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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.
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