The Home of Midwood Science Research

RockEDU Presents: Live podcast with bacteria biologist Victor Torres

Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 by for Extra Credit, Lectures.

Students will join Rockefeller's Dr. Toshiki Nakashige, the host of Scientist podcast, as he interviews Victor Torres, Associate Professor of Microbiology at NYU School of Medicine. Learn about the opportunistic bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, and about Victor's scientific journey, which starts in Puerto Rico.

This event is open to all high school students in the New York City area, free of charge. Register with Eventbrite for a free ticket. Extra credit will be awarded to students who complete the usual requirements for attending a lecture.

Petri dish with bacterial colonies

Date and Time
Friday, March 15, 2019
4:30 PM–6:00 PM EDT
Carson Family Auditorium
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue
New York NY 10065

4 Midwood students present for the 2019 Eastern Psychological Association Annual Meeting

Posted on Friday, March 1, 2019 by for Publications.

EPA logo

The 90th meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) was held at the Times Square Marriott Marquis Hotel over the weekend of February 28–March 2. Like most conventions, the EPA features guest speakers, workshops, and vendor booths relevant to professionals. The EPA also runs poster sessions where undergraduate and graduate students present their research projects.

This year Midwood was proud to send two teams of high school researchers to present alongside the college students. Seniors Basimah Zahid and Zuha Ahmed presented in the Clinical Psychology session. Juniors Serena Duran and Naffisat Atanda with their mentor Dr. Laura Egan presented in the Cognitive Psychology session.

The Eastern Psychological Association is the oldest of the regional psychological associations in the United States. Its purpose is to advance the science and profession of psychology through the dissemination of professional information.

Basimah Zahid, Zuha Ahmed Page from the abstract book
  • Basimah Zahid and Zuha Ahmed (Clinical Psychology)
    Project: Child maltreatment, adult attachment styles, and emotional dysregulation.
    Mentor: Dr. Sara Chiara Haden, Department of Psychology, Long Island University
Dr. Laura Egan, and Serena Duran, Naffisat Atanda Page from the abstract book
  • Serena Duran and Naffisat Atanda (Cognitive Psychology)
    The impact of ambiguous threat on behavioral inhibition in social anxiety
    Mentor: Dr. Laura Egan, Department of Psychology, St. Francis College
Empty ballroom Full ballroom

Midwood seniors capture half the awards at 2019 St. Joseph’s College Poster Session, Rana Mohamed takes first place

Posted on Saturday, February 9, 2019 by for Awards, St. Joseph's.

St. Joseph's College coat of arms

Saturday, February 9, 2019 was the 23rd Annual Research Poster Session for High School Students at St. Joseph's College New York. This event is open to all high school students in any field of scientific research and is sponsored by the Chemical Education Committee of the New York Section of the American Chemical Society. Midwood Science students collected half the awards this year with Hudson County, New Jersey's Union City High School and High Tech High School sharing the other half. Midwood's Rana Mohamed and her "passive walker" robot took First Place.

First Place

  • Rana Mohamed
    Project: Energy monitoring systems for mobile robotic systems.
    Mentor: Mr. William Zhiren Peng and Dr. Joo H. Kim, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Honorable Mention

  • Ahmad Choudhry and Daniel Gaft
    Project: Synthesis and cycloadditions of vinylketene iron (0) complexes using 2,4,6-triisopropylbenzenesulfonyl hydrazones.
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Long Island University
  • Andrew Korbin, Humayara Karim, and Yenny Huang
    Project: Phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated soils using Brassica juncea.
    Mentor: Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College
  • Emily Movsumova
    Project: Unknown Streptococcus strain specific to killing and inhibiting growth of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria elongata.
    Mentor: Dr. Nicolas Biais, Department of Biology, Brooklyn College
  • Maryam Khan
    Project: Defining the mechanisms of memory associated neural ensembles in the hippocampus.
    Mentor: Dr. Juan Marcos Alarcon, Department of Pathology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Nathan Reder
    Project: Analysis of writing quality by automated scoring systems to identify factors to support poor college writers.
    Mentor: Dr. Mark Lauterbach, Department of Early Childhood and Art Education, Brooklyn College
Individual photos by Eva Lai. Group photo courtesy of SJC High School Poster Session on Flickr.
Student standing beside their posterboard Students standing beside their posterboard Students standing beside their posterboard
Group photo on stage
Student standing beside their posterboard Student standing beside their posterboard Student standing beside their posterboard

5 Midwood students compete at the 2019 JSHS semifinals, Ahmad Choudry takes 3rd place in chemistry

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2019 by for Awards, JSHS.

JSHS logo

Sunday, February 3, 2019 was the 11th occurrence of the New York City Metro Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) at York College in Queens. JSHS is a program sponsored by the US Department of Defense to promote original STEM research and experimentation at the high school level. Select students present their findings to their peers and a panel of expert judges at regional symposia held across the US.

The NYC Metro JSHS only accepted about 120 projects for this year's competition. 5 Midwood students representing 4 projects made it to the Semifinals round with the team of Ahmad Choudhry and Daniel Gaft taking Third Place in Chemistry.

Third Place

  • Ahmad Choudhry and Daniel Gaft (Chemistry)
    Project: Synthesis and cycloadditions of vinylketene iron (0) complexes using 2,4,6-triisopropylbenzenesulfonyl hydrazones.
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Long Island University


  • Rana Mohamed (Engineering)
    Project: Energy monitoring systems for mobile robotic systems.
    Mentor: Mr. William Zhiren Peng and Dr. Joo H. Kim, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NYU Tandon School of Engineering
  • Fizza Nayab (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Monk to monk communication: Do monk parakeet calls influence conspecific behaviors?
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Annabel Xie (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) prefer to nest in greenspace in New York City compared to other types of land.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
Group photo on a balcony
Group photo in a lecture hall Group photo in a lecture hall

Junior Teacher Assignments

Posted on Thursday, January 31, 2019 by for Juniors.

Updated 01/31/2019
Elert Juniors Katzoff Juniors Mosley Juniors
Shaireen Akter Sezer Benoit-Savci Naffisat Atanda
Anna Azaryev Ashley Chin Zyhra Casero
Ihtsham Chaudhry Kelly Guan Justin Chow
Hong Wei Chen Victoria Habbchy Serena Duran
Oliwia Dankiw Jasmine Huang Tristan Ene
Nadzeya Fliaha Anum Jabeen Gloria Glenn
Tanzena Haque Alyssa Kattan Henry Hua
Mariyum Jahan Suraiya Khoja Idrees Ilahi
Nasrin Kashem Ali Leventeli Emily Hoan Ly
Esther Lee Jessica Lin Nisha Manahil
Blessin McFarlane Noor Mohammad Tanisa Rahman
Alana Neria Lameya Rahman Robiyakhon Ramziddinova
Kevin Ng Laura Rosas Vidal Defne Sener
Gabriella Shalumov Stella Ruan Linda Zhang
Sarah Sookoo Tracy Shi Rebecca Zhang
Meghan Stern Jessica Zheng Victor Zheng
Shakira Thompson    

NYCSEF paperwork delivered

Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 by for NYCSEF.

Assembled paperwork for NYCSEF 2019. 27 projects. 34 students. Weight in the Earth's gravitational field: 66 newtons. Delivered today at 2:25 PM.

Interview with Science Fair documentarians on Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria

Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 by for Everyone.

Talk Nerdy logo

Cara Santa Maria is a Los Angeles area journalist, science communicator, television personality, producer, and podcaster. Cara is the creator and host of a weekly science podcast called Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria and cohosts the popular Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast.

In episode 235 of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined in studio by documentarians Christina Costantini and Darren Foster. They talk about their wonderful new film, Science Fair, which Cristina describes as a love letter to the subculture that saved her and that critics agree will restore your faith in humanity.

Midwood High School will be screening this film for students, alumni, and their families on Friday, December 14 from 5 to 7 PM. Please register if you are interested in attending.

Are you ready for NYCSEF paperwork day?

Posted on Sunday, December 9, 2018 by for NYCSEF, Seniors.

Seniors. We will be assembling paperwork for NYCSEF on Monday, December 10, 2018 starting period 6. All copies will be made at this time using the heavy duty photocopiers in Mr. Rosenfeld’s office (A200) or Ms. Kornaker's office (A300). I will bring large envelopes, staples, binder clips, and labels. You will bring your completed paperwork including…

Print everything single sided and do not staple anything yet.

Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory tossing papers into the air Konan from Naruto showing her paper magic skills Kittens playing in a pile of papers

RockEDU Presents: Knowledge is power: Can you own an idea?

Posted on Friday, November 9, 2018 by for Extra Credit, Juniors, Lectures, Seniors.

The Founding Fathers called for a patent system in the Constitution to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." On June 19, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued patent number 10 million. Patent 10 million marked a historical point in the American intellectual property system dating back to the first U.S. patent, signed 228 years ago by George Washington on July 31, 1790, and issued to Samuel Hopkins for a process of making potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer. Since then, the patent system has grown with applications across all scientific disciplines. While supporters of the patent system argue that it drives innovation, others argue that the system is skewed to favor large corporations and encourages monopolies. Laura Macro, PhD, JD is an Associate at a large New York law firm and she will lead the discussion.

Dr. Macro earned her PhD in Cellular Biophysics from The Rockefeller University in 2012 and her JD from Fordham University in 2017. Dr. Macro focuses her practice on patent litigation and prosecution in the life sciences sector. Dr. Macro is well versed in a variety of technologies, and her experience includes representing a wide range of companies, from start-ups to large research universities.

This event is open to all high school students in the New York City area, free of charge. Register now! Extra credit will be awarded to students who complete the usual requirements for attending a lecture.

Fri, November 16, 2018 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM EST
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Carson Family Auditorium
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Ave. New York, NY 10065
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2018 Major Trends in Modern Cancer Research

Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2018 by for Extra Credit, Lectures.

Add to Calendar

On Wednesday, November 7, 2018, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will host its twelfth annual Major Trends in Modern Cancer Research lecture for high school and college students. (Members of the public are also welcome to attend.) The event will take place from 5:30–7:30 PM on the first floor of Memorial Sloan Kettering's Rockefeller Research Laboratories building (430 East 67th Street, between York and First Avenues).

Registration is preferred for this free event. Get there a bit early if possible to get a good seat. Pizza and refreshments will be served before the lecture begins. Single use MetroCards will be made available for any student who needs one to attend.

One point of extra credit will be awarded to all students who attend and complete this assignment for any one of the speakers. (Consult the Extra Credit web page for more info.) Official attendance is taken by group photo at the end of the event. Submit your completed (typed) assignment to Mr. Elert's Research Room mailbox by Friday, November 9.

Portrait Moderator

Memorial Sloan Kettering President Craig B. Thompson studies molecular signaling pathways that regulate nutrient uptake and the role these pathways play in the regulation of cell growth and survival.

Portrait T-Cell Immunotherapy for Solid Tumors

Physician-scientist Prasad Adusumilli studies tumor immunology and the development of T-cell-mediated immunotherapy for thoracic malignancies and pleural-based diseases.

Portrait Big Ideas in Small Spaces: Brain Tumor Microenvironments

Physician-scientist Adrienne Boire studies metastasis to the central nervous system.

Portrait Decoding the Complexity of the Cancer Cell Society

Cancer biologist Tuomas Tammela investigates cellular heterogeneity in lung, pancreatic and colon cancers.

Temporary teacher assignments

Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2018 by for Seniors.

Temporary teacher assignments Updated Thursday, October 25, 2018
Mr. Elert Ms. Mosley
Zuha Ahmed Rubhiyah Chaudhry
Ashley Chen Ahmad Choudhry
Sevara Mallaboeva Jia Ci Deng
Elizabeth Redmond Daniel Gaft
Kamille Shivwkumar Emily Movsumova
Basimah Zahid  

Temporary teacher assignments

Posted on Sunday, October 21, 2018 by for Juniors.

Temporary teacher assignments Updated Sunday, October 21, 2018
Mr. Elert Ms. Mosley
Hong Wei Chen Zyhra Casero
Justin Chow Serena Duran
Tristan Ene Gloria Glenn
Henry Hua Jason Goyfman
Idrees Ilahi Esther Lee
Alyssa Kattan Victor Noel
Emily Ly Meghan Stern
Jessica Meza Pineda Alina Zanub
Kevin Ng  
Defne Sener  
Sarah Sookoo  
Shakira Thompson  

Poly Prep presents Women In Science and Engineering (Poly W.I.S.E.)

Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 by for Extra Credit, Juniors, Seniors, Sophomores.

Women In Science and Engineering (W.I.S.E.) is a free annual symposium, founded by Poly Prep educators, Fleurette Turkenkopf and Jamie Nestor. Since it began in 2012, the one-day conference has inspired NYC middle and high school girls to pursue science and engineering and has introduced them to a wide range career options in STEM fields.

Each year, girls from all over the tri-state area descend on the beautiful Poly campus in Brooklyn for a day of inspiration and creativity. They meet accomplished women who work in STEM fields and enjoy a day of hands-on experiences in a variety of workshops specifically designed for grades 5–12. In the workshops, girls collaborate to solve problems using creative design processes. Run exclusively by women, the girls who participate in W.I.S.E. are able to see themselves in the program’s leaders. They leave empowered with the confidence to pursue higher education in STEM and a better understanding of a wide range of career opportunities they may pursue. Through W.I.S.E. and its philosophy, Poly continues to attract girls interested in STEM and to inspire women who are already here.

If you enjoy science, technology, or math, love to tinker and see how things work, or wonder what engineers do, W.I.S.E. welcomes you. This year’s W.I.S.E. event is on Sunday, November 11 from 9 AM to 4 PM at Poly Prep Country Day School, 9216 7th Ave, Brooklyn NY 11228. Please visit to register or email to learn more.


STEM Career Day

Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 by for Extra Credit, Juniors, Seniors, Sophomores.

Do you know any high school students interested in learning about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)? If so, encourage them to register now for the 7th Annual STEM Career Day on Tuesday, November 6!

High School students interested in learning more about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), are invited to participate in STEM Career Day on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 to learn first-hand about career pathways in these fields by visiting up to two New York City companies for an inside look. There are so many STEM careers in unexpected places. High school students sign up for the event individually and travel on their own to the companies. Sessions take place at each company and occur from 10:00–11:30 AM and 1:00–2:30 PM. Registration is required. All participants will receive a free t-shirt and a round-trip MetroCard. Sign up now for this amazing experience! Learn more about this opportunity and register to participate. Registration deadline is Friday, October 19, 2018. For questions, email

Junior teacher assignments

Posted on Monday, September 24, 2018 by for Juniors.

Midwood Science Research 2019
Elert Juniors Katzoff Juniors Mosley Juniors
Naffisat Atanda Zyhra Casero Shaireen Akter
Anna Azaryev Hong Wei Chen Lachin Beginyazova
Sezer Benoit Savci Justin Chow Ihtsham Chaudhry
Carolynn Cortez Serena Duran Ashley Chin
Basit Ejaz Tristan Ene Oliwia Dankiw
Nadzeya Fliaha Gloria Glenn Kelly Guan
Sally Gao Jason Goyfman Tanzena Haque
Edward Guiracocha Henry Hua Sofia Jules
Victoria Habbchy Idrees Ilahi Nasrin Kashem
Anum Jabeen Alyssa Kattan Jessica Lin
Suraiya Khoja Esther Lee Sammi Lin
Ali Leventeli Emily Ly Nisha Manahil
Lameya Rahman Jessica Meza Pineda Blessin Mcfarlane
Robiyakhon Ramziddinova Kevin Ng Noor Mohammad
Stella Ruan Victor Noel Almedina Mulic
Gabriella Shalumov Defne Sener Diyora Mullaeva
Tracy Shi Sarah Sookoo Alana Neria
Linda Zhang Meghan Stern Tanisa Rahman
Jessica Zheng Shakira Thompson Laura Rosas Vidal
Victor Zheng Alina Zanub Rebecca Zhang
Wei Tao Zhu    

Updated senior teacher assignments

Posted on Friday, September 7, 2018 by for Seniors.

Midwood Science Research 2019
Elert Seniors Katzoff Seniors Mosley Seniors
Bareera Abid Zuha Ahmed Amy Chen
Larissa Brijmohan Ashley Chen Yenny Huang
Kevin Chen Maggie Chen Humayara Karim
Muhammad Hamza Ahmad Choudhry Andrew Kobrin
Esrat Islam Jia Ci Deng Eva Lai
Nursat Jahan Daniel Gaft Zara Nadeem
Christal Jean-Soverall Sevara Mallaboeva Eduardo Peña Barrios
Maryam Khan Emily Movsumova Nathan Reder
Rui Ting (Toby) Li Elizabeth Redmond Rina Sheynin
Rana Mohamed Kamille Shivwkumar Susana Tzunun Yax
Fizza Nayab Basimah Zahid  
Kenny Pierre Louis Amy Zheng  
Miguel Rendon Lucero    
Yvette Somersel    
Annabel Xie    

And the winners of the 2018 Midwood Science Fair are…

Posted on Friday, June 8, 2018 by for Awards, Science Fair.

1st Place

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Alyssa Kattan
The Ability of Chiral Glucose Molecules to Rotate the Plane of Polarized Light
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Diyora Mullaeva & Sally Gao
The effect of climate on the sustainability of solar and battery powered cars

2nd Place

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Naffisat Atanda
What Birth Order Says about your Average
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Duha Mousa
Conformity in Midwood High School
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Sammi Lin & Vivian Chong
The Effect of Breaks on Learning New Information

3rd Place

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Jaylene Cruz
RFID: Blocking Radio Frequency Identification Signals
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Serena Duran & Victoria Habbchy
The Effect of Substrate Concentration on the Activity of the Enzyme Catalase

Honorable Mention

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Nadzeya Fliaha
The Relative Probability of Banking a Basketball
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Sarah Sookoo & Idrees Ilahi
pH and Arsenic Correlation in Baby Formula
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Jubaida Mehak & Zahra Mehdi
Fermentation on the Production of Biofuels
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Jessica Lin & Lameya Rahman
Corrosion of Steel and pH
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Noor Mohammad & Alana Neria
Ladybugs vs. X-ray Radiation
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Tanisa Rahman & Nolani Carter
Makeshift Polarimeter: Chiral Molecules and Angle of Polarization

Science fair demonstrates students’ excellence

Posted on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 by for Media, Science Fair.

The stage was set for sophomore researchers as they presented their projects for all research students to see during the annual science fair.

Even though the science fair was for the sophomores of AP Capstone, it was mandatory for juniors and seniors who had previously taken AP Capstone to attend.

Juniors and seniors had a job to fulfill. The job of utmost importance was that of a judge. Some students prepared the tables so that food could be placed on them.

"The science fair was the biggest ever," said Mr. Glenn Elert, the research teacher. "We had more seniors this year than last year. We had more alumni than ever before. Normally teachers are substitute judges. We had so many judges that we didn't need any teachers to judge."

Not all projects are graded the same. Depending on whether or not they worked alone or with someone else, the total points someone could receive differed. For example, if you worked alone, the presentation would be scored out of 60 points. However, if you worked with a partner, the presentation would be scored out of 70 points.

The topics that students chose weren't just random topics. Some students chose a certain topic because of their love for a certain class or the topic itself.

"I have AP Chemistry, and I want to put what I learn into use. I want to show them that AP Chemistry matters," said Alyssa Kattan '20, who did her project on the ability of chiral glucose molecules to polarize light.

Ihtsham Chaudhry said '20, "I had great interest in my science fair topic on the regeneration process of planarian worms, and it helped me develop new knowledge on a planarian worm that I didn't know before."

While some students decided to work in pairs, others decided to work alone.

"I decided to work alone. I am kind of a perfectionist. By working alone, it is easy to maintain my standards," said Kattan.

Jennifer Wu '20 said, "I find that when I work alone, I exert more choice on what I want to put on the board."

Not all students had the equipment needed to do the project. As a result, they turned to the school for the necessary equipment.

"It was a bit difficult because I didn't have the right equipment," said Jennifer Wu. "I didn't have an electronic balance net and beakers. So I did the experiment at school. All I had to do was ask the science department so that I could do the work in school."

Getting the presentation ready for the science fair wasn't an easy job. It required a lot of time and effort. Luckily, AP Capstone, including its teachers and students, were there to help each other out.

"AP Capstone is a phenomenal program that allow students to pursue scientific interests that many other schools cannot provide," said Armin Pasukanovic '20.

Kathy Mania wearing orange traffic safety cones Group photo of seniors and teachers Alumni judges from the classes of 2014 and 2016

Kattan said, "I have never done a presentation for a science fair before. Teachers and students from research helped me navigate the process step by step. They were always there for when I had questions to ask."

The judges were very impressed by the work sophomores put into their presentations.

"I think the presentations they made are very advanced. Their presentations have a very meaningful purpose and can help change the world. Sophomores, even though they are only 14 or 15, have a lot of potential. They are also very organized," said Neslani Johnson '19.

Bareera Abid '19 said, "It was interesting to see what sophomores did. It was new and unique."

The science fair didn't consist of only Midwood students and staff. Midwood alumni were also there. Some of them were even judges for the science fair.

"This is my first time in two years coming back to Midwood," said Laila Akallal, an alumni who graduated from Midwood in 2016. "It is great to see how much the research program has grown."

Written by Cindy Wang and Rubhiyah Chaudhry (Class of 2019).
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 edition of Argus.

Hornets take home prizes in Brooklyn College science fair

Posted on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 by for Brooklyn College, Media.

After a lot of research, high school and college students presented their findings at Brooklyn College Science day held on May 4 at the Brooklyn College Student Center.

Every spring, students from different communities gather to celebrate Science Day. From high school students to graduate students in universities. The Brooklyn College website states that students competed and showcased 125 projects in 14 different fields of science with over 50 faculty members as judges. Some of the fields included Psychology, Biology, Robotics, and Chemistry. In each field first, second, and third place is awarded to students with the best project.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "This gives us an opportunity to contemplate the importance of scholarship in the science. All of our students deserve a robust and inspiring STEM education. Not only to prepare for jobs of the future, but develop skills to make them better students, employees, and citizens." 

Seven Midwood students from the Biomimetic and Cognitive Robotics Laboratory (BCR Lab) who worked with professor and Psychology teacher Dr. Frank Grasso, presented their projects. These students are Kevin Chen '19, Larissa Brijmohan '19, Fizza Nayab '19, Annabel Xie '19, Aushna Saleem '18, Hafsa Fatima '18, Nila Mirza '18 and Soanne Saint Victor '18. The students were supervised by Mr. Glenn Elert and Ms. Susan Katzoff.

"It was an amazing opportunity to present in front of college professors and being able to experience public speaking as a junior," said Nayab. She presented a team project with Brijmohan on how Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) influence conspecific behaviors.

Each of these students was judged by two judges and were asked many questions, such as how the results from their project can benefit society.

Group photo under a flowering tree
Susan Katzoff (teacher), Fizza Nayab, Glenn Elert (teacher), Hafsa Fatima, Soanne Saint Victor, Joyce Chow, Aushna Saleem, Naila Mirza, Ivy Li, Kevin Chen, Beien Lin, Kathy Mania, Larissa Brijmohan, Annable Xie, Nursat Jahan

"I was very nervous while presenting to the judges and the people that came to view my project, but I was very surprised when the judges didn't really ask me many questions," said Xie. She presented a project that determined whether Monk Parakeets had a preference for the residential area or the urban area.

After all the presentations were judged, the scores were tallied up while the presenters and faculty enjoyed an amazing lunch. Midwood took 2 out of 3 wins for the high school division breaking a clean sweep streak (2014-2017). The first place winner was Chen who presented his project called "Aggression on the beach: Crowding increases aggression levels on fiddler crabs (Uca pugilator) colonies."

"I was shocked and was really thrilled when my name was announced," said Chen. "My hard work and patience paid off and I thank Dr. Frank Grasso and the BCR lab members for helping me gather my data."

Fatima earned second place with a project called "The effect of temperature on the frequency of vocalization of Myiopsitta Monachus." The third place winner was Kemal Aziz '18, from Staten Island Tech, with the project called "Cooling through quantum mechanics: Magnon-based description of magnetocaloric effects in La-Fe-Si, CoMnSi, and gadolinium."

Mr. Glenn Elert stated, "Brooklyn College Day is always good. Midwood constantly performs and it's nice to meet with other professors from different high schools and colleges. My advice for students who want to participate next year is to just do it. Give it a shot." 

As for the future, these research students are continuing their projects and building on to them with help of their lab professors and research teacher Mr. Elert, so that they can be ready to present at the NYCSEF in 2019.

"A student is not going to perform well in competitions if he/she just does a presentation, they will get better by gaining experience with real judges, where they ask you questions and other procedures like in the real event," said Mr. Elert.

Written by Nursat Jahan and Daniel Gaft (Class of 2019).
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 edition of Argus.

Young scientists sweep ACT-SO

Posted on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 by for ACT-SO, Media.

For the first time, Midwood High School entered the New York City Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) and won a medal in each of the five categories: STEM, humanities, performing arts, fine arts, and business. This year's ACT-SO awards were announced on Monday, May 7, at St. Francis College in Downtown Brooklyn.

Previously known as the "Olympics of the Mind," ACT-SO is a youth program of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Its goal is to give recognition to students who demonstrate academic, scientific, and artistic achievement. Those who participate in the competition must enter in a project under the five categories.

The winners received medals and cash awards starting at $300.

"This year's competition was great," said Mr. Glenn Elert, a physics and research teacher here at Midwood. "We did really well."

He and Ms. Susan Katzoff, a chemistry and research teacher, served as mentors and offered the students help with their posters, presentation skills, and paperwork.

While only 15 students entered the competition, Midwood won a total of 16 medals: five gold, three silver, and eight bronze. Those who won gold, such as Rana Mohamed '19, Kiandra Peart '19, and Calvin Huynh '18, will be going on to participate in Nationals this July. It will be a three day event taking place at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas where they will be competing against over 8,000 students from other states.

"I am extremely excited for Nationals because it'll be a new experience and I will get the opportunity to meet people from all over the country who are also researching and doing amazing things," said Mohamed.

Kiandra Peart
Kiandra Peart and her entrepreneurship project "Kustoms by Ki".

Peart earned the most medals: a gold in Entrepreneurship for her self-made business Kustoms By Ki, another gold in Poetry for her piece titled "The Nation", and a bronze medal in sculpture.

For Peart's independent business, Kustoms By Ki, she customizes various things such as sneakers, wallets, and purses. To enter this project into the competition, she had to create an 18 page business plan to show marketing strategies such as inventory, cash flow, and two year projections. She then presented the display of her work to a judge who graded her on her content.

"I know the competition will be tougher, but I'm ready for it," said Peart. "Going to Nationals makes me feel like all my hard work paid off."

Mohamed brought home a gold in Engineering for her project of decreasing the energy consumption within a robotic system with the implementation of an energy monitoring system. She used two types of robotic systems: a two degree of freedom robotic arm that she varied the voltage and frequency on to see how those conditions affected the energy consumption, and a passive walker that she will use to vary the stop length and step frequency to see how those conditions also affect the energy consumption.

"Winning gold was very rewarding because I felt recognized for all my hard work," said Mohamed. "I worked on my research for over ten months."

Huynh entered his project, "Conditions that promote the sub-cellular migration of nucleolin (NCL) to the cell surface," under the category of Microbiology. The nucleolin is a protein that migrates to the cell surface in cases of cancer, HIV, and infection. In his project, he tried to find the mechanisms that were responsible for allowing the protein (nucleolin) to migrate. He found that only full-length, non-cleaved variations of the protein are allowed to migrate to the cell surface.

"I'm excited to be going to Nationals in Texas and I'm proud to represent NYC Microbiology," said Huynh. "But I'm also a bit nervous because I know that competitions on the National level are notoriously difficult."

Still group photo
2018 ACT-SO Gold Medallists: Kiandra Peart, Calvin Huynh, and Saba Iqbal on the far right.

As he conducted this research, he was supervised by Dr. Anjana D. Saxena in the Department of Biology at Brooklyn College.

"Winning gold was great because it really was a chance for me to gain some recognition for my research," Huynh added.

Saba Iqbal '18 won a gold medal in the Earth & Space science category for her project on indicating an atmospheric mercury pollution source using moss as a biomonitor. She conducted her project at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she began to intern for her research project around November of 2016. There, her research mentor, Dr. Erin Mann, helped her throughout the two years she was there and made sure everything went smoothly.

"I honestly didn't think I would win because there were so many other great projects there as well," said Iqbal. "Nevertheless, I was really happy."

Although Iqbal received first prize, she will not be attending Nationals due to college orientations and summer classes.

"I'd like more people to participate next year," said Mr. Elert. "Anyone should enter."

Written by Mohima Oishe and Pretee Amin (Class of 2019).
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 edition of Argus.

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