saturday, April 13, 2019 Midwood students traveled once again to George Wingate High School in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn for the 31st annual New York City Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics. ACT-SO, as it is usually known, is an "Olympics of the Mind" where high school students compete for medals in STEM, humanities, fine arts, performing arts, and business categories.

2019 saw Midwood High School students compete and medal in a diverse range of categories. Return gold medal winners Rana Mohamed and Kiandra Peart lead the team — Rana in Engineering and Photography, Kiandra in Entrepreneurship and Sculpture. Chad Chasteau brought home gold in Instrumental Classical Music. Another 12 silver and bronze medals were collected by 10 Midwood students in Medicine and Health, Earth and Space Science, Biology and Microbiology, Spoken Poetry, Written Poetry, and Traditional Dance. Awards were announced on Monday, May 6, 2019 at St. Francis College in Downtown Brooklyn.

Gold medalists will be competing at the National ACT-SO from July 20–24. The National ACT-SO is a part of the 110th Annual NAACP National Convention, which is being held this year at the COBO Center in Detroit, Michigan. The five-day conference will bring together over 10,000 people including NAACP members and delegates from across the country. Rana, Kiandra, and Chad are sure to have an exciting time.

Gold Medal Winners

  • Rana Mohamed won a Gold Medal in Engineering for her project "Energy efficient design for a partially actuated passive walker". Rana worked under the supervision of Mr. William Zhiren Peng and Dr. Joo H. Kim in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Rana also received a Gold Medal in Photography for her work entitled "Asymmetric reality".
  • Kiandra Peart won a Gold Medal in Entrepreneurship for her independent business "Kustoms By Ki" and a Bronze Medal in Sculpture for a piece entitled "Taj Mahal".
  • Chad Chasteau won a Gold Medal in Instrumental Classical Music for his piano performance of "The girl with the flaxen hair" by Claude Debussy.

Silver Medal Winners

  • Ashley Chen won a Silver Medal in Medicine and Health for her project "The effect of interictal discharges on hippocampal oscillations and memory formation: A prospective memory study". Ashley worked under the supervision of Dr. Beth Leeman-Markowski in the Department of Neurology at NYU Langone Medical Center.
  • Basimah Zahid and Zuha Ahmed won a Silver Medal in Medicine and Health for their project "Child maltreatment, adult attachment styles, and emotional dysregulation". Basimah and Zuha worked under the supervision of Dr. Sara Chiara Haden in the Department of Psychology at Long Island University.
  • Anne Mania won a Silver Medal in Instrumental Classical Music for her piano performance of "Sonata in D Major" by Joseph Haydn and a Bronze Medal for her Original Essay entitled "Nuclear Weapons".

Bronze Medal Winners

  • Susana Tzunun Yax won a Bronze Medal in Earth and Space Science for her project "Analyzing the impact of Dendrobaena veneta earthworms on the bioavailability of heavy metals in soil" Susana and her partner Amy Chen worked under the supervision of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College.
  • Kenny Pierre Louis and Miguel Rendon won a bronze medal in Medicine and Health for their project "Sleep deprivation and stress: Their troubling connection in adolescents". Kenny and Miguel worked under the supervision of Dr. Steven Anolik in the Department of Psychology at St. Francis College.
  • Nursat Jahan won a Bronze Medal in Biology and Microbiology for her project "Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) audience effect on stick manipulation during nest construction". Nursat worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso in the Department of Psychology at Brooklyn College.
  • Serena Duran won a Bronze Medals in Spoken Poetry her work entitled "Repeat" and a second Bronze Medal in Written Poetry for her piece entitled "Dusk".
  • Kamille Shivwkumar won a Bronze Medal in Traditional Dance for her performance entitled "Pinga".

Fizza Nayab and Emily Movsumova win at 2019 Brooklyn College Science Day

Posted on Friday, May 3, 2019 by for Awards, Brooklyn College.

Brooklyn College Science Research Day is an annual event that showcases the work done by students with research mentors at Brooklyn College and other CUNY schools. This year, around 125 students presented their research across 14 categories in STEM, with over 50 faculty members and students from the college serving as judges. First, second, and third place prizes were awarded in each of the three divisions: high school, undergraduate and graduate.

Two of the three awards at the high school level went to Midwood High School students. Fizza Nayab in the Biomimetic and Cognitive Robotics Lab (BCR) placed second and Emily Movsumova in the Mechano-microbiology Lab placed third. First place went to another member of BCR — Maya Tariq of George W. Hewlett High School in Nassau County. Congratulations to all.

Award winners: Emily Movsumova and Fizza Nayab
Award winners: Emily Movsumova and Fizza Nayab

Maya Tariq (George W. Hewlett High School)
Project: How monk parakeets choose where to live: The importance of cherry trees.
Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College

Fizza Nayab
Project: Monk to monk communication: Do monk parakeet calls influence conspecific behaviors?
Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College

Emily Movsumova
Project: Unknown Streptococcus strain specific to killing and inhibiting growth of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria elongata.
Mentor: Dr. Nicolas Biais, Department of Biology, Brooklyn College

Group photo
An unexpectedly large group photo. Midwood Science students are known for their
ability to respond quickly and in amazing numbers when the call to action is sounded.

5 Midwood students take awards at NYCSEF finals. Robots, parrots, and mice lead the way.

Posted on Monday, March 25, 2019 by for Awards, NYCSEF.

Group photo of the finalists next to a large moon globe
Maryam Khan, Rana Mohamed, Annabel Xie,Larissa Brijmohan, Fizza Nayab

NYCSEF First Award

  • Rana Mohamed (Engineering)
    Project: Energy efficient design for a partially actuated passive walker.
    Mentor: Mr. William Zhiren Peng and Dr. Joo H. Kim, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NYU Tandon School of Engineering
    Rana also received the Naval Science Award from the Office of Naval Research.

NYCSEF Second Award

  • Larissa Brijmohan (Animal Sciences)
    Project: The effect of an audience on monk parakeet nest construction effort.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Annabel Xie (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) prefer to nest in greenspace in New York City compared to other types of land.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College

NYCSEF Third Award

  • Fizza Nayab (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Monk to monk communication: Do monk parakeet calls influence conspecific behaviors?
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Maryam Khan (Behavioral Neuroscience)
    Project: Defining the mechanisms of memory associated neural ensembles in the hippocampus.
    Mentor: Dr. Juan Marcos Alarcon, Department of Pathology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Group photo of the finalists next to a statue of Theodore Roosevelt Blue whale model, Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, American Museum of Natural History

NYCSEF 'periodic table' logo

4 Midwood students present for the 2019 Eastern Psychological Association Annual Meeting

Posted on Friday, March 1, 2019 by for Publications.

EPA logo

The 90th meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) was held at the Times Square Marriott Marquis Hotel over the weekend of February 28–March 2. Like most conventions, the EPA features guest speakers, workshops, and vendor booths relevant to professionals. The EPA also runs poster sessions where undergraduate and graduate students present their research projects.

This year Midwood was proud to send two teams of high school researchers to present alongside the college students. Seniors Basimah Zahid and Zuha Ahmed presented in the Clinical Psychology session. Juniors Serena Duran and Naffisat Atanda with their mentor Dr. Laura Egan presented in the Cognitive Psychology session.

The Eastern Psychological Association is the oldest of the regional psychological associations in the United States. Its purpose is to advance the science and profession of psychology through the dissemination of professional information.

Basimah Zahid, Zuha Ahmed Page from the abstract book
  • Basimah Zahid and Zuha Ahmed (Clinical Psychology)
    Project: Child maltreatment, adult attachment styles, and emotional dysregulation.
    Mentor: Dr. Sara Chiara Haden, Department of Psychology, Long Island University
Dr. Laura Egan, and Serena Duran, Naffisat Atanda Page from the abstract book
  • Serena Duran and Naffisat Atanda (Cognitive Psychology)
    The impact of ambiguous threat on behavioral inhibition in social anxiety
    Mentor: Dr. Laura Egan, Department of Psychology, St. Francis College
Empty ballroom Full ballroom

Midwood seniors capture half the awards at 2019 St. Joseph’s College Poster Session, Rana Mohamed takes first place

Posted on Saturday, February 9, 2019 by for Awards, St. Joseph's.

St. Joseph's College coat of arms

Saturday, February 9, 2019 was the 23rd Annual Research Poster Session for High School Students at St. Joseph's College New York. This event is open to all high school students in any field of scientific research and is sponsored by the Chemical Education Committee of the New York Section of the American Chemical Society. Midwood Science students collected half the awards this year with Hudson County, New Jersey's Union City High School and High Tech High School sharing the other half. Midwood's Rana Mohamed and her "passive walker" robot took First Place.

First Place

  • Rana Mohamed
    Project: Energy monitoring systems for mobile robotic systems.
    Mentor: Mr. William Zhiren Peng and Dr. Joo H. Kim, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Honorable Mention

  • Ahmad Choudhry and Daniel Gaft
    Project: Synthesis and cycloadditions of vinylketene iron (0) complexes using 2,4,6-triisopropylbenzenesulfonyl hydrazones.
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Long Island University
  • Andrew Korbin, Humayara Karim, and Yenny Huang
    Project: Phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated soils using Brassica juncea.
    Mentor: Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College
  • Emily Movsumova
    Project: Unknown Streptococcus strain specific to killing and inhibiting growth of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria elongata.
    Mentor: Dr. Nicolas Biais, Department of Biology, Brooklyn College
  • Maryam Khan
    Project: Defining the mechanisms of memory associated neural ensembles in the hippocampus.
    Mentor: Dr. Juan Marcos Alarcon, Department of Pathology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Nathan Reder
    Project: Analysis of writing quality by automated scoring systems to identify factors to support poor college writers.
    Mentor: Dr. Mark Lauterbach, Department of Early Childhood and Art Education, Brooklyn College
Individual photos by Eva Lai. Group photo courtesy of SJC High School Poster Session on Flickr.
Student standing beside their posterboard Students standing beside their posterboard Students standing beside their posterboard
Group photo on stage
Student standing beside their posterboard Student standing beside their posterboard Student standing beside their posterboard

5 Midwood students compete at the 2019 JSHS semifinals, Ahmad Choudry takes 3rd place in chemistry

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2019 by for Awards, JSHS.

JSHS logo

Sunday, February 3, 2019 was the 11th occurrence of the New York City Metro Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) at York College in Queens. JSHS is a program sponsored by the US Department of Defense to promote original STEM research and experimentation at the high school level. Select students present their findings to their peers and a panel of expert judges at regional symposia held across the US.

The NYC Metro JSHS only accepted about 120 projects for this year's competition. 5 Midwood students representing 4 projects made it to the Semifinals round with the team of Ahmad Choudhry and Daniel Gaft taking Third Place in Chemistry.

Third Place

  • Ahmad Choudhry and Daniel Gaft (Chemistry)
    Project: Synthesis and cycloadditions of vinylketene iron (0) complexes using 2,4,6-triisopropylbenzenesulfonyl hydrazones.
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Long Island University

Semifinalists

  • Rana Mohamed (Engineering)
    Project: Energy monitoring systems for mobile robotic systems.
    Mentor: Mr. William Zhiren Peng and Dr. Joo H. Kim, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NYU Tandon School of Engineering
  • Fizza Nayab (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Monk to monk communication: Do monk parakeet calls influence conspecific behaviors?
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Annabel Xie (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) prefer to nest in greenspace in New York City compared to other types of land.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
Group photo on a balcony
Group photo in a lecture hall Group photo in a lecture hall

And the winners of the 2018 Midwood Science Fair are…

Posted on Friday, June 8, 2018 by for Awards, Science Fair.

1st Place

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Alyssa Kattan
The Ability of Chiral Glucose Molecules to Rotate the Plane of Polarized Light
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Diyora Mullaeva & Sally Gao
The effect of climate on the sustainability of solar and battery powered cars

2nd Place

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Naffisat Atanda
What Birth Order Says about your Average
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Duha Mousa
Conformity in Midwood High School
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Sammi Lin & Vivian Chong
The Effect of Breaks on Learning New Information

3rd Place

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Jaylene Cruz
RFID: Blocking Radio Frequency Identification Signals
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Serena Duran & Victoria Habbchy
The Effect of Substrate Concentration on the Activity of the Enzyme Catalase

Honorable Mention

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Nadzeya Fliaha
The Relative Probability of Banking a Basketball
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Sarah Sookoo & Idrees Ilahi
pH and Arsenic Correlation in Baby Formula
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Jubaida Mehak & Zahra Mehdi
Fermentation on the Production of Biofuels
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Jessica Lin & Lameya Rahman
Corrosion of Steel and pH
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Noor Mohammad & Alana Neria
Ladybugs vs. X-ray Radiation
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Tanisa Rahman & Nolani Carter
Makeshift Polarimeter: Chiral Molecules and Angle of Polarization

Science fair demonstrates students’ excellence

Posted on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 by for Media, Science Fair.

The stage was set for sophomore researchers as they presented their projects for all research students to see during the annual science fair.

Even though the science fair was for the sophomores of AP Capstone, it was mandatory for juniors and seniors who had previously taken AP Capstone to attend.

Juniors and seniors had a job to fulfill. The job of utmost importance was that of a judge. Some students prepared the tables so that food could be placed on them.

"The science fair was the biggest ever," said Mr. Glenn Elert, the research teacher. "We had more seniors this year than last year. We had more alumni than ever before. Normally teachers are substitute judges. We had so many judges that we didn't need any teachers to judge."

Not all projects are graded the same. Depending on whether or not they worked alone or with someone else, the total points someone could receive differed. For example, if you worked alone, the presentation would be scored out of 60 points. However, if you worked with a partner, the presentation would be scored out of 70 points.

The topics that students chose weren't just random topics. Some students chose a certain topic because of their love for a certain class or the topic itself.

"I have AP Chemistry, and I want to put what I learn into use. I want to show them that AP Chemistry matters," said Alyssa Kattan '20, who did her project on the ability of chiral glucose molecules to polarize light.

Ihtsham Chaudhry said '20, "I had great interest in my science fair topic on the regeneration process of planarian worms, and it helped me develop new knowledge on a planarian worm that I didn't know before."

While some students decided to work in pairs, others decided to work alone.

"I decided to work alone. I am kind of a perfectionist. By working alone, it is easy to maintain my standards," said Kattan.

Jennifer Wu '20 said, "I find that when I work alone, I exert more choice on what I want to put on the board."

Not all students had the equipment needed to do the project. As a result, they turned to the school for the necessary equipment.

"It was a bit difficult because I didn't have the right equipment," said Jennifer Wu. "I didn't have an electronic balance net and beakers. So I did the experiment at school. All I had to do was ask the science department so that I could do the work in school."

Getting the presentation ready for the science fair wasn't an easy job. It required a lot of time and effort. Luckily, AP Capstone, including its teachers and students, were there to help each other out.

"AP Capstone is a phenomenal program that allow students to pursue scientific interests that many other schools cannot provide," said Armin Pasukanovic '20.

Kathy Mania wearing orange traffic safety cones Group photo of seniors and teachers Alumni judges from the classes of 2014 and 2016

Kattan said, "I have never done a presentation for a science fair before. Teachers and students from research helped me navigate the process step by step. They were always there for when I had questions to ask."

The judges were very impressed by the work sophomores put into their presentations.

"I think the presentations they made are very advanced. Their presentations have a very meaningful purpose and can help change the world. Sophomores, even though they are only 14 or 15, have a lot of potential. They are also very organized," said Neslani Johnson '19.

Bareera Abid '19 said, "It was interesting to see what sophomores did. It was new and unique."

The science fair didn't consist of only Midwood students and staff. Midwood alumni were also there. Some of them were even judges for the science fair.

"This is my first time in two years coming back to Midwood," said Laila Akallal, an alumni who graduated from Midwood in 2016. "It is great to see how much the research program has grown."

Written by Cindy Wang and Rubhiyah Chaudhry (Class of 2019).
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 edition of Argus.

Hornets take home prizes in Brooklyn College science fair

Posted on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 by for Brooklyn College, Media.

After a lot of research, high school and college students presented their findings at Brooklyn College Science day held on May 4 at the Brooklyn College Student Center.

Every spring, students from different communities gather to celebrate Science Day. From high school students to graduate students in universities. The Brooklyn College website states that students competed and showcased 125 projects in 14 different fields of science with over 50 faculty members as judges. Some of the fields included Psychology, Biology, Robotics, and Chemistry. In each field first, second, and third place is awarded to students with the best project.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "This gives us an opportunity to contemplate the importance of scholarship in the science. All of our students deserve a robust and inspiring STEM education. Not only to prepare for jobs of the future, but develop skills to make them better students, employees, and citizens." 

Seven Midwood students from the Biomimetic and Cognitive Robotics Laboratory (BCR Lab) who worked with professor and Psychology teacher Dr. Frank Grasso, presented their projects. These students are Kevin Chen '19, Larissa Brijmohan '19, Fizza Nayab '19, Annabel Xie '19, Aushna Saleem '18, Hafsa Fatima '18, Nila Mirza '18 and Soanne Saint Victor '18. The students were supervised by Mr. Glenn Elert and Ms. Susan Katzoff.

"It was an amazing opportunity to present in front of college professors and being able to experience public speaking as a junior," said Nayab. She presented a team project with Brijmohan on how Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) influence conspecific behaviors.

Each of these students was judged by two judges and were asked many questions, such as how the results from their project can benefit society.

Group photo under a flowering tree
Susan Katzoff (teacher), Fizza Nayab, Glenn Elert (teacher), Hafsa Fatima, Soanne Saint Victor, Joyce Chow, Aushna Saleem, Naila Mirza, Ivy Li, Kevin Chen, Beien Lin, Kathy Mania, Larissa Brijmohan, Annable Xie, Nursat Jahan

"I was very nervous while presenting to the judges and the people that came to view my project, but I was very surprised when the judges didn't really ask me many questions," said Xie. She presented a project that determined whether Monk Parakeets had a preference for the residential area or the urban area.

After all the presentations were judged, the scores were tallied up while the presenters and faculty enjoyed an amazing lunch. Midwood took 2 out of 3 wins for the high school division breaking a clean sweep streak (2014-2017). The first place winner was Chen who presented his project called "Aggression on the beach: Crowding increases aggression levels on fiddler crabs (Uca pugilator) colonies."

"I was shocked and was really thrilled when my name was announced," said Chen. "My hard work and patience paid off and I thank Dr. Frank Grasso and the BCR lab members for helping me gather my data."

Fatima earned second place with a project called "The effect of temperature on the frequency of vocalization of Myiopsitta Monachus." The third place winner was Kemal Aziz '18, from Staten Island Tech, with the project called "Cooling through quantum mechanics: Magnon-based description of magnetocaloric effects in La-Fe-Si, CoMnSi, and gadolinium."

Mr. Glenn Elert stated, "Brooklyn College Day is always good. Midwood constantly performs and it's nice to meet with other professors from different high schools and colleges. My advice for students who want to participate next year is to just do it. Give it a shot." 

As for the future, these research students are continuing their projects and building on to them with help of their lab professors and research teacher Mr. Elert, so that they can be ready to present at the NYCSEF in 2019.

"A student is not going to perform well in competitions if he/she just does a presentation, they will get better by gaining experience with real judges, where they ask you questions and other procedures like in the real event," said Mr. Elert.

Written by Nursat Jahan and Daniel Gaft (Class of 2019).
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 edition of Argus.

Young scientists sweep ACT-SO

Posted on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 by for ACT-SO, Media.

For the first time, Midwood High School entered the New York City Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) and won a medal in each of the five categories: STEM, humanities, performing arts, fine arts, and business. This year's ACT-SO awards were announced on Monday, May 7, at St. Francis College in Downtown Brooklyn.

Previously known as the "Olympics of the Mind," ACT-SO is a youth program of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Its goal is to give recognition to students who demonstrate academic, scientific, and artistic achievement. Those who participate in the competition must enter in a project under the five categories.

The winners received medals and cash awards starting at $300.

"This year's competition was great," said Mr. Glenn Elert, a physics and research teacher here at Midwood. "We did really well."

He and Ms. Susan Katzoff, a chemistry and research teacher, served as mentors and offered the students help with their posters, presentation skills, and paperwork.

While only 15 students entered the competition, Midwood won a total of 16 medals: five gold, three silver, and eight bronze. Those who won gold, such as Rana Mohamed '19, Kiandra Peart '19, and Calvin Huynh '18, will be going on to participate in Nationals this July. It will be a three day event taking place at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas where they will be competing against over 8,000 students from other states.

"I am extremely excited for Nationals because it'll be a new experience and I will get the opportunity to meet people from all over the country who are also researching and doing amazing things," said Mohamed.

Kiandra Peart
Kiandra Peart and her entrepreneurship project "Kustoms by Ki".

Peart earned the most medals: a gold in Entrepreneurship for her self-made business Kustoms By Ki, another gold in Poetry for her piece titled "The Nation", and a bronze medal in sculpture.

For Peart's independent business, Kustoms By Ki, she customizes various things such as sneakers, wallets, and purses. To enter this project into the competition, she had to create an 18 page business plan to show marketing strategies such as inventory, cash flow, and two year projections. She then presented the display of her work to a judge who graded her on her content.

"I know the competition will be tougher, but I'm ready for it," said Peart. "Going to Nationals makes me feel like all my hard work paid off."

Mohamed brought home a gold in Engineering for her project of decreasing the energy consumption within a robotic system with the implementation of an energy monitoring system. She used two types of robotic systems: a two degree of freedom robotic arm that she varied the voltage and frequency on to see how those conditions affected the energy consumption, and a passive walker that she will use to vary the stop length and step frequency to see how those conditions also affect the energy consumption.

"Winning gold was very rewarding because I felt recognized for all my hard work," said Mohamed. "I worked on my research for over ten months."

Huynh entered his project, "Conditions that promote the sub-cellular migration of nucleolin (NCL) to the cell surface," under the category of Microbiology. The nucleolin is a protein that migrates to the cell surface in cases of cancer, HIV, and infection. In his project, he tried to find the mechanisms that were responsible for allowing the protein (nucleolin) to migrate. He found that only full-length, non-cleaved variations of the protein are allowed to migrate to the cell surface.

"I'm excited to be going to Nationals in Texas and I'm proud to represent NYC Microbiology," said Huynh. "But I'm also a bit nervous because I know that competitions on the National level are notoriously difficult."

Still group photo
2018 ACT-SO Gold Medallists: Kiandra Peart, Calvin Huynh, and Saba Iqbal on the far right.

As he conducted this research, he was supervised by Dr. Anjana D. Saxena in the Department of Biology at Brooklyn College.

"Winning gold was great because it really was a chance for me to gain some recognition for my research," Huynh added.

Saba Iqbal '18 won a gold medal in the Earth & Space science category for her project on indicating an atmospheric mercury pollution source using moss as a biomonitor. She conducted her project at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she began to intern for her research project around November of 2016. There, her research mentor, Dr. Erin Mann, helped her throughout the two years she was there and made sure everything went smoothly.

"I honestly didn't think I would win because there were so many other great projects there as well," said Iqbal. "Nevertheless, I was really happy."

Although Iqbal received first prize, she will not be attending Nationals due to college orientations and summer classes.

"I'd like more people to participate next year," said Mr. Elert. "Anyone should enter."

Written by Mohima Oishe and Pretee Amin (Class of 2019).
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 edition of Argus.

Students attend STEAM conference

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 by for Media.

Midwood students joined other schools in District 22 on April 27 to learn about everything science as well as showcasing their scientific accomplishments during the third annual, "Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Symposium."

STEAM is a movement that combines all the elements it represents to foster critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration by applying all the disciplines together. Previously, STEAM was deemed STEM, however as the 21st century emerged, art and design became influential and transformed our economy as much as technology and science did in the previous century. According to Slate’s article, "STEAM Rising" by Anna Feldman, "STEAM says we can be better engineers by learning how to think artistically, and we can re-engage artists with science by letting them see how STEM can work in the arts. It’s infinitely more exciting, especially in an increasingly interdisciplinary and digital world." The addition of arts to the movement enhances the objective of success in the scientific fields due to children having greater imaginations and widespread ideas due to their artistic side.

The symposium was held in Brooklyn Borough Hall and held many different events. Superintendent Michael Prayor made opening remarks followed by two keynote addresses by Edward R. Murrow student Ebonie Reavis ’18 and Yonee Thevenot from STEM Kids NYC. The rest of the day was filled with gallery walks of student projects, live performances, panel discussions, and hands-on activities. "Black Girls Code", a non-profit organization that introduces programming and coding to young women of color so they can become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures, hosted one of these activities.

This was a symposium highlighting the power of women in STEAM, thus having many activities circulating about women’s role in the sciences. Many lady Hornets attended.

Aushna Saleem ’18 stated, "The symposium was really fun and inspiring. It was really encouraging to see successful women presenting their success in their field as well as inspiring young women like to do the same. Presenting my project was also very uplifting. The judges were almost all teachers, and they were very nice and gave me advice pertaining to my field."

Assistant principal of science, Ms. Jenessa Kornacker states, "I thought it was a great afternoon. It was a good opportunity for the students because it let them further their interest and help pursue their careers. It was also a great place for networking. Meeting people with the same goals and ambitions as you can be really beneficial."

According to the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD), "studies have shown that up to 80% of jobs are never advertised—they are filled by word of mouth." To obtain opportunities in a career, one has to develop relationships and connections with other people in the same field. The way of doing this is going to events like this symposium and meeting similar people.

Midwood students performed well in comparison to other schools in the district.

Robotics teacher Mrs. Lisa Ali stated, "It was cool to see the robotics programs in other schools and how their mind worked. It made me realize how advanced Midwood’s programs are."

Written by Daniel Gaft (Class of 2019).
This article originally appeared in the May 2018 edition of Argus.

Team NYC collects over $22,800 in prize money at the 2018 Intel ISEF

Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2018 by for Awards, ISEF.

Team NYC sent 14 students off to the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last week. By noon Friday, they had collectively amassed over $22,800 in prize money. (I have to use the word "over" since some of the special awards do not have well-defined monetary values.) The awards are distributed over two days — Thursday evening is for Special Awards, sponsored by a variety of professional organizations, and Friday morning is for Grand Awards, sponsored mostly by the Intel Foundation.

The Intel ISEF is the largest pre-college science competition in the world. Each year, approximately 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for $4 million in prizes.

Overhead view of a portion of the convention hall Overhead view of a portion of the convention hall Overhead view of a portion of the convention hall

Every year, millions of students worldwide compete in local and school-sponsored science fairs. Only the best projects form these affiliated fairs are accepted into the Intel ISEF. Students in the five boroughs compete in the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF), a joint venture between the City University of New York and the New York City Department of Education. NYCSEF is itself a large event, with something like 450 projects passing the rigorous standards of the Scientific Review Committee. NYCSEF is so huge that it has to be broken down into two events: a preliminary round and a finals round.

Everyone who attends the Intel ISEF is automatically a winner. Walking through the doors of the convention center into the project space is a reward unto itself for months or even years of toil. An Intel ISEF is five days of practice, competition, entertainment, excitement, rewards, and new friends. What Team NYC accomplished in the week of May 13–18 is not entirely measurable. But for those of you who like hard data, here are the awards we brought back.

First Award of $3,000

  • Ella Feiner (Cellular and Molecular Biology) Horace Mann School
    Project: Exploring Posterior Growth in D. rerio Using a Live Cell Cycle Biosensor.
    Ella's project was declared Best of Category in Cellular and Molecular Biology, which comes with an additional $5,000. She also received an all-expense paid four week trip and scholarship to the Bessie Lawrence International Summer Science Institute from the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Second Award of $1,500

  • Suha Hussain (Systems Software) Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
    Project: A New Method for the Exploitation of Speech Recognition Systems.
    Suha received four special awards: a Fourth Award of $500 from the Association for Computing Machinery, a $1,500 Data Award from GoDaddy, a $1,000 Second "Science Security" Award from the National Security Agency Research Directorate, and a $1,800 STEM Cloud Award in Systems Software from the Shanghai STEM Cloud Center.
  • Eeshan Tripathii (Environmental Engineering) The Dalton School
    Project: The Air We Breathe: Reducing Health Risks by Improving IAQ: An Innovative, Smart, and Responsive Ductless System Optimized by Stochastic Simulation and Machine Learning.
    Eeshan also received a $1,000 Thermo Fisher PPI Award "for driving Practical Process Improvement in science".

Third Award of $1,000

  • Timur (Timmy) Ibragimov (Physics and Astronomy) Staten Island Technical High School
    Project: Stochasticity on Astronomical Scales: A Half-life formalism for Predicting the Disruption of Small-N Body Systems.
    Timmy also received a $2,500 First Award from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • Vera Zarubin (Materials Science) Bronx High School of Science
    Project: Novel Fabrication of Organic Multifunctional Materials via Magnetic Alignment

Fourth Award of $500

  • Brendon Choy (Chemistry) Hunter College High School
    Project: Cutting off Cancer: Design, Analysis, and Synthesis of Novel Vascular Disrupting Agents.
  • Ryan Bose Roy (Translational Medical Science) Hunter College High School
    Project: Novel Warning Mechanism for At-Risk Stroke and Epilepsy Patients Through Detection of Harmful Levels of Cortisol.
  • Alexandria Ang (Earth and Environmental Sciences) Bronx High School of Science
    Project: A Destructive Invader: How Rising Atmospheric CO2 Is Aiding Noctiluca scintillans in Taking Over Tropical Oceans.

Special Awards

  • Brian Wu & Bi Tian (Jack) Yuan (Physics and Astronomy) Horace Mann School & Columbia Preparatory School
    Project: Finding the Next Tatooine: Discovery of Giant Planets, Brown Dwarfs, and the First-Ever Circumbinary Planet Using Doppler Spectroscopy.
    Brian and Jack each received a Renewable Tuition Scholarship Award to West Virginia University.
  • Phoebe Yates (Behavioral and Social Sciences) Institute for Collaborative Education
    Project: The Impact of Emotionally Targeted Branding on Social Behavior.
    Pheobe also received a Certificate of Honorable Mention and a one-year student membership with the American Psychological Association.

Participants

  • Aushna Saleem (Animal Sciences) Midwood High School at Brooklyn College
    Project: The Effects of Monk Parakeet Age on Sociality.
  • Ari Firester (Environmental Engineering) Hunter College High School
    Project: Desalinating Water Using Electric Fields.
  • Hanna Yip (Robotics and Intelligent Machines) The Spence School
    Project: A Fast and Accurate Open-Source Solo Musical Instrument Classifier.

No clean sweep at BC Sci Day, but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad

Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 by for Awards, Brooklyn College.

Midwood Science won two of the three awards in the high school division at Brooklyn College's annual Science Research Day on Friday, May 4, 2018 ending a four year long streak of clean sweeps (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). Kevin Chen and Hafsa Fatima placed first and second, respectively. Both students worked under the supervision of long-time friend of Midwood Science, Dr. Frank Grasso in the Biomimetic and Cognitive Robotics (BCR) lab at Brooklyn College. Third place went to Staten Island Tech student Kemal Aziz, who worked under the supervision of Dr. Karl Sandeman in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College. Both Dr. Grasso and Dr. Sandeman have mentored projects good enough to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Festival (ISEF) — Dr. Grasso in 2018 and Dr. Sandeman in 2016.

Brooklyn College Science Research Day is an annual event that showcases the work done by students with research mentors at Brooklyn College and other CUNY schools. This year, around 125 students presented their research across 14 categories in STEM, with over 50 faculty members and students from the college serving as judges. First, second, and third place prizes were awarded in each of the three divisions: high school, undergraduate and graduate.

Four people in a rowGlenn Elert (teacher), Kevin Chen, Hafsa Fatima, Susan Katzoff (teacher) Two people, poster, two peopleGlenn Elert (teacher), Dr. Frank Grasso (professor), Fizza Nayab, Larissa Brijmohan
  1. Kevin Chen, a junior from Midwood, won first place in the high school division for his project "Aggression on the beach: Crowding increases aggression levels in fiddler crab (Uca pugilator) colonies." Kevin worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso in the Biomimetic and Cognitive Robotics (BCR) lab at Brooklyn College.
  2. Hafsa Fatima, a senior from Midwood, won second place in the high school division for her project "The effect of temperature on the frequency of vocalization of Myiopsitta monachus". Hafsa also worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso in the Biomimetic and Cognitive Robotics (BCR) lab at Brooklyn College.
  3. Kemal Aziz, a senior from Staten Island Tech, won third place in the high school division for his project "Cooling through quantum mechanics: Magnon-based description of magneto caloric effects in La-Fe-Si, CoMnSi, and gadolinium". Kemal worked under the supervision of Dr. Karl Sandeman in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College.

Group photo under a flowering tree
Susan Katzoff (teacher), Fizza Nayab, Glenn Elert (teacher), Hafsa Fatima, Soanne Saint Victor, Joyce Chow, Aushna Saleem, Naila Mirza, Ivy Li, Kevin Chen, Beien Lin, Kathy Mania, Larissa Brijmohan, Annable Xie, Nursat Jahan

Midwood Science students collect 3 gold medals at ACT-SO, Kiandra Peart wins gold in Entrepreneurship and Poetry

Posted on Monday, May 7, 2018 by for ACT-SO, Awards.

Saturday, April 21, 2018 marked the 30th time the three New York City branches of the NAACP sponsored ACT-SO — the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics. ACT-SO is an "Olympics of the Mind" with up to 32 different categories and chances to win medals and cash prizes. This year's New York City ACT-SO was once again held at George Wingate High School — it's home for most of the past 30 events. Awards were announced on Monday, May 7, 2018 at St. Francis College in Downtown Brooklyn.

2018 marks the first time Midwood High School entered and medalled in each of the five major categories: STEM, humanities, fine arts, performing arts, and business. Kiandra Peart lead the team, earning a pair of gold medals in Entrepreneurship and Poetry and a bronze medal in Sculpture. Calvin Huynh, Rana Mohamed, and Saba Iqbal brought home gold in Microbiology, Engineering, and Earth & Space Sciences, respectively. Soanne Saint Victor earned bronze in Biology and Instrumental Classical. The total medal count for Midwood was 5 gold, 3 silver, and 8 bronze.

Kiandra, Calvin, and Rana will be competing in the National ACT-SO July 13–15. The National ACT-SO is a part of the NAACP Annual Convention, which is being held this year at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. With over 8000 delegates expected to attend Kiandra, Calvin, and Rana are sure to have an exciting time.

Still group photo

Gold Medal Winners

  • Kiandra Peart won a gold medal in Entrepreneurship for her independent business "Kustoms By Ki", a second gold medal in Poetry for her composition entitled "The Nation", and a bronze medal in sculpture.
  • Calvin Huynh won a gold medal in Microbiology for his project "Conditions that promote the sub-cellular migration of nucleolin (NCL) to the cell surface." Calvin worked under the supervision of Dr. Anjana D. Saxena in the Department of Biology at Brooklyn College.
  • Rana Mohamed won a gold medal in Engineering for her project "Energy monitoring systems for mobile robotic systems." Rana worked under the supervision of Dr. Joo H. Kim in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.
  • Saba Iqbal won a gold medal in Earth & Space Sciences for her project "Indicating an atmospheric mercury pollution source using moss as a biomonitor." Saba worked under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Carpi and Dr. Erin Mann in the Department of Sciences at John Jay College.

Silver Medal Winners

  • Jennifer Duong won a silver medal in Chemistry for her project "Loading lauric acid into electrospun polystyrene nanofibers." Jennifer worked under the supervision of Dr. Ping Lu and Ms. Rawan Ghaban in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Long Island University.
  • Sabina Kubayeva won a silver medal in Medicine & Health for a project she completed with her partner Elizabeth Joseph entitled "Layer-specific decreases in hippocampal PKMζ protein in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease." Elizabeth and Sabina worked under the supervision of Dr. Todd Sacktor and Dr. Panayiotis Tsokas in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
  • Benjamin Nguyen won a silver medal in Computer Science for his project "Climate controlled Raspberry Pi Model B video looper via temperature sensor and PC fan controlled by Arduino Uno." Benjamin worked under the supervision of Dr. Xiaohai (Richard) Li in the Department of Computer Engineering Technology at the New York City College of Technology.

Animated group photo

Bronze Medal Winners

  • Soanne Saint Victor won a bronze medal in Biology for her project "The nest composition of monk parakeets." Soanne worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso in the Department of Psychology at Brooklyn College. She also won a second bronze medal in Instrumental Classical for a performance on the steel pan.
  • Hebah Jihad won a bronze medal in Biology for her project "The effect of symmetry on the perception of beauty." Hebah worked under the supervision of Mr. Glenn Elert in the Physical Science Department at Midwood High School.
  • Albina Kukic & Wendy Lliguichuzhca won a bronze medal in Medicine & Health for their project "Altruism in adolescence measured by empathy, parental influence, peer influence, and societal influence." Albina and Wendy worked under the supervision of Professor Emeritus Dr. Uwe Gielen and Dr. Sung Hun Kim in the Department of Psychology at St. Francis College.
  • Kathy Mania won a bronze medal in Earth & Space Sciences for a project she completed with her partner Beien Lin entitled "Soil structure and heavy metals in engineered soils for stormwater management." Kathy and Beien worked under the supervision of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng and Dr. Maha Deeb Collet in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College.
  • Naila Mirza won a bronze medal in Biology for her project "Effect of season on the group size of the Myiopsitta monachus." Naila worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso in the Department of Psychology at Brooklyn College.
  • Vincent Wang & Jessie Zheng won a bronze medal in Engineering for their project "Photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue using electrospun nanofibers." Jessie and Vincent worked under the supervision of Dr. Ping Lu and Ms. Simone Murray in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Long Island University.

The psychology of parakeets and people predominate at NYCSEF — Aushna Saleem advances to ISEF

Posted on Monday, March 26, 2018 by for Awards, ISEF, NYCSEF.

This was the year of psychology at Midwood Science. All of our NYCSEF First and Second Awards went to students with psychology projects (both human and parakeet). Out of the 9 award winning projects, 5 were connected to the study of human or animal behavior. Engineering, medicine, and environmental science completed the team.

Aushna Saleem won the highest awards of the competition — a NYCSEF First Award and an Intel ISEF Award — for her study of the behavior of Brooklyn's beloved monk parakeets. Hafsa Fatima collected another First Award for her study of monk parakeet vocalization. Aushna and Hafsa worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso from Brooklyn College — a supporter of Midwood Science for 15 years. Aushna will be traveling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to compete in the Intel ISEF in the third week of May.

First time mentors from St. Francis College supported the remaining psychology projects. First Award winners Mei Mei Weng & Judy Huang studied stress and birth order and were supervized by Dr. Steven Anolik. Second Award winners Albina Kukic & Wendy Lliguichuzhca studied factors affecting altruism and were supervised by Dr. Uwe Gielen and Dr. Sung Hun Kim. Albina and Wendy also received the American Psychological Association Award for their exceptional project.

Linda Chen, Yiming Dai, Jennifer Duong, Elizabeth Joseph, Sabina Kubayeva, Beien Lin, Kathy Mania, and Rana Mohammed all received Third Awards. Beien and Kathy were also Semifinalists in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize for their water-related project. Rana received the Yale Science and Engineering Association Award for best engineering project by a junior.

NYCSEF is the annual New York City Science and Engineering Fair sponsored by the New York City Department of Educatation, the City University of New York, and ConEdison. Roughly 570 participants from all five boroughs participated in the Preliminary Round this year at City College on March 4. The top 25% of those advanced to the Finals Round at the American Museum of Natural History on March 20. The top 16 projects go on to represent New York City in the 2,000 student mega-event, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 13–18.

NYCSEF 'periodic table' logo

NYCSEF First Award

  • Aushna Saleem (Animal Sciences)
    "The effects of age on monk parakeet aggressive and social behavior." Aushna worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso in the Department of Psychology at Brooklyn College. Aushna was one of the top 16 students at NYCSEF to win the Intel ISEF Award. She will be traveling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to compete in ISEF in the third week of May.
  • Hafsa Fatima (Psychology)
    "The effect of temperature on the frequency of vocalization of Myiopsitta monachus." Hafsa worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso in the Department of Psychology at Brooklyn College.
  • Mei Mei Weng & Judy Huang (Psychology)
    "Effects of birth order on the stress levels of immigrant teenagers." Mei Mei and Judy worked under the supervision of Dr. Steven Anolik in the Department of Psychology at St. Francis College.

NYCSEF Second Award

  • Albina Kukic & Wendy Lliguichuzhca (Psychology)
    "Altruism in adolescence measured by empathy, parental influence, peer influence, and societal influence." Albina and Wendy worked under the supervision of Professor Emeritus Dr. Uwe Gielen and Dr. Sung Hun Kim in the Department of Psychology at St. Francis College. Albina and Wendy were also the only winners of the American Psychological Association Award for exceptional projects in psychology entered in the behavioral sciences category.

NYCSEF Third Award

  • Yiming Dai & Linda Chen (Psychology)
    "Difference among stress levels between adolescents with immigrant status and adolescents w/o immigrant status." Yiming and Linda worked under the supervision of Dr. Steven Anolik in the Department of Psychology at St. Francis College.
  • Jennifer Duong (Engineering)
    "Loading lauric acid into electrospun polystyrene nanofibers." Jennifer worked under the supervision of Dr. Ping Lu and Ms. Rawan Ghaban in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Long Island University.
  • Elizabeth Joseph & Sabina Kubayeva (Medicine)
    "Layer-specific decreases in hippocampal PKMζ protein in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease." Elizabeth and Sabina worked under the supervision of Dr. Todd Sacktor and Dr. Panayiotis Tsokas in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
  • Kathy Mania & Beien Lin (Environmental Sciences)
    "Soil structure and heavy metals in engineered soils for stormwater management." Kathy and Beien worked under the supervision of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng and Dr. Maha Deeb Collet in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College. Kathy and Beien are also New York State Semifinalists in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize for exceptional water related projects.
  • Rana Mohamed (Engineering)
    "Energy monitoring systems for mobile robotic systems." Rana worked under the supervision of Dr. Joo H. Kim in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Rana was also the only winner of the Yale Science and Engineering Association Award for excellent projects by an 11th grader in computer science, engineering, physics, or chemistry.
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