Team NYC sent 14 students off to the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last week. By noon Friday, they had collectively amassed over $22,800 in prize money. (I have to use the word "over" since some of the special awards do not have well-defined monetary values.) The awards are distributed over two days — Thursday evening is for Special Awards, sponsored by a variety of professional organizations, and Friday morning is for Grand Awards, sponsored mostly by the Intel Foundation.
The Intel ISEF is the largest pre-college science competition in the world. Each year, approximately 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for $4 million in prizes.
Every year, millions of students worldwide compete in local and school-sponsored science fairs. Only the best projects form these affiliated fairs are accepted into the Intel ISEF. Students in the five boroughs compete in the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF), a joint venture between the City University of New York and the New York City Department of Education. NYCSEF is itself a large event, with something like 450 projects passing the rigorous standards of the Scientific Review Committee. NYCSEF is so huge that it has to be broken down into two events: a preliminary round and a finals round.
Everyone who attends the Intel ISEF is automatically a winner. Walking through the doors of the convention center into the project space is a reward unto itself for months or even years of toil. An Intel ISEF is five days of practice, competition, entertainment, excitement, rewards, and new friends. What Team NYC accomplished in the week of May 13–18 is not entirely measurable. But for those of you who like hard data, here are the awards we brought back.
The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the largest international pre-college science competition on the planet. Approximately 1,800 high school students from 75 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for $4 million in prizes. The 2018 ISEF is being held once again on two floors of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The 14 students in Team NYC were selected from an original 450 during the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) in March. Aushna Saleem is Midwood's contribution to this outstanding group of young people.
ISEF is a week long event starting with one day each for registration, setup, and practice, one long day of judging, and another day of public viewing. There are so many awards given at ISEF that it takes two days to present them all. Special Awards are given out on Thursday, May 17 in the evening and Grand Awards are given out on Friday, May 18 in the morning.
This was the year of psychology at Midwood Science. All of our NYCSEF First and Second Awards went to students with psychology projects (both human and parakeet). Out of the 9 award winning projects, 5 were connected to the study of human or animal behavior. Engineering, medicine, and environmental science completed the team.
Aushna Saleem won the highest awards of the competition — a NYCSEF First Award and an Intel ISEF Award — for her study of the behavior of Brooklyn's beloved monk parakeets. Hafsa Fatima collected another First Award for her study of monk parakeet vocalization. Aushna and Hafsa worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso from Brooklyn College — a supporter of Midwood Science for 15 years. Aushna will be traveling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to compete in the Intel ISEF in the third week of May.
First time mentors from St. Francis College supported the remaining psychology projects. First Award winners Mei Mei Weng & Judy Huang studied stress and birth order and were supervized by Dr. Steven Anolik. Second Award winners Albina Kukic & Wendy Lliguichuzhca studied factors affecting altruism and were supervised by Dr. Uwe Gielen and Dr. Sung Hun Kim. Albina and Wendy also received the American Psychological Association Award for their exceptional project.
Linda Chen, Yiming Dai, Jennifer Duong, Elizabeth Joseph, Sabina Kubayeva, Beien Lin, Kathy Mania, and Rana Mohammed all received Third Awards. Beien and Kathy were also Semifinalists in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize for their water-related project. Rana received the Yale Science and Engineering Association Award for best engineering project by a junior.
NYCSEF is the annual New York City Science and Engineering Fair sponsored by the New York City Department of Educatation, the City University of New York, and ConEdison. Roughly 570 participants from all five boroughs participated in the Preliminary Round this year at City College on March 4. The top 25% of those advanced to the Finals Round at the American Museum of Natural History on March 20. The top 16 projects go on to represent New York City in the 2,000 student mega-event, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 13–18.
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.
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.
Students and teachers attending the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) were granted free access to the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park after the main part of the competition. Rides and restaurants were made available free of charge from 7 PM until midnight. This included The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Simpsons Ride, Revenge of the Mummy, and Jurassic Park — The Ride. Unlimited Butter Beer was enjoyed by all.
Judging is now underway at the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Team NYC's 14 students are competing against nearly 1,800 students from over 70 countries. This is the biggest science event for high school students on the planet. Our man from Midwood Science is Mahmoud Abouelkheir (2nd from left in the back row). Public viewing is tomorrow, Thursday, May 18 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Come visit us if you're in the downtown LA area.
Back row: Benjamin Firester, Mahmoud Abouelkheir, Gregory Gueorguiev,
Neeraj Sakhrani, Ajmain Yamin, Thomas Lee, Stephanie Li, Vera Zarubin
Front row: Dylan Li, Ryan Foo, Karen Jiang, Jessica Frank, Sharon Lin, Georja Fotiou
NYCSEF is the annual New York City Science and Engineering Fair with hundreds of participants from across the five boroughs. Roughly 400 participants are selected from 700–800 entries to participate in the Preliminary Round held at City College. The top 25% of these go on to the Finals Round at the American Museum of Natural History. These students compete against one another for various awards, internships, scholarships, and cash prizes. The top 16 projects go on to represent NYC at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles, California May 14–19.
Midwood Science is proud to congratulate Mahmoud Abouelkheir for receiving the highest award of the competition — the Intel ISEF Award. Lilin Liu received an award from the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, which includes a paid internship. Allan Nosov and Nomon Mohammad also received special awards. Vivian Luu, Minna Zeldin, and Amna Aslam rounded out the list of award winners.
This year's Finalists worked in the Departments of Biology, Physics, and Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College; the offices of NOAA-CREST at City College; and the Flow Cytometry Core Facility at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Special thanks to all the mentors for their dedication and hard work.
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|
|Nomon Mohammad and Hufsa Tasnim are JSHS Semifinalists|
|Robotics Team Rolls into Victory at FTC|
|Ocean Science Team prepares for competiton|
|Nomon Mohammed receives 2 badges in the 2017 Regeneron STS|
|Urooj Ansari and Bilal Azhar appear on News 12 Brooklyn|
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.
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.
Team NYC paused for a photo opportunity on their way to the 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) at the Phoenix Convention Center this morning. New York City’s top young scientists are ready to compete against more than 1,700 students from around the world. Midwood Science is represented by Bilal Azhar (Material Sciences) and Urooj Ansari (Microbiology) seen in the front row on the far right.
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.
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."
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.
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.”
NYCSEF is the annual New York City Science and Engineering Fair with hundreds of participants from across the five boroughs. Roughly 400 participants are selected from 700–800 entries to participate in the Preliminary Round held at City College. The top 25% of these go on to the Finals Round at the American Museum of Natural History. These students compete against one another for various awards, scholarships, and cash prizes paid out in dollars and, for the first time ever, bitcoins. The top 16 projects go on to represent NYC at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix, Arizona May 8–13.
Midwood Science is proud to congratulate Urooj Ansari and Bilal Azhar for receiving the highest awards of the competition — the Intel ISEF Award — as well as a NYCSEF First Award (Urooj in Microbiology and Bilal in Physics & Space Sciences). Gloria Cao also received a First Award in Microbiology. Midwood has gone many years without winning one First Award. This year we had three! With four Second Awards and six Third Awards this has been our best year since 2004. (That year we had a very rare six students go to ISEF.)
Kieran Bissessar, Nga Ying Lo, and William Xie were each awarded four year scholarships to Hunter College. Max Miloslavsky received two $100 awards from the nonprofit organization Environmental Quest. Joseph Parziale and Kai Saunders received one bitcoin each from the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. (A bitcoin is a virtual, peer-to-peer currency that started in 2009. On the day of the awards ceremony, bitcoins were trading at $417 apiece.)
This year’s Finalists worked at Brooklyn College, SUNY Downstate, NYU (Tandon and Langone campuses), LIU, Cooper Union, and St. Joseph’s College. Special thanks to all the mentors for their dedication and hard work.
Victory revisited the Hornet hive as Lucy Lin’ 15 traveled to Intel ISEF (Intel International Science and Engineering Fair) on May 11. She regained an honor not bestowed to the Intel Science Research class in the last nine years by winning NYSCEF (New York Science and Engineering Fair) with her experiment on removing toxins from the ground using mushrooms.
"ISEF was a life changing experience," said Lin. "I got to meet people who are going to ivy leagues and I still keep in contact with them."
Lin and Mr. Glenn Elert, chaperone, spent one week in the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel for the competition. Mr. Elert made Lin practice her explanation for the judges and went to represent not only Midwood, but New York City. Only 18 students from New York were accepted out of the 1,700 ISEF candidates.
"Her project won because it had real world application," said Mr. Elert. "Plus she did so much work."
Currently, Lin has won first place in NYSCEF and is a finalist for ISEF. In addition, she won first place at the Brooklyn College Science Fair and third place at JSHS (Junior Science and Humanities Symposium).
Lin’s project, "Degradation of TPH-Diesel through Mycoremediation," was about finding out if she could use oyster mushrooms to clean out diesel from contaminated soil. Her conclusion was that the mushrooms weren’t able to degrade due to other factors such as PH levels and bacteria,
"We all put in a lot of effort in our projects," said Lin. "We have been working on our projects since junior year."
Currently in her lab at Brooklyn College, she is passing on her knowledge of how the lab runs and how to use the equipment to the four juniors taking over next year. She worked on her project while four other Midwood students, Vivian Cheng’ 15 and Xiao Yan Hu’ 15, Melissa Li’ 15, Wenli Wang ’15 and their professor, Dr. Joshua Cheng, continued their work.
Lin’s major struggle was the lack of available time to work on her experiment. While Dr. Cheng taught her the basics such as how to test the soil, Lin rarely saw him. As her classmates did other experiments on different topics such as Wang ’15, who researched on removing bacteria using mushrooms or Cheng ’15 who worked on gathering information on a new carbon. Lin was left in the care of Jan Mun, an artist and mushroom specialist. Due to timing of Jan Mun’s schedule, in the beginning, she was only able to attend lab twice a week and then the time was cut down to once a week.
"I’m so proud of Lucy," said Cheng ’15. "I always see her so focused on her project. She deserves the honor."
Lin does not have plans to continue her research as she wants to major in finance and mathematics at Macaulay Honors Baruch College. She leaves her work for those who will follow her.
Massive congratulations go out to Lucy Lin and the other 11 winners at the 2015 NYCSEF Award Ceremony today. Let me explain why.
NYCSEF is the New York City Science and Engineering Fair. It is the largest science fair in the New York metropolitan area and is sponsored by the City University of New York (the nation’s leading urban public university serving more than 480,000 students) and the New York City Department of Education (the largest school system in the US with more than 1.1 million students). NYCSEF begins in December when over 700 students apply. From this pool of applicants, the NYCSEF staff approved something like 460 projects. These students presented their projects to judges at the NYCSEF Preliminary Round on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at City College in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan. The top 141 projects were then selected to present at the NYCSEF Finals Round on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At the end of all of this, 12 Midwood students received awards.
Lucy Lin received a First Place Award as well as an invitation to present at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 10–15, 2015. The last time a Midwood student attended an ISEF competition was back in 2008. Lucy worked under the supervision of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College. Special thanks go out to Dr. Chen who has worked with so many Midwood students.
This award is presented to students with outstanding projects that promote the objectives and mission of Environmental Quest; to bring awareness to the man-made and natural environment. Wiesenthal Award winners each received $100. Midwood Science students won nearly half of these awards. All four students worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso in the Department of Psychology at Brooklyn College. Special thanks go out to Dr. Grasso who has worked with more Midwood students than any other mentor.