The Home of Midwood Science Research

Team NYC at 2018 Intel ISEF Public Viewing

Posted on Monday, May 21, 2018 by for ISEF.

Student standing in front of the left edge of their poster Student standing in front of the left edge of their poster Student standing in front of the left edge of their poster Student standing in front of the left edge of their poster
Student standing in front of the left edge of their poster Student standing in front of the left edge of their poster Student standing in front of the left edge of their poster
One student standing in front of each edge of their poster Student standing in front of the left edge of their poster
Student standing in front of the left edge of their poster Student standing in front of the left edge of their poster Student standing in front of the left edge of their poster Student standing in front of the left edge of their poster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Award of $3,000

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

Second Award of $1,500

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

Third Award of $1,000

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

Fourth Award of $500

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

Special Awards

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

Participants

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

Team NYC arrives in Pittsburgh for ISEF 2018

Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2018 by for ISEF.

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.

Aushna pointing at her name on the wall Group photo in front of the Intel ISEF logo Three yellow steel bridges spanning the Allegheny River

Group photo with Pittsburgh skyline in the background

Aushna pointing to her poster in front of three seated spectators DJ Ravidrums on the giant screen before a large audience Pittsburgh skyline with the Allegheny River in the foreground

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYCSEF 'periodic table' logo

NYCSEF First Award

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

NYCSEF Second Award

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

NYCSEF Third Award

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

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.

Team NYC at 2017 Intel ISEF Public Viewing

Posted on Friday, May 19, 2017 by for ISEF.

Team NYC relaxes at Universal Studios Hollywood, Intel pays the bill

Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2017 by for 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.

Group photo in front of the Unversal Studios globe

Team NYC on its way to the 2017 Intel ISEF

Posted on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 by for ISEF.

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.

Group photo in front of the LA Convention Center
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

7 Midwood students receive NYCSEF awards; Mahmoud Abouelkheir receives ISEF award; Lilin Liu awarded Brooklyn Navy Yard internship

Posted on Sunday, April 2, 2017 by for Awards, ISEF, NYCSEF.

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.

NYCSEF logo

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.

NYCSEF First Award and Intel ISEF Award

ISEF logo
  • Mahmoud Abouelkheir (Microbiology)
    "Intra-microcolony spatial positioning affects antibiotic susceptibility in Neisseria gonorrhoeae."
    Mahmoud worked under the supervision of Dr. Nicolas Biais in the Department of Biology at Brooklyn College.

NYCSEF Second Award

  • Allan Nosov (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    "Lapse rate analysis — model versus observations."
    Allan worked under the supervision of Dr. Brian Vant-Hull in the office of NOAA-CREST at City College. Allan also won a NASA Earth System Science Award for a project that offers the greatest insight into the Earth's interconnected systems.
  • Nomon Mohammad (Engineering)
    "Anthraquinone as an effective electrolyte for redox flow batteries."
    Nomon worked under the supervision of Mr. Domenec Paterno and Dr. Sophia Suarez in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College. Nomon also received the ASM Materials Education Foundation Award for outstanding research related to materials science.

NYCSEF Third Award

Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation logo
  • Lilin Liu (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    "The effectiveness of x‑ray fluorescence on lead contaminated vegetables."
    Lilin worked under the supervision of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College. Lilin also won a Brooklyn Navy Yard Award for an exceptional project that promotes the Navy Yard's commitment to academic excellence and scientific inquiry.
  • Vivian Luu (Chemistry)
    "A variable temperature study of the conductivity and activation energy of aqueous solutions of VOSO4 in 1 M TFSA."
    Vivian worked under the supervision of Mr. Domenec Paterno and Dr. Sophia Suarez in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College.
  • Minna Zeldin (Medicine & Health Sciences)
    "Circuit amplification with DNA strand displacement cascade for the evolution of cell surfaces."
    Minna worked under the supervision of Dr. Sergei Rudchenko in the Flow Cytometry Core Facility at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
  • Amna Aslam (Microbiology)
    "Role of nucleolar stress factors in DNA damage response."
    Amna worked under the supervision of Dr. Anjana D. Saxena in the Department of Biology at Brooklyn College.

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.

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.

Team NYC on its way to the 2016 Intel ISEF

Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 by for ISEF.

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.

Group photo in front of desert plants

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.

15 Midwood students receive NYCSEF awards, scholarships, dollars, and bitcoins; Urooj Ansari and Bilal Azhar receive ISEF awards

Posted on Friday, April 1, 2016 by for Awards, ISEF, NYCSEF.

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.)

NYCSEF logo

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.

NYCSEF First Award and Intel ISEF Award

ISEF logo
  • Urooj Ansari (Microbiology)
    Project: Physical and chemical warfare between Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sanguinis
    Mentor: Dr. Nicolas Biais, Brooklyn College, Department of Biology
  • Bilal Azhar (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: Comparison of work output from first order and second order magnets during magnetic heat transitions
    Mentor: Dr. Karl Sandeman, Brooklyn College, Department of Physics
    Bilal also received an ASM Materials Education Foundation Award for outstanding research related to materials science.

NYCSEF First Award

  • Xiao (Gloria) Jun Cao (Microbiology)
    Project: The effect of tenofovir on bone homeostasis
    Mentors: Dr. Aránzazu Mediero Muñoz and Dr. Bruce Cronstein, NYU Langone Medical Center, Department of Pharmacology

NYCSEF Second Award

  • Yusra AbdurRob (Medicine & Health Sciences)
    Project: Photoreceptor layer thickness in Parkinson’s disease during circadian rhythm
    Mentor: Dr. Ivan Bodis-Wollner, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Department of Neurology
  • Nga Ying Lo (Chemistry)
    Project: Development of an efficient synthesis of aryl trifluoromethylated compounds and the purification of products produced from reactions with vinylketene complexes
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Long Island University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
    Nga Ying also received a Jenny Hunter Scholarship, a merit scholarship of $1,000 per year renewable for up to four years.
  • Joshua Pilipovsky (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: Accuracy of the Ising approximation in quantum computation
    Mentor: Dr. Vladimir Tsifrinovich, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Department of Applied Physics
  • Kai Saunders (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    Project: Urban soils: Metal content in artifacts
    Mentor: Ms. Hermine Huot and Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Brooklyn College, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
    Kai also won a Brooklyn Navy Yard Award and an Association of Women Geoscientists Award. The first of these is for exceptional projects that promote the Navy Yard’s commitment to academic excellence and scientific inquiry and came with a prize of one bitcoin. The second is for exceptional projects submitted by young female geoscientists.

NYCSEF Third Award

  • Kieran Bissessar (Biochemistry)
    Project: A new perspective on the lupus malady
    Mentor: Dr. Donald Gerber, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Department of Medicine
    Kieran also received a Hunter College Sage Scholarship, a merit scholarship of $4,000 per year renewable for up to four years.
  • Emily Hui (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Paternal investment in male-pregnant pipefish Syngnathus fuscus
    Mentor: Ms. Frieda Benun Sutton and Dr. Tony Wilson, Brooklyn College, Department of Biology
  • Victor Lee (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Variations and similarities of nest construction behaviors amongst monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) of identical and different nest sites
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Brooklyn College, Department of Psychology
  • Colleen Simon (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    Project: How does the presence of Stropharia rugoso-annulata in different types of soil affect the growth of ryegrass?
    Mentor: Ms. Jan Mun and Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Brooklyn College, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Xiu Ling Weng (Chemistry)
    Project: Cycloaddition of tricarbonyl iron(0) vinylketene complex with methyl 3-iodopropiolate
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Long Island University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • William Xie (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: Resiliency of proton transport in Nafion 117 after exposure to select solvents
    Mentors: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Brooklyn College, Department of Physics
    William also received a Hunter College Sage Scholarship, a merit scholarship of $4,000 per year renewable for up to four years.

Additional Award Winners

  • Max Miloslavsky (Engineering)
    Project: MYEXOHAND
    Mentor: Dr. Victoria Bill, Cooper Union, Department of Student Programs
    Max won an Environmental Quest Award and a Sarah and Morris Wiesenthal Award for an outstanding project that brings awareness to the man made and natural environment. Each award came with a prize of $100.
  • Joseph Parziale (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Measurement of fitness traits of two common marine species in an urbanized environment: How variable are fitness traits?
    Mentor: Dr. Kestrel Perez, St. Joseph’s College, Department of Biology
    Joseph won a Brooklyn Navy Yard Award and one bitcoin for an exceptional project that promoted the Navy Yard’s commitment to academic excellence and scientific inquiry.

9 years in the making… Lucy Lin awes at international competition

Posted on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 by for ISEF, Media.

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.

Written by Amy Feng.
This article originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of Argus.

Team NYCSEF at 2015 Intel ISEF Public Viewing

Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2015 by for ISEF.

NYC students head out to 2015 Intel ISEF

Posted on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 by for ISEF.

2015 Intel ISEF Opening Ceremony

Posted on Monday, May 11, 2015 by for ISEF.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2015 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania has begun. 2000 science, technology, engineering, and math students from across the globe — with 18 from New York City including Lucy Lin from Midwood High School.

11 Midwood students win NYCSEF Awards, Lucy Lin wins ISEF Award

Posted on Friday, March 27, 2015 by for ISEF, NYCSEF.

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.

NYCSEF First Award and Intel ISEF Award

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.

  • Lucy Lin (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    Project: Degradation of TPH-Diesel in Soil through Mycoremediation.
    Mentor: Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College.

NYCSEF Second Award

  • Raymond Yu (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: The Effects of Sodium Pyrophosphate Tetrabasic on the Conductivity of V4+ Electrolyte for the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery.
    Mentors: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Department of Physics, Brooklyn College

NYCSEF Third Award

  • Monique Powell (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Kinematics of the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) During Courtship Rituals.
    Mentors: Dr. Frank Grasso and Mr. Alfie Supan, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Tamneya Hauter (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: It Must Be True, I Saw It on TV: The Effect of Television on Adolescent Perceptions of Relationships.
  • Zainab Iqbal (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: PTSD Symptoms, Aggression, and Crime Exposure in a Sample of Young Adults.
    Mentor: Dr. Sara Chiara Haden, Department of Psychology, Long Island University
  • Emily Tse (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: Positive Influences on Academic Attitude and Self-Efficacy,
  • Hillary Syeda (Cellular & Molecular Biology)
    Project: Characterization of Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF) Production, Secretion, and Target Cells for LIF within the Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) Niche.
    Mentor: Dr. Christopher Lange, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Sandra Lin (Chemistry)
    Project: Isolation of isomeric catechols 4-chloro-2-ethoxy-5-(triethlysilyl)-[1,1′-biphenyl]-3-ol and 5-chloro-2-ethoxy-4-(triethlysilyl)-[1,1′-biphenyl]-3-ol.
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Long Island University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Michael Divgun (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: The Effect of Polyoxometalate Ion Replacement on Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries.
    Mentors: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Department of Physics, Brooklyn College

Sarah and Morris Wiesenthal Awards

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.

  • Yukie Wong (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Seasonal Variation in Group Size of Monk Parakeets.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Monique Powell (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Kinematics of the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) During Courtship Rituals.
    Mentors: Dr. Frank Grasso and Mr. Alfie Supan, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Mohammed Hasan (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Interpreting Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) Behavior and Calls.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Meghan Ng (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Direction of Gaze and Monk Parakeet Vocalization.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College

CUNY Scholarship Awards

  • Michael Divgun also received a Hunter College Sage Scholarship, which recognizes exceptional academic achievement and potential. Sage Scholars receive substantial tuition awards for 4 years, preferred access to Hunter’s residential housing and housing aid, dedicated advisors, special workshops to facilitate success in college and invitation only events with inspirational faculty and community leaders.
  • Emily Tse and Raymond Yu also received a Hunter College Jenny Hunter Scholarship, which recognizes a high level of academic achievement and potential. Jenny Hunter scholars receive a $1,000 tuition award for 4 years, preferred access to Hunter’s residential housing and housing aid, dedicated advisors, special workshops to facilitate success in college and invitation only events with inspirational faculty and community leaders.

Additional Awards

  • Zainab Iqbal also received an American Psychological Association award for exceptional projects in psychology entered in the behavioral sciences category.
  • Lucy Lin also received an Association for Women Geoscientists award for exceptional projects submitted by a young female geoscientist.
  • Michael Divgun also received an Office of Naval Research, US Navy and Marine Corps award for an outstanding project submitted by an individual student.
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