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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.

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Glenn Elert — Coordinator

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