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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.

14 seniors move on to next phase of NYCSEF competition

Posted on Friday, March 23, 2018 by for ISEF, Media, NYCSEF.

Enthusiastic seniors from all over New York displayed their scientific experiments as juniors eagerly speculate at the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) on March 4, held at City College in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan.

Students from different high schools entered this competition, including Brooklyn Technical High School, Edward R. Murrow High School, and Stuyvesant High School.

The whole process of NYCSEF is complex. First, the students have to fill out paperwork ranging from each of their grades, followed by paperwork being assembled by faculty members of the Science Research program. The process may be lengthy and complicated, but in the end it is all worth it. Students who win the final round have a chance to win prizes totaling four million dollars in scholarships and awards, as well as an all expense paid trip to Pittsburgh.

Mr. Glenn Elert, the main supervising teacher, explains that this is a very difficult competition and that the seniors, currently competing in the finals, have to go up against students from all over the city. Mr. Elert credits the success of his seniors going to the finals to the supervision of the research coordinators and staff that made these events run smoothly.

The NYCSEF competition is a collaboration of scientific works. The number of participants this year allowed for more diverse competition.

Overall, Mr. Elert and the faculty members felt satisfied with the students hard work and their advancement to the finals. They believed that the competition is an effective way of promoting brilliant minds to present their work through these projects and allows them to be a part of the NYCSEF community.

Calvin Hunyh and Michelle Zinger ’18 said, You get your own idea of where the gaps in the field are and our research ultimately strives for a cure for cancer.

Competing this year could potentially open up many doors for these two, especially when applying to colleges.

Group photo at City College in front of the mural depicting the passing of wisdom from The Alma Mater onto a young scholar

Science research gave me a sense of accomplishment and prestige because we did work so hard on our projects so NYCSEF gave us a chance to show our work and dedication, said Hunyh.

Competing in NYCSEF allows students to delve into new fields of scientific research. Hafsa Fatima ’18, one of the finalists of NYCSEF, explains that while competing in NYCSEF was very difficult, it permits for a new understanding of science.

For Fatima, this was an opportunity for learning, because of which she was able to conduct her research, and reach her dreams, such as, collecting, analyzing, and presenting my data to the scientific community.

At NYCSEF, the preliminary round is where all students get the moment to showcase their projects in Shepard Hall at City College.

As the preliminary round continues, the top 25 percent of student researchers from each subject category were invited to participate in the Finals on March 20, at the American Museum of Natural History.

The Awards Ceremony follows six days later, on March 26, at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Approximately fifteen students will be selected to represent New York City at the International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 13–18.

This year Midwood has been extremely committed to NYCSEF and had sent out its 14 students, who are presenting nine projects to this year’s competition. Hopefully the finalists will show the scientific community that they all deserve to be future scientists, and continue showcasing their research in ISEF.

Written by Atif Gujar, Muhammad Hamza, Rubhiyah Chaudhry, and Nicole Demetrashvili (Class of 2019).
This article originally appeared in the March 2018 edition of Argus.

Research students look for lab professors

Posted on Friday, December 1, 2017 by for Media.

Let the hunt for professors begin! Starting October, students in the research program are emailing and going to colleges to ask professors if they can join their labs. If students don't find a professor by the second term, they will be transferred to another elective like robotics or medical issues. After the students join the lab, they study with the professor and perform experiments in professional environment doing scientific breakthroughs. After a year of joining, students will have to enter competitions using what they have learned in their lab.

Susana Tzunun '19 is a research student with a 4.0 GPA, is on the soccer team, and has many AP classes under her belt. You would think a perfect student like this would get into any lab he/she wanted. On the contrary, Tzunun said, "The whole process was nerve-racking."

Tzunun had a hard time finding professors. She sent 15 emails to different professors in different fields with no success. Some responded with apologies that their lab was full and others didn't even give an answer. After a month of scouting and hard work, Tzunun went to a lab interview with her friend and fellow classmate Amy Chen '19, and they both were accepted to the lab. She felt as if a heavy burden was lifted from her chest and thankful for the opportunity. She now researches environmental science at Brooklyn College.

Photo of the Chemistry Lab in the Midwood Science Annex

Rubhiyah Chaudhry '19 is another research student who had trouble finding a professor. Although the process was lengthy and dense, it showed promise.

"I knew it was going to be difficult from the start because many professor don't accept high school students, but it was an all worthwhile despite being tedious." Chaudhry said.

The class has a large payoff, intrinsically and extrinsically. The students are not only going to learn how to properly research and grow as professionals, but they look good on college resumes than any other.

Mr. Glenn Elert, Physics teacher and research coordinator talks about his experience with the research program.

"Research is very interesting. It is the best kind of class. All students get attention because it a one on one class. It is never the same thing," he said.

Junior research makes students more professional. When they leave Midwood, they are experts on their projects.

"Students learn to be scientists, which makes it the only real science class in the building." Mr. Elert said.

Written by Daniel Gaft (Class of 2019).
This article originally appeared in the November 2017 edition of Argus.

Sophomores display projects at Science Fair

Posted on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 by for Media, Science Fair.

The stage was set for the sophomore researchers as they present their projects for all of the research students to see.

Sophomore researchers were brought to the present on May 24 for the annual science fair. Coordinated by Mr. Glenn Elert, the presenters each had a project that research teachers Ms. Shaniece Mosley and Ms. Stacy Goldstein.

They have been conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and practicing their speaking skills in preparation for the fair.

"The science fair is always exciting for both the presenters and the judges," said Mr. Elert. "Each year, we always have our special judges which consist of alumni who come back to judge again and be a part of the science fair."

Before the event, Mr. Elert held a short speech guiding all the judges. With 110 judges in all, they consisted of junior, senior, and alumni researchers.

"For me last year, getting judged by upperclassmen was a bit nerve-wracking," said Saba Iqbal '18. "This year, I want to be sure I make the students as comfortable as possible when presenting to me."

To score the presenters, the judges each watch three sophomores present their project. Then, on a paper with categories including the poster board, methods, introduction of the project, and total analysis, the judges give the presenters scores on a scale of 1–10. Then, they add up the individual category scores. The winners of the projects include first place, second place, third place, and honorary mentions.

Vladimir Svidruk '19 presented his project on cockroaches and their tolerance to certain environments.

"I bought my cockroaches from a petshop and then tested them with certain materials." said Svidruk. "Ms. Goldstein heavily prepared us for the event, she provided us with the necessary materials that were needed for some projects, including mine."

After doing many presentations during research classes, Kenny Pierre Louis '19 shared Svidruk's thoughts.

"After doing many presentations with [Mr. K and Ms. Mosley] it really positively affected how I presented in front of the judges."

Participants with posterboards and judges with clipboards

In preparing for the science fair, some of the presenters gained more than just a new science idea.

"In doing this project, I learned a lot about presentation and being able to speak to an audience effectively." said Pierre Louis It took a lot of time making, ordering, and setting up, time management was something I really got from doing the science fair."

Svidruk also admitted that it not only allowed him to gain experience in presenting, but it showed him more into the science field.

"I wouldn't consider myself as a very science type of person, but after doing this it was kind of interesting finding out about spikes and neurons and how they all relate to us humans as well," said Svidruk.

The judges and presenters were all given food afterwards, coordinated by Mr. Tovia Rosenfeld, which consisted of sandwiches, salads, desserts, and drinks. During this time, the judges and presenters gathered with their friends and some seniors spoke about how they may not be able to see all this next year.

"The science fair has always been something that was so much fun to do," said Hufsa Tasnim '17. "It gets me really upset that I may not be able to see all this next year, I will try my best to become a guest judge."

Midwood has been holding the event since the school opened in the 1940s.

Vincent Wang '18 said, "It feels weird being on the other end now, judging these sophomores makes myself proud on how far I've achieved within the research program and that I haven't gave up that drive I had as a sophomore last year."

Juniors had been assigned three to four projects to judge and graded them on a system of 60 points for idividual projects and 70 points for team projects.

Nimrah Naseer '19 said, "This [project] was really stressful for me, I like the writing aspect of science research but the actual hands on activities aren't my favorite part."

The science fair started after tenth period, judging started as the sophomores finalized their boards. After most juniors were done judging the projects and grading them on a rubric, the fair ended off with food being served for all.

Written by Sumaya Ahmed & Ashley Masih (Class of 2018).
This article originally appeared in the June 2017 edition of Argus.

Midwood alumna’s article on 2017 Science Fair featured on BKLYNER website

Posted on Thursday, June 1, 2017 by for Media, Science Fair.

Midwood Science alumna Zainab Iqbal (class of 2015) reported on this year’s science fair for the local news website BKLYNER. Her article, 10th Annual Midwood HS Science Fair – A Glimpse, offered slice-of-life descriptions of the fair, facts about the science research program at Midwood, and a quick spotlight on senior Mahmoud Abouelkheir and his recent trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles. Follow these links to read more of Zainab’s contributions to BKLYNER and Excelsior (Brooklyn College’s student run news publication).

Winners of the 2017 Midwood Science Fair will be announced sometime after 3:30 PM on Friday, June 2, 2017.

Science fair competitor standing in front of her posterboard Posterboard entitled 'Where do lizards go to lunch?' Judges and contestants in one of the judging rooms
BKLYNER logo Excelsior logo

Hornets Come Out on Top at NYCSEF

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.

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.

News update from Midwood Science

Posted on Sunday, March 19, 2017 by for Awards, ISEF, JSHS, Media, Ocean Science, Robotics, St. Joseph's, STS.

Here’s what we’ve been up to in 2017 so far (plus one story from 2016 I finally got around to writing). More good news is sure to follow.

Midwood collects top awards at St. Joseph’s College

Posted on Sunday, February 5, 2017 by for St. Joseph’s.

Nomon Mohammad and Hufsa Tasnim are JSHS Semifinalists

Posted on Friday, February 10, 2017 by for JSHS.

Robotics Team Rolls into Victory at FTC

Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2017 by for Robotics.

Ocean Science Team prepares for competiton

Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2017 by for Ocean Science.

Nomon Mohammed receives 2 badges in the 2017 Regeneron STS

Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by for Awards, STS.

Urooj Ansari and Bilal Azhar appear on News 12 Brooklyn

Posted on Friday, May 6, 2016 by for ISEF, Media.

Ocean Science Team prepares for competiton

Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2017 by for Media, Ocean Science.

As February quickly approaches, the Ocean Science team is preparing for their next big competition.

Ocean Science is an academic competition focusing on topics such as biology, chemistry, physics and geology within the school where they meet three times a week. They prepare to compete in regional tournaments as qualifiers for nationals.

"The team is very dedicated and I’m proud to be a part of it," said Celine Lam ’18.

According to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, there are 25 regional competitions in which the winner from each will advance to the finals, which are typically held in April. This year’s finals will be held in Corvallis, Oregon, and the top three winners will be awarded with a trip to exciting locations.

Lam says that to do well on the team, you need to have perseverance and to maintain your grades.

The team is divided into two groups, A and B team. These teams usually contain a mix of juniors and seniors, with a few sophomores. In the beginning of the school year, members take a pretest, quizzing their prior knowledge. Throughout the school year, the members go through the rigorous curriculum. Then they take their posttest before their qualifying tournament, which decides whether or not they go into A team, B team, or neither.

Last year’s A team performed extraordinarily well and placed ninth place in the national Ocean Science tournament.

"I do feel tensed because you’re expected to get things right, but nobody’s perfect so we’re all working hard," said Jennifer Phu ’17, captain of the A team.

The assistant coach Ms. Kimberly Lau said, "There is now pressure to maintain the title but they work really hard and are doing even more work than last year’s team."

Ms. Lau has been improving the way the team learns the curriculum. Accommodating their regular weekly lessons, the students this year now create targeted questions for each unit in the modules and create presentations per unit. The team then competes with each other after their lessons are completed. Ms. Lau then decides whether or not each student had mastered the subject before moving on.

The head coach for this year will likely remain the assistant principal, Mr. Alan Stack, due to Ms. Lau’s busy schedule.

"I love how everyone is friendly and competitive at the same time," said newcomer Ivy Li ’18, "I love learning weird facts about animals and teaching about a topic in ocean is helping me build confidence in my everyday life."

The team members are very excited for newcomers and want to see how they play in an actual tournament.

"It’s competitive but in the end, we’re all still a family," said captain of the B team, Saleh Salem ’18, "It’s rigorous but as long as you keep up, it’s worth it."

Usually Ms. Lau approaches potential team members, which most of the time are her outgoing students since she knows them well. However, for students who are eager to join can directly approach Ms. Lau on her off hours.

Written by Ashley Masih and Kareem Ibrahim (Class of 2018).
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 edition of Argus.

Robotics Team Rolls into Victory at FTC

Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2017 by for Media, Robotics.

The Rolling Drones, Bötley Crüe, and Pink Droyd of the robotics team will be competing on January 14 for the First Tech Challenge.

"This is preparation for the real tech world," said Rabia Javaid ’17, Bötley Crüe’s engineering notebook keeper.

The teams have been preparing for the qualifiers for months. This year’s competition is Velocity Vortex sponsored by Qualcomm. FTC is a big competition that role plays for real life situations. Collecting balls and bringing them to an higher place is this year’s main theme for scoring high but risky points.

"In other words, future innovator’s robots could go up in space and collect particles," said Javaid ’17.

Programs like FTC spurs up competitive spirits and push out 21 century work-life skills like problem solving, management, and communication to a higher level. Each captain of the team have high responsibilities and management for the team.

"The most difficult thing I had to do was to get everybody on the same page so they could visualize my goals for the robot," said Ron Lazimi ’17, captain of the Bötley Crüe team. "Our robot is decently built with a good chance on getting past the qualifiers but we’re missing some major components like sensors because they didn’t come in time."

Even without the most vital parts of robots, the teams managed to work around the problem. Other captains also expresses their concerns and success.

Larger group portrait

Captain of The Rolling Drones Mari Geguchadze ’17 said, "I’ve never really had to account for an entire team before. Sometimes it’s a little suffocating. I think that aside, we have a pretty good grasp on the competition."

Although The Rolling Drones are experiencing some trouble coordinating, they’ve pulled through with a robot built much quicker than the other two teams.

"This year, AutoCad is very intense due to our time limit. The team works very well together trying to back each other up and giving good feedback on plans and tactics for winning," said Captain of Pink Droyd, Mohammad Ishtiaq ’17.

In the end, the most important thing is that all teams have each other’s support and working together to reach their ultimate goals. "

As time progressed, my team and I grew a bond together and we’re able to make changes and build on each other’s ideas," said Sidney Yee ’18, a builder of Bötley Crüe.

Matthew Eng ’17, another builder of Bötley Crüe, said, "Building with what we came up with was easy but testing and rebuilding takes a lot time in order to reach the consistency that is crucial to robots."

Smaller group portrait

Captains weren’t the only ones to have their hands full. Tasks assigned to team members receive high expectations and are expected to be complete within a certain time frame.

Budget is another problem in this year’s FTC competition. New logos were designed by each respective team. This means there needs to be a new batch of team attire to be ordered and each team member had to pay for their own attire.

"This year’s funds were a lot less than last years and I don’t have direct control over it. I can’t make everyone pay $30 for a T-shirt," said Mr. Jahn, coach of the robotics teams.

Funds were in the hands of Parent’s Association and accessing it was not as easy. With barely enough money to cover the fees of sign-up for the competition, funds were used sparingly.

However, Anthony Annuziato ’17 from Bötley Crüe managed to hook up everybody with three local sponsors. The team is able to get more funds for parts which helps greatly since many remaining parts for the robots were previously abused to even function properly. Sarah Wu ’17 and Tiffany Zhang ’17 from Pink Droyds also put in efforts in fundraising by crafting perler beads art.

This year we also have designed a completely new website ran by Pink Droyds team with Bötley Crüe’s contribution. It serves as a purpose of attraction for people who are interested in our program inside and outside of the school. Visit midwoodrobotics.org for more information and details about the teams and classes.

"It’s time for us to face the real challenge, and we are ready," said Javaid ’17.

Written by LeiBin Li (Class of 2018).
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 edition of Argus.

Researchers Compete at ISEF

Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2016 by for ISEF, Media.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) winners were announced on May 12 and 13. Urooj Ansari ’16 and Bilal Azhar ’16, along with 14 other high school seniors, represented New York in this international competition.

The competition is split into several categories of science. Some categories include Biochemistry, Microbiology, Physics, Materials science and many more.

Ansari competed in Microbiology, while Azhar competed in Physics. Ansari and Azhar both got into the competition by winning the ISEF award in NYCSEF on April 1.

“The competition was a lot of fun. It required a lot of work, but the experience was worth it,” said Azhar.

Within each category, awards are given to first, second third and fourth place. In addition, “special awards” are given to competitors for specific criteria.

Ultimately, the Grand Prize is a special award given to the best presenter. Awards are given through judging.

Group photo in front of desert plants

Students are encouraged to prepare/design their posters with creativity and depth, and present with emphasis and clarity.

The specific rubric can be found on the Intel ISEF website. Mr. Glenn Elert, one of the Midwood Research teachers, said, “A lot of the science competitions have awards that are basically invites to other competitions.”

Students get individual awards; however, each competitor is part of a team representing a state/country. Virginia, New York, Canada, and even Japan competed in ISEF on May 12-17 in Phoenix, Arizona.

New York won several awards in a variety of categories. Ultimately, Canada has won the Grand Prize, The Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000.

“ISEF is a lot of work, a lot of fun, and a lot of eating. We spent most of the time figuring out where we will eat,” said Elert.

The first place award was given to the project that developed a better microbial fuel cell that creates electricity effectively.

Ansari’s project focused on a “chemical warfare” between two oral bacteria. Azhar focused on the energy conversion in two different types of magnets used in solid state refrigeration.

Written by Michael Grandel (Class of 2017).
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 edition of Argus.

Sophomore Researchers Take Spotlight

Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2016 by for Media, Science Fair.

From projects on honey and bees to acid rain and corrosion, the science fair covered a wide range of topics and food. Mr. Glenn Elert coordinates the science fair each year, along with help from Ms. Stacy Goldstein and Ms. Shaniece Mosley.

According to Mr. Elert, he has been coordinating the science fair for about eight years, but Midwood itself has been holding the science fair ever since the school opened.

"The fair is a really exciting event," said Mr. Elert. "There’s a lot of energy and it’s a really great thing to experience, especially since some of the alumni come back."

Sophomore research students had to present their projects while the junior and senior research students were the judges. According to Mr. Elert, the judges score the presenters in different categories, then tally up the scores. Afterwards, Ms. Mosley and Ms. Goldstein look at all the scores on a spreadsheet since the presenters are seen by multiple judges, and decide on first, second and third place, along with honorable mentions. Winners will be decided in June after the scores are calculated.

Photo of one of the presentation rooms with presenters and judges
Presenters and judges at work.

Junior judge Mahmoud Abouelkheir ’17, reminisced about when he was a presenter and compared his presenting experience with his judging experience.

"It’s definitely a new experience from being in that presenter position last year to judging this year," said Abouelkheir. "It’s exciting but at the same time I’d prefer not to do it because I don’t like to be critical, especially to these students that worked so hard on their projects."

Abouelkheir said that he prefers presenting over judging because he feels he can better express himself in presenting instead of judging.

Other junior judge Zenab Jamil ’17, shared Abouelkheir’s excitement over judging, but would rather judge than present.

"It feels kind of nostalgic judging these projects because I was in their position last year," said Jamil. "I would definitely much rather judge though. It’s a lot less pressure and a lot less intimidating."

Senior judge Laila Akallal ’16, has already had her experience with presenting and judging, preferring the former.

"It’s really nice to see how the projects differ from year to year and see everyone come together," said Akallal. "Personally I like presenting a little more because I love sharing what I’ve learned and presenting is gonna be something that you’ll have to do later on in life as well."

The judges knew how stressed and worried the presenters were, so they tried to make it as smooth as possible. Abby Beginyazova ’18, is one of the many presenters and praised the judges for making the whole event comfortable for them and as easy as possible.

"Ms. Mosley and the judges really helped to make things easier for us. We had three weeks and I feel like that was a really short time since the first week was all AP tests," said Beginyazova. "Ms. Mosley and the judges gave us leeway because they knew how stressed we all were and how hard we all worked."

Beginyazova also said that she wished she had more time to work on the project so she could’ve done more trials, but she feels confident in her ability and her project.

Presenter Jessica Rakhamim ’18, shared Beginyazova’s appreciation of the judges and how they made the event as smooth as possible and the presenters comfortable.

"My partner and I worked on the project together. She’s a very artistic person and we described the project in a way that showed that music can be applied to science, and I think the judges made it a lot easier to do that," said Rakhamim. "For our project, we had to present our topic and discuss our data and show how it applied to real life. The judges asked questions that were simple and valid enough. Everyone was really nice."

After presenting, students were offered a variety of food, including  sandwiches, snacks and a multitude of sodas to reward them for their hard work. Elizabeth Skapley ’17, was gracious of the fact that the faculty had ordered food for everyone involved in the science fair.

"I think it’s a really nice thing that the school did to help. There were maybe more than a hundred of us and so much food. I’m surprised there were leftovers," said Skapley. "After a long day, it felt good to sit down with my friends and talk about what projects we liked the most. Overall, I’m happy with the results."

Written by Kaelah Blanchette and Yumna Ahmed (Class of 2017).
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 edition of Argus.

Researchers Dominate Brooklyn College Science Day

Posted on Saturday, May 21, 2016 by for Brooklyn College, Media.

Brooklyn College was buzzing with scientists from all over the city on Friday, May 6 for the annual Brooklyn College Science Day. However,  researchers from Midwood claimed all the awards in the high school division.

The competition kicked off at 9am, when students arrived to check-in and set up their posters. This was followed by a two hour judging period from 10am to noon. After a short lunch, awards were given out to the best presenters and their projects at 1pm.   

"I’m very proud of the students that won," said Mr. Glenn Elert, Senior Research Coordinator. "Everyone earned their awards through hard work and brains."

Kai Saunders ’16 and Noor Asif ’17 took home the first place honors. Urooj Ansari ’16 was awarded second place, and Roshan Chudry ’16  came in third place.

"I feel grateful to win again," said Saunders. "I feel more confident about my work and how much I can make an impact."

Award winner group photo
Kai Saunders, Noor Asif, Urooj Ansari, Roshan Chudry

Saunders has been on something of a hot streak lately claiming victories in all 5 of the research competitions this year. She was awarded with the equivalent of about $900 in awards and prizes from previous competitions, and she has earned a spot at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposia Program nationals.

"Honestly, I pray before every single competition I have," continued Saunders. "I repeat Matthew 19:26 in my head constantly throughout each competition, and it really boosts my confidence."

Asif’s first place finish is also impressive especially considering this is the first time she presented her project at an official competition. She is also the first and only junior to enter a research competition this year.

"When they were announcing the names for the high school winners, I definitely did not expect to win. Even when they said that the first place award went to someone from my professor’s, Dr. Grasso,  psychology lab, I assumed it was my friend," said Asif. " It felt so unreal when they called my name because as I said, I honestly didn’t expect any position, much less first place."

Like Saunders, Ansari has also strung together a series of victories.

"It felt great to win. My lab mates were in the audience and an undergrad from my lab also won. Sharing the moment with them made it much more special," she said. "We all spent countless hours in lab together and we were able to see our efforts pay off together."

Ansari also earned herself a coveted spot in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. This came after her first place finish at the New York City Science and Engineering Fair.

Large group photo
Brooklyn College Science Day — Friday, May 6, 2016

I was able to meet individuals my age who were just as passionate about STEM. Many of them were already CEOs of their own companies and were headed to prestigious colleges in the near future," said Ansari. "Being among such individuals was an honor. To this day, I find it hard to believe that I was selected to be one of the 15 students selected out of the 700 projects entered. It was an inspiring experience overall and has motivated me to work harder."

Last but not least, Roshan Chudry claimed her first award of the year on Friday.

"This is the first time I’ve won in research," said Chudry. "I was extra shocked at first, but then I was elated. I’m grateful and more motivated in my future endeavors in research."

This is the third straight year that the Midwood Science Research program was able to win every award at the high school level at Brooklyn College Science Day.

"We had the stronger projects and it showed," said Elert.

Written by Daniel Guobadia (Class of 2016).
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 edition of Argus.

Urooj Ansari and Bilal Azhar appear on News 12 Brooklyn

Posted on Friday, May 6, 2016 by for ISEF, Media.

News 12 Brooklyn, Cablevision’s local all-news channel, interviewed Bilal Azhar and Urooj Ansari on Wednesday, May 4th as they prepared for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) the following week. Reporter Dana Arschin introduces us to the two young scientists. Watch the full video (1:38) on the News 12 Brooklyn website.

Screenshot of Bilal Azhar Screenshot of Urooj Ansari
Screenshot of Bilal on the left, Urooj on the right, and reporter Dana Arschin in the middle Screenshot of the News 12 Brooklyn logo

Researchers shine at NYCSEF

Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 by for ISEF, Media.

Scholarships, awards, Bitcoins, and dollar prizes were awarded to 15 Midwood High School research competitors at the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) Awards Ceremony on April 1. Two students received the most prestigious award, an invitation to represent New York at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

The ISEF award is the main goal for research competitors Bilal Azhar ’16 and Urooj Ansari ’16 both received the invitation and will represent New York at ISEF in Phoenix, Arizona May 8–13 along with 14 other representatives In addition, Azhar, Ansari, and Gloria Cao ’16 received the First Award, which is considered as a first place award. Second and Third place awards were also given out to several research students.

"I feel great and excited for ISEF," said Azhar "It was definitely worth the stress since I got to participate in a very strong STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] community and won."

Students seated with computer screen displaying the Intel ISEF logo
Midwood 2016 ISEF Award Winners: Urooj Ansari and Bilal Azhar.

The Midwood Research class enables students to participate in NYCSEF and other competitions. Students are required to go through extensive work in their junior and senior years. By mid-junior year students are required to work in a lab with researchers, professors, and scientists and use their newfound research as the basis for competitions. Detailed understanding and skills are required for those aiming to win at NYCSEF and other fairs.

Azhar’s project won in the category of Physics & Space Sciences. He conducts his research with Dr. Karl Sandeman in Brooklyn College. Urooj Ansari won in the Microbiology category, and her research was conducted with Dr. Nicolas Biais in Brooklyn College. For further details, view the Midwood Science website

Azhar said "I understood my project very well It takes a lot of researching to understand the concepts. In addition, I had to practice my presentation several times before the judging."

The First Award and ISEF invitation aren’t the only prizes. Scholarships and sponsorships also glorified a few of Midwood’s research students. Seniors Kieran Bissessar, Nga Ying Lo, and William Xie were each awarded four-year scholarships to Hunter College.

"The scholarship is an amazing opportunity for students to attend college with significantly less debt. It is definitely worth taking," said Xie.

Group photo with students arranged around large metal moon model.
Midwood 2016 NYCSEF Finalists, clockwise from bottom: Urooj Ansar, Kieran Bissessar, Bilal Azhar, Kai Saunders, Victor Lee, William Xie, Joshua Pilipovsky, Colleen Simon, Emily Hui, Xia Jun (Gloria) Cao, Yusra AbdurRob, Xiu Ling Weng, Nga Ying Lo.

Another award is a Bitcoin from the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. A Bitcoin is virtual currency that can be traded and is worth approximately $417. Joseph Parziale ‘16 and Kai Saunders ’16 each received one Bitcoin.

NYCSEF is a big part of Midwood Science research, but it isn’t the only one. The competitors now continue to prepare for other tasks and fairs.

Xie said that he plans on focusing on college. He added that he would enjoy pursuing research during his freshman year of college, but the likelihood is dependent on several factors. Also, the students are preparing for Brooklyn College Science Day.

Research teacher Mr. Glenn Elert is happy for the students, but the load of work to come is substantial.

"It will be a lot of fun, but it will also be a lot of work,” said Mr. Elert "Our schedule is so bad that the only time you’re not doing anything official is when you’re eating or sleeping.”

Written by Michael Grandel (Class of 2017).
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 edition of Argus.

Robotics moves on to World Championship

Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 by for Media, Robotics.

The Rolling Drones, one of Midwood’s robotics teams, will be moving on to the FTC World Championship from April 27–30 in St. Louis, Missouri. [Note: Due to lack of funds, The Rolling Drones were unable to attend this event as planned.]

The team will be competing against teams from all over the country after being one of the twenty-four teams to move on from the FTC East Super-Regional Championship that took place in Scranton, Pennsylvania from March 18 to March 20. Bötley Crüe, the other team that made it to the Super-Regional made it to the semi-finals, but did not qualify for the World Championship.

Before heading to the Super-Regional competition, Bötley Crüe won the trophy for the winning alliance and the Connect Award for helping the community understand FIRST, the FIRST Tech Challenge, and the team itself at the LI/NYC regional competition that was held at Townsend Harris High School on February 28. The Rolling Drones were awarded the trophy for the Finalist Alliance and won the PTC Design award for the design of their elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic.

"I was overwhelmed with excitement knowing that they are both moving on to the Super-Regional," Ms. Ali said. "It is the ultimate reward after all of their hard work."

Overview of the competition arena.

The tables turned during regionals. The Rolling Drones won four out five of their qualifying matches while Bötley Crüe only won one. Bötley Crüe had connection issues that prevented the robot from working. At one point, the phone that holds all the programs that allowed the robot to work fell out of its case and hindered the robot from moving. Due to the good relationship with Techno Chix, a Girl Scout group ranked fourth, they were able to move onto the Super-Regional championship. In 2009, Techno Chix and Bötley Crüe moved onto the World Championship together.

"During one of the matches, we went up the mountain way too fast," said Shazem Khalid ’16. "Our robot flipped over and that cost us one of our matches."

Bötley Crüe Captain Victoria Gnip ’16 said, "It was really close and we didn’t think weren’t going to make it because we had so many technical issues. Luckily Techno Chix chose us to be part of their alliance. We were able to fix our technical problems and win the competition."

Shazem Khalid ’16 and Michael Nurilov ’16 are the drivers for Bötley Crüe with Dana Gan ’16 as the coach. As for Rolling Drones, Caitlin Tsang ’17 and Jessy Li ’16 are the drivers while Ihor Bakhank ’16 coaches from the side.

First Res-Q logo

Between each match, the teams had time to make small adjustments to their robots. Mostly, the teams switched up parts of the robot to be better prepared for the different sides of the field that they would be competing on.

Rolling Drones was ranked second and they were able to pick their three alliances and move onto the semi-finals and the finals. Bötley Crüe won one out of the five qualifying matches due to technical difficulties (mostly Bluetooth disconnection) and were ranked 25th.

Both teams moved on to the Super-Regional where they competed in the Grace Hopper Division made up of 36 teams. The other division, Nikola Tesla, was also made up of 36 teams. While Rolling Drones only lost 2 of 9 matches, Bötley Crüe was not as fortunate. The Rolling Drones were in fourth place and got to chose which teams would move on with them to the elimination rounds. The Rolling Drones and Bötley Crüe were allies at the semi-finals but lost the elimination match. The winning teams from each division faced each other for a final match. The Hopper Division won the match, and the teams from that division moved up on the ranking chart. Because of their ranking, the Rolling Drones moved on to the World Championship. Since the Midwood alliance did not win the elimination match, Bötley Crüe could not qualify for the World Championship.

"As a captain, it’s a lot of pressure to keep the team together, organized and strong so we are able to perform to the best of our abilities from match to match. Being calm, cool, and collected was the key to success," said Rolling Drones’ Ihor Bakhnak ’16.

Mr. Jahn said, "I was really proud of both teams for making it that far. Both teams did extremely well despite the fact that Bötley Crüe was teamed up with teams that made it hard to win. I’m glad one of the teams made it."

Written by Jessica Wen and Rabia Arshad (Class of 2017).
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 edition of Argus.

Kai Saunders earns recognition for Science Research

Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 by for JSHS, Media.

Moving onto nationals, Kai Saunders ‘16 has gained recognition in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium for her project "Urban Soils: Metal Content in Artifacts".

On February 27, Saunders took part in the regional finals and won Now she is advancing to the National Symposium in Dayton, Ohio from April 27 to 30.

Saunder’s journey began in a research class at Midwood, where Ms. Shaniece Mosley introduced her to the JSHS competition. The inspiration for her project was gained at an internship at Brooklyn College. Saunders was under the guidance of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng and Dr. Hermine Huot in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Saunders said, "Hermine was like a mother to everyone."  She continued to explain that Huot guided everyone with their projects, as it was more than just Saunders in the internship.

Portrait of Kai Saunders outdoors
Kai Saunders will represent NYC at the National JSHS in April

The project began as Saunders and other researchers studied the papers of Richard V. Pouyat and El Khalil. These papers were on topics similar to what she went on to research for her project. It inspired her and informed her a lot on urban soil and the metal contents.

Saunders met up with her professors on a weekly basis, around twice a week depending on her lacrosse schedule. She managed her time wisely and had a weekly plan. Ms. Mosley, Saunders’ supervising teacher, monitored her project by checking on her research logbook when Midwood research students meet up once a week.

Ms. Mosley would ask her research students to explain their projects to her. If they are able to, then it is implied that the students understood their topic fully and can present their projects elsewhere.

JSHS logo

"When the research is out of my field, one of the easiest things I can do is have the students explain to me what they are doing because they can relate their research to anyone in any discipline when they share their findings. I also think having students explain their research to me ensures that they really understand the concepts and the experimental procedures associated with their projects," said Ms. Mosley.

As Ms. Mosley sees how her students have changed, she is proud to see them establish better communication skills and become successful in their research. This includes Saunders, as she proceeds on to the National JSHS.

"I am glad to see my students grow as individuals and see their hard work pay off They far exceeded my expectations, by just being able to stand in front of their peers and other scientists and a talk at length about their research is astonishing feat," she continued.

Through the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, her public speaking improved and she gained confidence. She was able to meet other researchers and learn about their experiences from their projects.

Written by Michelle Li and Jenna Palme (Class of 2017).
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 edition of Argus.

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