The Home of Midwood Science Research

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.

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.

Ocean Science buzzes its way to the top

Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 by for Media, Ocean Science.

2016 Bay Scallop Bowl logo

First place went to Midwood’s Ocean Science Team at the 2016 Bay Scallop Bowl administered by Stony Brook University on Saturday, March 5.

Every year, 16 teams from across the state participate at this regional competition of the National Ocean Science Bowl sponsored chiefly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Simply put, teams of four players compete against one another in rounds structured around two "team challenge questions" sandwiched at the beginning and end by a 6 minute round of buzzer questions. During the buzzer round, multiple-choice toss-up questions are read until a team answers one correctly. That team can then collaborate on a short answer bonus question to score additional points. Team challenges are timed worksheets that require all four players to cooperate and think critically to answer the prompts. The team with the most points at the end of the final buzzer round wins.

The day began at 15 minutes before six in the morning at Midwood on Saturday for the coaches, competitors, and spectators as they boarded the bus to Long Island.

"Midwood has sent a team to the Bay Scallop Bowl for seven years with nothing higher than last year’s third place finish, but I have a gut feeling this year is going to make Midwood history," said A-Team coach Mr. Alan Stack.

Group photo
Bart Rosenzweig, Samuel Makarovskiy, Joseph Parziale, Andrew Li, Austin Siu

This year Midwood, once again, had the opportunity to bring an A- and a B-Team to compete.

"Having a B-Team gives the underclassmen a chance to experience the competition and work through their nerves, so they don’t have to go in blind when they compete for the win next year," said A-Team Captain Andrew Li ’16.

Following a complimentary breakfast and guest speakers, the "group stage" that determined seeding began. In the first round, Midwood’s A-Team faced St. Ann’s who had knocked out Midwood and won it all two years prior.

This year, the Hornets would have none of it. Quick buzzing left St. Ann’s in the dust as A-Team racked up a 98-48 victory.

"Their captain had his face in his hands by the end of the match from being beaten to the buzz on nearly every question," said Mr. Stack with a smile.

B-Team faced a quick buzzing team of its own in Commack but still pulled out a win of 74–58.

In the second round, it was Midwood vs. Midwood, which was the friendliest competition either team faced that day. A-Team and B-Team coaches Mr. Stack and Ms. Kimberly Lau shook hands cheerfully, and the round was off. The A-Team quickly took control and won comfortably 114–17. Nonetheless everyone was all smiles.

Midwood's A-Team on stage

Round 3 pitted the A-Team against Commack and the B-Team against St. Ann’s. The A-Team won convincingly 105–52 by the end despite the shocking speed of Commack’s player 3 and some close calls earlier in the match. The B-Team had it tougher facing St. Ann’s and was down by 18 before the final buzzer round. Then B-Team turned it up and began to interrupt with confidence. They clinched the round 60–53 with a final interrupt and bonus with under ten seconds remaining.

"It was a frenzy. We just answered what we knew," continued B-Team co-Captain Allan Nosov ’17, "Luckily, victory was in the forecast."

That marked the end of group stages with the A-Team sitting at 3–0 and B-Team at 2–1. Following lunch, the A-Team was seeded second and set to face 15 seed Bellport.

The A-Team had trouble early on against the underdog Bellport and was only up by four points after the team challenges. Fortunately, in the final buzzer round the Hornets pulled through and won comfortably 73–36.

"Incorrect interrupts almost cost us there, and although we won, it should have been much cleaner," said Li nervously.

However, the real story was when the seventh seed B-Team was set to face the tenth seed Stuyvesant in Round 4. This was higher stakes than usual because it was single elimination, so a loss here meant a team would be booted from competition. Despite giving it their all, the B-Team fell to Stuyvesant by just over 10 points leaving the remaining eight teams in a double elimination tournament.

Samuel Makarovskiy and Andrew Li holding trophy
Samuel Makarovskiy and Andrew Li

"We were tied before the team challenges, we fell behind afterward, and unfortunately Stuy beat us in on the buzz in the final round," said B-Team player Anne Wang ’17.

"Although, I’m disappointed to lose," stated B-Team Co-Captain Jennifer Phu ’17. "Today made me want to place higher when we come back next year."

As luck would have it, the A-Team would face Stuyvesant in Round 5. The A-Team gritted their teeth for a grudge match but led handily early on keeping Stuyvesant to zero until the team challenges. By the end, Midwood won 102–40.

"That wasn’t too bad because we focus exclusively on ocean science," explained A-Team player Bart Rosenzweig ’16, "But their team was visibly just a general science team which gave us the edge."

Round 6 was the winners’ bracket semifinal, and the A-Team won without a hitch against Woodlands 90–28. Rosenzweig stunned the judges by answering a multiple-choice question on taxonomy verbatim before any choices were read.

Round 7 pitted Midwood against the first seed, host, and returning champion Mount Sinai. There was a crowd of Midwood and Mount Sinai spectators watching this winner’s bracket final that pitted two undefeated Goliaths against each other (figuratively of course, because we’re nerds after all). It was tied at 24 following the first toss up round, but the Hornets trailed at the end of the two team challenges. It was close when the Hornets came to within 6 halfway through the final buzzer round, but an interrupt cost them four points. They fell 57–71.

"We tried hard, but we could’ve been faster," remarked A-Team player Joseph Parziale ’16, "It’s not over yet."

This defeat left Mount Sinai in the grand finals undefeated to face the winner of the losers’ bracket finals. There, in Round 8, Midwood faced Stuyvesant for a rematch. It went the same as the first matc — the A-Team picked up points left and right leading the whole way through, winning by over 30 points.

"That loss could’ve demoralized us, but instead we powered on and got our momentum back," exclaimed A-Team alternate Austin Siu ’16.

That left Midwood with one loss versus undefeated Mount Sinai in Round 9. The Hornets needed to win twice in a row to win it all — no small task.

"Let’s go meet our maker," said Rosenzweig nearly with a straight face.

Coach Lau holding fish-shaped balloon in one hand and trophy in another
Coach Lau

Then they were off. The first buzzer round was a blur, but by the end of it Midwood led by nearly 20 points. Despite taking a net point loss from the team challenge questions, Midwood outpaced Mount Sinai in the final buzzer round and won 87–57.

"The pro-Sinai crowd was shocked silent, and I knew the guys could do it!" cheered Ms. Lau.

Before the final round, at well past six in the evening, Mr. Stack simply said, "You did it once. They’re demoralized. Go out there and show them what you can really do."

At the outset, things looked grim. The A-Team was down 0–20 midway through the buzzer round but managed to scrape back to 14–24 by the end of the round. The challenges came, and Li said he didn’t feel at all confident. After the first challenge scores Midwood was down by 16 points, and the boys in blue sunk in their chairs.

"We knew the second even less than we knew the first," said Parziale grimacing.

To the team’s surprise, Midwood scored four more than Mount Sinai. Then down by 12, the Hornets were back in the game.

"I saw them jump to attention in their seats when they saw the scores, and I knew they were back in it," said spectator Michelle Do ’16.

The six minutes began to tick down. Midwood buzzed in correctly and converted a bonus to a come back at 38–40. Then Sinai lengthened their lead to 44–38. Midwood seized the lead for the first time with another toss-up and bonus conversion making the score 48–44, but Sinai quickly tied with two minutes left.

"They were neck-and-neck, and there were less than two minutes left," said Ms. Lau, "My eyes were glued to the stage, and my nails were clawed into my chair. I can only imagine how the guys on stage were feeling."

After a few incorrect responses on both sides, Midwood broke the tenuous tie and took a 52–48 lead with only 30 seconds left. Mount Sinai needed one question to tie and could win with a bonus.

National Ocean Sciences Bowl logo

The moderator began to read. It was about the Portuguese man o’ war’s anatomy. The reader got to the second choice. There was a buzz, interrupt, recognition, an answer and silence. Time was at five seconds. The reader looked down at the screen. He looked back up and said, "INCORRECT." There was a hush in the crowd. Minus four from Mount Sinai. Mr. Stack threw his hands into the air. Mount Sinai’s player 1 held his head in his hands. Time ran out. Midwood got a full reread and answered correctly. There was applause. The bonus question was foregone. The reader kept reading, but time was out. The time keeper yelled, "GAME." It was Sinai–44 and Midwood–56.

"There it was. Midwood had won, and I couldn’t believe it," gasped Ms. Lau, "I had to wait for the announcer to be sure."

"These guys put in years of work and it paid off in full," said spectator, alumnus, and former Captain Helen Wong ’15.

The next stop for Midwood is National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Morehead City, North Carolina in late April.

"I knew they could do it," concluded Mr. Stack. "I couldn’t be happier for them and what their victory will mean for the school for years to come."

Written by Samuel Makarovskiy (Class of 2016).
A redacted version of this article appeared in the March 2016 edition of Argus.

Students take on Math Challenge

Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2016 by for Media, Miscellaneous.

Scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 will be awarded to the victors of the 2016 Moody’s Mega Math Challenge. Ten Midwood students competed nationally against other high schools in two teams of five, held on February 27 and 28.

Annually, Moody’s Mega Math Challenge (also known as the M3) organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) tests the intelligence and creativity of high school juniors and seniors. Each high school can have two teams of three to five students who solve a task that challenges their knowledge in applied mathematics. The team has 14 consecutive hours to submit a solution electronically. The papers of the top six teams are posted on the M3 website, each receiving prizes, in which the first place team receives $20,000. The top six finalist teams in the Challenge will be invited to Moody’s Corporation headquarters in Manhattan to present their papers for the final confirmation phase of judging.

Logo banner

"The M3 Challenge allows students a chance to experience a timely and relevant challenge that requires mathematical modeling and analysis to find a solution," said Ms. Linda Grabowski, the teacher coach for this challenge. "It helps promote STEM education and shows the value of math to solve problems like this. It enables students to experience the challenges that an applied mathematician or someone in a related career choice might face."

This year’s task was focused on car sharing companies and their potential profits, such as Zipcar and Uber. The team members had to generate mathematical and logistical models to present their solution.

Midwood’s first team was made up of seniors Irla Belli, Zhivko Evtimov, Boris Arbuzov, Elizabeth Krazner, and junior Michael Grandel. The second team was made up of juniors Zainab Jamil, Elizabeth Skapley, Jennifer Phu, Nomon Mohammad, and Zainab Salahudin.

Both teams had a similar opinion about the problem, which was deemed to be abstract and diverted from past examples. For example, the 2015 question dealt with college tuition and future success, and the 2014 question dealt with lunch cost and nutrition values.

"I thought that the challenge was very thought provoking and allowed for many theoretical analyses to be made," said Belli. "However, it really tested our capabilities since there was less conventional math involved than we hoped. Since that was the case, we were somewhat caught off guard by the challenge but attempted to seize the moment and work together to produce a solution paper. We approached the problem logically while staying in Starbucks for 11 hours and then going to a friend’s house for the remaining three hours."

These real world problems are normally tackled by experienced applied mathematicians, but this competition presents these problems to students who are expected to provide a solution in 14 hours. This requires versatility from the competitors that is normally present in the mathematicians. Therefore, the inexperience of the competitors promotes dilemmas within the group.

Ms. Grabowski said, "The M3 challenge promotes team-work and brainstorming to come up with many ideas and concepts, but the group has to come to an agreement on one method of attack for their shared solution within the time allocated."

Arbuzov confirmed this, revealing the issues his team faced. He said, "In my opinion, a big issue was a lack of direction from the group. Being previously unexposed to such problems, we struggled to figure out a set plan. This lead to confusion within the group about what we were researching and disagreements of approach. Overall, this culminated in a large loss of time."

The math challenge can also be a representation of how high school prepares their students for the real world. This math challenge exemplifies the high school educational system based on how malleable the students are when it comes to applying what they’ve learned. The competitors from Midwood seem to have contradicting views as to how Midwood’s curriculum prepares them for these situations.

"Midwood prepared us because of the tasks that we do in our classrooms," said Salahudin. "We were taught how to effectively manage our time while working cooperatively with our team. Our end results incorporate our hard work and ideas that came from everyone in the group."

Some students thought otherwise. For example, Evtimov said. "After participating in the challenge, I believe Midwood does not prepare students well enough to survive in real world occupations. Our curriculum is based on the New York State Regents exams, Common Core agenda and the AP exams. None of the classes actually helped us approach this question."

Written by Michael Grandel and Olga Savuk (Class of 2017).
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 edition of Argus.

Research students thrive at JSHS competition

Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2016 by for JSHS, Media.

Seniors have once again taken the annual Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) competition by storm.

Both Kai Saunders ’16 and Josh Pilipovsky ’16 were recognized for their outstanding work and represented our school with prestige. With 11Midwood students entered into this competition, seven of them made it to the finals round. Pilipovsky ’16 went ahead and won third place in the Physics category while Saunders ’16 was a finalist and won first in the Chemistry category.

JSHS is a competition which focuses around STEM in grades 9–12 but Midwood has decided to only enter seniors. Entrants must comprise a project with the help of their mentor and supervising research teacher. Individuals then compete in JSHS for scholarships and recognition by presenting to a panel of judges and an audience of peers.

Group Photo
Midwood’s 7 JSHS Semifinalists: Kieran Bissessar, Joshua Pilipovsky, Nga Ying Lo, Victor Lee, Kai Saunders, Quetourah Dalencourt, Christine Ly

These top students had the help of their science research teachers who include Mr. Glenn Elert, the Research Coordinator and physics teacher, Ms. Shaniece Mosley, chemistry teacher, and Ms. Jennifer Sullivan, biology teacher. All three teachers have an immense amount of knowledge in their field of study and can provide students with insight that will lead them to success.

The process of choosing eleven students out of the entire senior research class was long and demanding. Students were chosen to represent Midwood by having intricate and well-designed projects.

"The best projects balance background research with laboratory skills." stated Mr. Elert.

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

Saunders ’16 project regarding the study of heavy metal content of artifacts found in urban soil helped her not only advance to the National JSHS but also expand her knowledge about the environment itself.

Students could not have completed these intricate projects without the help of their laboratory mentors.

Kieran Bissessar ’16 said that his project would have gotten nowhere without his mentor, Dr. Donald Gerber from the SUNY Downstate Medical Center, as he is very knowledgeable. Research students are allowed to intern at any location most suitable for them and favorable for their field of study. Colleges that many of the seniors participate at include but are not limited to Brooklyn College, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and NYU.

Individuals had access to immense amount of information provided by both their mentors and the research teachers. Even when Ms. Mosley is not familiar with the topic that a student is researching, she still manages to aid them in the process of perfecting their research.

Written by Abeer Naeem and Clifford Young (Class of 2017).
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 edition of Argus.

Hornet demonstrates outstanding qualities

Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2016 by for Media, Robotics.

From being a member of Robotics’ Bötley Crüe to editor of Argus, to participating in the Red Cross and Glee clubs, Midwood’s Quetourah Dalencourt ’16 is a prime example of Midwood’s finest.

Dalencourt started her Midwood experience in the Liberal Arts program and worked her way up to the Medical Science program, participating in many extra-curriculars and advanced classes. Dalencourt was originally set to attend Aviation High School in Queens, but her love for the Medical Science program made her apply here, but the only spots available were in the Liberal Arts program.

"I was supposed to go to this Aviation High School in Queens, but I really didn’t want to go," said Dalencourt "It’s a good school, but Midwood was my first choice school because I really loved Med-Sci, but there was no space. So I just joined as LASI and switched."

Portrait of Quetourah seated

Dalencourt participates in the Red Cross Club, Glee Club, Robotics’ Bötley Crüe and is an editor for Argus, along with starting her own Computer Coding Club.

"I joined these clubs because they are just things that I really enjoy doing," said Dalencourt "Like when I first started journalism, I was wondering why I was in the class, but once we learned about layouts and everything, I thought it was cool and definitely something that I could do."

Dalencourt also does undergraduate research at NYU as a part of the Midwood Science Research program.

Dalencourt has always had a passion for volunteer work and helping people, which is why she was thrilled at the Red Cross Club starting in Midwood.

"I was so excited when the Red Cross Club started because the work that they do is really amazing, and I try my best to attend the events," said Dalencourt.

Dalencourt joined the robotics team as a programmer because of her love for computer programming. She was asked to join the team as a programmer despite not taking the required robotics and mechatronics courses.

"I started the coding club because when I began coding I wanted to meet other programmers. Since Midwood didn’t have one, I decided to make my own," said Dalencourt "I met a lot of kids that I didn’t even know were interested in computer science."

Dalencourt plans to double major in computer science and business administration, but also wants to do volunteer work.

"I think it’s really great and important to help people, so it’s something that I really want to do," said Dalencourt "I also want to travel the world, especially to Tokyo because they are really tech savvy and the technology they have there is really great."

She is also a part of the team that works on the yearbook.

"It’s really great because I get a sneak peek at everything that’s going to be in it," said Dalencourt. "We all work together as a team to create the best yearbook possible."

Dalencourt has been a member of Glee club since freshman year.

"Glee club is a lot of fun and I made a ton of great friends," said Dalencourt.

Dalencourt encourages students to participate in extracurricular activities.

"I think anyone can join any club If there is something that you like to do, join the club for it If there is no club for it, then make the club," said Dalencourt. "You get to meet new people who enjoy doing the same thing, and you get to learn from them which is pretty awesome."

Written by Kaelah Blanchette (Class of 2017).
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 edition of Argus.

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