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Zainab Iqbal presents at SPA Annual Convention

Posted on Friday, March 6, 2015 by for Publications.

Midwood Science senior Zainab Iqbal was a presenter at the 2015 Annual Convention of the Society for Personality Assessment (SPA) on Thursday, March 5, 2015. This year’s SPA convention was held at the Marriott New York at the Brooklyn Bridge. Zainab’s project was entitled "PTSD Symptoms, Aggression, and Crime Exposure in a Sample of Young Adults". She was the only high school presenter at this year’s event. Special thanks to Zainab’s mentor Dr. Sara Chiara Haden of the Long Island University Department of Psychology for nominating Zainab as a presenter.

Ocean Science Team captures third place

Posted on Monday, February 23, 2015 by for Media, Miscellaneous.

Midwood’s Ocean Science Team pulled out a third place victory at the Bay Scallop Bowl at Stony Brook University on Saturday, February 7.

There were 16 teams from across the state in the competition with Midwood contributing both an A and B-Team to the competition. The competition started with a three round "round robin" tournament within a division which determined seeding for a single elimination game in the fourth round. After that round four single elimination game, the remaining eight teams played the rest of the tournament in double elimination style. A loss there would put a team in the losing bracket and another loss thereafter would end their run in the competition.

"We’re super psyched for today’s competition," said A-Team Captain Helen Wong ’15 on the bus ride there.

The day began under Midwood’s Greco-Roman columns at six in the morning when the two teams (A and B), their respective coaches (Mr. Alan Stack and Ms. Kimberly Lau), and some potential recruits boarded the bus to Stony Brook University.

"On the bus ride there, we reviewed some things we hadn’t covered thoroughly," said A-Team player Bart Rosenzweig ’16.

Upon arrival the teams ate a complimentary breakfast to settle some nerves before the first match.

"When I saw the first team, Mt. Sinai High School, my heart stopped," said A-Team coach, Mr. Alan Stack. "They’re the toughest competition at the tournament, and they’re A-Team’s first match."

The round against Mt. Sinai was close but A-Team pulled through with a close 85-76 point win. That nine point difference could have easily been erased with one question pair.


Team A: Samuel Makarovskiy, Bart Rosenzweig, Helen Wong, Andrew Li

"When we beat them, we felt so much more confident of our chances," said Wong.

A-Team’s next two rounds were 143-47 and 100-53 point blowout wins against The Stony Brook School and Farmingdale High School B-team respectively.

"In a scrim a few months ago, we had lost to Farmingdale, and this was a great consolation," said A-Team player Andrew Li ’16.

B-Team lost the first two rounds by a small margin to Churchville-Chili Senior High School and Massapequa High School. In Round 3, B-Team made a comeback in the final seconds and pulled out a win by a hair against Deer Park High School.

"I just got in the zone answering questions, and the next thing I knew we won," said B-Team player Joseph Parziale ’16.

After lunch the placements were in for the round four single elimination game. A-Team got seeded second due to their 3-0 record and went up against 15 seed Division Avenue High School. B-team was seeded tenth against seventh seed Hunter College High School.

A-Team won a relatively close match in Round 4 against Division Avenue 91-47 and survived single elimination.

"That was a weight off of our shoulders for sure because now we have some breathing room," said Wong.


Team B: Rumsha Javed, Laila Akallal, Joseph Parziale, Nicholas Christensen

Unfortunately, B-Team lost by five points to Hunter in the single elimination round ending their run in the competition then and there.

"Although we lost, I feel like we did pretty well and the matches were really close," said B-Team Captain Laila Akallal ’16.

Next round A-team played Hunter in the first double elimination and beat them thoroughly 104-26 as payback for B-team.

"I’m incredibly proud that they scored over 100 points in a double elimination round," said Ms. Lau. "The questions are so much harder at that stage in the competition."

Round 6 against third seed Great Neck South High School started off with an early 40-0 point deficit. After an attempted comeback, A-Team lost 94-40.

"We can’t slack off like that again," said Rosenzweig, "They were faster, but we should’ve buzzed in even if we weren’t 100 percent sure."

A-Team came back in Round 7 in the losers’ bracket winning 85-49 over Churchville-Chili High School from Rochester.

"That was a boost to our confidence," said Li. "We were faster on the buzzer and more confident in our answers which really paid off."

By Round 8 there were four teams left, and Mt. Sinai had won the winner’s bracket. A-Team was slated against Longwood High School, and the round was played on the auditorium stage with dozens of spectators. Early on, A-Team pulled ahead by 20 points, and held onto the lead carrying it through to the end.

"In that round there wasn’t much we didn’t know," said Wong. "Considering it’s a later round, it says a lot about the work we put in."


Teacher Advisors: Ms. Kimberly Lau, Mr. Alan Stack

Great Neck South was A-Team’s opponent in Round 9, and it was dead even off the bat at 20-20 points. In the last few seconds, unfortunate penalties for interrupted wrong answers cost the A-Team. The final score was extremely close at 54-49.

"We gave it our best, we knew the answers, and it just came out to the luck of the draw," said Rosenzweig.

Great Neck South went onto the finals and lost to Mt. Sinai who will now go to nationals in April in Mississippi. Midwood A-Team came out in third place and secured a spot for next year.

"I’m not at all disappointed with the result because we learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and did our best," said Wong.

"Every year our performance improves, and this year we beat out last year’s fifth place high water mark with our highest rank yet," said Mr. Stack. "Ms. Lau and I couldn’t be prouder of this year’s teams and are looking forward to next year."

Written by Samuel Makarovskiy.
This article originally appeared in the February 2015 edition of Argus.

Senior Research brings home six awards

Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2015 by for Media, St. Joseph's.

Holding six awards, senior researchers left the 20th Annual High School Poster Session at St. Joseph’s College on January 7 in high spirits. Awards were obtained from all three possible categories: first place, second place, and honorable mentions.

Research students prepared posters detailing their projects over the Winter Regents Week with the guidance of their research teachers Mr. Glenn Elert, Ms. Jennifer Sullivan and Ms. Shaniece Mosley. Common sections of the poster (introduction, methods, data and analysis, discussion, and references) were drafted and completed on a PowerPoint presentation slide. Afterwards, the PowerPoints were printed on a 36 by 48 inch poster paper.

"I put in all this hard work and all the hours," said Monique Powell ’15. "When I f nally got the results of all the hard work, I was genuinely proud that I contributed something to society."


Wen Li Wang with her mentor Ms. Jan Mun

Taulant Kastrati speaking to a judge

Carmine See speaking to a judge

Students began to receive their printed posters several days before the competition due to the long process required to print the large posters. Some posters, such as Monique’s, were printed in color and cost as much as $100; however, her mentor, Dr. Frank Grasso at Brooklyn College paid for the poster. Posters that were printed in black and white were much cheaper, averaging around $15.

Prior to the competition Mr. Elert told the students, "You have to go in with a winner’s mindset; just because some of you haven’t placed at Intel, it doesn’t mean you can’t win at St. Joseph’s."

Seniors presented their completed projects to the sophomore research classes prior to the competition as practice for the event.


Mohammed Hasan speaking to a judge

Zainab Iqbal speaking to a judge

Hillary Syeda speaking to judges

The competitors arrived at St. Joseph’s at 9 AM on Saturday, February, 7 to set up their posters and prepare for the judging process that would begin half an hour later. Every competitor was required to bring a trifold board to support their posters during their presentation.

"I felt very nervous, I didn’t know what they were going to ask me," said Charlynn Trish Ben ’15. "I just had that college professors, doctors, alumni, and attending students at St. Joseph’s College.

"The judging experience was very relaxing, it was very comfortable," said Meghan Ng ’15. "I thought it feels like talking to a friend, a friend that is very interested to learn about parrots."


Raymond Yu greeting a judge

Yukie Wong speaking to judges

Samar Syeda and Samantha Chee presenting their project

The judging process took about two hours to complete. The seniors were each judged by two to four judges. They were judged on their ability to present the objective of their projects, the methodology and the results of their experiment. Their objective was to effectively relay the big ideas and the important and interesting portions of their study.

While the judges deliberated, competitors enjoyed a lecture and presentation by Dr. Carlo Yuvienco, a researcher at New York University. During the lecture, experiments were performed displaying the unique properties of various solvents and solutes. Additionally, topics such as innovations in drug cancer treatment and the development of biological weapons were discussed, raising questions for the future of researchers. "I think this is wonderful," said Daniel Mace, alumni of St. Joseph’s College. "This gives kids at a young age not only the inspiration to join the sciences, but

also to learn the ability to communicate their thoughts." Hillary Syeda was awarded one of the two first place prizes in the competition; additionally Michael Divgun was awarded one of two second place prizes. Honorable mentions were awarded to Charlynn Trish Ben, Aarin Chase, Dina Deng, and Zainab Iqbal. In total, Midwood won six out of 14 possible awards at the competition. Students left St. Joseph’s with high hopes for future competitions. "St. Joseph’s is a chance to practice what you’re going to say, and familiarize yourself with what you’re going to be asked in the future," said Colleen Chasteau ’15.


Dr. Carlo Yuvienco prepares demonstrations for his keynote presentation

A nearly complete Midwood Science group photo

Zainab Iqbal with her mentor Dr. Sara Chiara Haden

Although some students did not win awards at the St. Joseph’s High School Poster Session, they were all awarded the experience of being judged by others in a formal event on their projects. As Mace said, it is a chance for the students to formally present their works to others and improve on their weaknesses.

Rolens Ambroise ’15 said, "St. Joseph’s isn’t very big, so it prepares you for the bigger competitions like NYCSEF by practicing your presentations."

This March, two events will be held to select the winners of the New York City Science and Engineering Fair. On March 1, a preliminary round will be held at The City College of New York; afterwards, on March 24, a final round will be held at The American Museum of Natural History to select the winners of the competition. Winners of NYCSEF will represent New York City as Team NYC at the 2015 Intel ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

For the 2016 High School Poster Session, Marco Diaz Cordova, an undergraduate student at St. Joseph’s, encourages students to, "Have good posters with a lot of pictures; something that will attract the judge’s eyes. Most importantly, would be to know what your project is on, and all the background information on the topic."

Written by Victor Lee and Joselyne Pimentel.
Photos by Andrey Moiseyenko.
This article originally appeared in the February 2015 edition of Argus.

Message for you, Sir.

Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2015 by for Juniors, Seniors, Sophomores.

Everyone received a message at the end of Midwinter Break. If you "lost" yours, here’s a copy.

2015 New York City Metro Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS)

Posted on Sunday, February 15, 2015 by for Awards, JSHS.

The New York City Metro Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) was held at York College in Jamaica, Queens on Sunday, February 8, 2015. Individual students compete at JSHS for scholarships and recognition by presenting original research projects before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. Midwood entered 7 students and had 4 semifinalists this year.

  • Lucy Lin
    was a semifinalist and received a third place award in earth and environmental sciences for her project "Degradation of TPH-Diesel in Soil through Mycoremediation". Lucy worked under the supervision of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College.
  • Sandra Lin
    was a semifinalist in chemistry for her 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". Sandra worked under the supervision of Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Long Island University.
  • Monique Powell
    was a semifinalist in behavioral and social sciences for her project "Kinematics of the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) During Courtship Rituals. Monique worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso and Mr. Alfie Supan in the Department of Psychology at Brooklyn College.
  • Raymond Yu
    was a semifinalist in physics for his project "The Effects of Sodium Pyrophosphate Tetrabasic on the Conductivity of V4+ Electrolyte for the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery". Raymond worked under the supervision of Dr. Sophia Suarez in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College.


Sandra Lin, Monique Powell, Lucy Lin, Raymond Yu

Midwood’s 20th outstanding year with St. Joseph’s College

Posted on Saturday, February 7, 2015 by for Awards, St. Joseph's.

Saturday, February 7, 2015 marked the 20th year St. Joseph’s College New York held a High School Poster Session for scientific research in all fields. Midwood Science students excelled once again, collecting 6 of 14 possible awards — one first place, one second place, and four honorable mentions.

  1. Hillary Syeda
    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
  2. Michael Divgun
    Project: The Effect of Polyoxometalate Ion Replacement on Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries.
    Mentor: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Department of Physics, Brooklyn College

Hillary Syeda

Michael Divgun
  1. Charlynn Trish Ben
    Project: A shark homolog of REV3, a DNA translesion polymerase.
    Mentor: Dr. Ellen Hsu, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  2. Aarin Chase
    Project: Study of invasion of human epithelial cells by bacteria from the Neisseria genus: Focus on pathogenic Neisseria gonorrhoeae and commensal Neisseria elongata.
    Mentor: Dr. Emilia Laura Munteanu and Dr. Nicholas Biais, Department of Biology, Brooklyn College
  3. Dina Deng
    Project: Determining the Effectiveness of the Biomarker SSEA5 in the Enrichment of Endometrial Cancer Stem Cell Populations Using the Hybrid Spheroid Assay.
    Mentor: Dr. Christopher Lange, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  4. Zainab Iqbal
    Project: PTSD Symptoms, Aggression, and Crime Exposure in a Sample of Young Adults.
    Mentor: Dr. Sara Chiara Haden, Department of Psychology, Long Island University

Charlynn Trish Ben

Aarin Chase

Dina Deng

Zainab Iqbal

Junior Teacher Assignments — Spring 2015

Posted on Friday, February 6, 2015 by for Juniors.

Junior Teacher Assignments — Spring 2015
Mr. Elert Ms. Mosley Ms. Sullivan
Mie Abouelkheir Kieran Bissessar Yusra AbdurRob
Laila Akallal Nadia Brijmohan Urooj Ansari
Alexandra Auteri Doris Etienne Leutrim Cahani
Bilal Azhar Jinyan Huang Xiao Jun (Gloria) Cao
Mohammed Chowdhury Xiao Ying Huang Matthew Chung
Roshan Chudry Jessica Lauv Michelle Do
Quetourah Dalencourt Asia Le Zachary Feinstein
Hussein Fardous Shang (Chris) Lee Q.Q. (Venus) Fu
Nikola Iberle Nga Ying Lo Daniel Guobadia
Moomitu Kashem Christine Ly Emily Hui
Victor Lee Nikolas Magloire Sana Ilyas
Max Miloslavsky Maya Miller Rumsha Javed
Josh Pilipovsky Zaw Naing Joseph Parziale
Abrar (Abe) Rais Osarhuwense Otasowie Joselyne Pimentel
Sayahi Suthakaran Diana Polonska Daniel Rebibo
William Xie Kai Saunders Shanayah Renois
Lily Xiong Colleen Simon  
  Xiu Ling Weng  
  Linda Zhu  
(17 students) (19 students) (16 students)

Updated 04/15/2015

Ocean Science Team requires intense studying

Posted on Monday, February 2, 2015 by for Miscellaneous.

Ocean science is tougher than it seems. With multiple branches of science involved such as Physics, Biology, Environmental Science, Earth Science, and Astronomy, the Ocean Science Team is constantly studying and working hard. Their acquired knowledge is then shown in a regional competition in the late winter followed by national competition in the early spring if they place first in regionals.

The Ocean Science Team consists of many of the school’s top students from sophomores to seniors. Many of them have been on the team for two to three years now. The team looks for people who have an interest in science and who are up for a challenge. Mr. Alan Stack, coach of the team, created the team because the Bay Scallop Bowl caught his attention.

Students are invited to join based on how they can handle an abundant amount of work, their grades, and their attitude. Those who are interested in the team, but aren’t invited, may join as well by an interview with the coaches and a trial period. During the trial period they are with the team for a year and the coaches evaluate their progress on how well they handle the workload. One must be able to keep up with the material taught at the team meetings as well as schoolwork.

"This is a team that requires a lot of dedication and commitment," said Ms. Kimberly Lau, current assistant coach of the team.


The 2015 Midwood Ocean Science Team

The team meets up Tuesdays through Thursdays in room A215. The coaches provide them with different textbooks to cover the many areas of ocean science. During the meetings, team members self-teach and teach each other the material. They create outlines and study sheets based on the textbooks.

"I like how the club works," said Austin Siu ’16 a current member of the team. "Everyone is committed to what they’re doing and it makes me motivated to put in the same amount of effort.

In preparation for the Bay Scallop Bowl regional competition on February 7 at Stony Brook University, the team is working on questions provided by their coaches and vocabulary to test their knowledge. The competitions are a test of speed along with intelligence. They are having mock competitions against each other to see how fast their buzzing skills are and what they need to improve on.

"We try and practice buzzer sessions at least once a week and we have Ms. Lau and Mr. Stack constantly make up new questions for us to answer," said Helen Wong’15, team member for three years and current captain.

For the competition this year the team is split into two, team A and team B. For the first time a B team is created so newer teammates can experience the competition firsthand instead of watching from the crowd. There are four members on each team with one alternative team member each. They race against another team from a different school to see who buzzes in the correct answer first.

"During the competition, I would feel equal parts excited and apprehensive. There’s always a rush when you know the answer to a question and you beat the other team to the buzzer," Wong said.

Last year the Ocean Science Team placed fifth out of 16 schools in the regionals. This year, to improve in the competition, members are well rounded in their knowledge. They all keep up with the same material by reviewing weekly self-made outlines and textbooks together.

"This year instead of having students with different strong points, everyone is well rounded with what they know," Ms. Lau said.

First place in the regionals gives students a ticket to the national competition. First place in nationals gives the students a scholarship to a college with a marine science major. However, many students choose to stay on the team out of sincere interest, for a challenge, as well as to expand their comprehension of ocean science.

Written by Kelly Yuen
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 edition of Argus.

Hornet named Intel Semifinalist

Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2015 by for Intel STS, Media.

After 9 years of many hopeful attempts from past students, Charlynn Trish Ben ’15, emerged as the only semifinalist in all of Brooklyn for the 2015 Intel Science Talent Search (STS). Six other students including Monique Powell ’15, Taulant Kastrati ’15, Meghan Ng ’15, Zainab Iqbal ’15, Hillary Syeda ’15, and Dina Deng ’15 were awarded the 2015 Intel STS Research Report Award for presenting "a well-written, college-level, journal-style research report." Moreover, another student, Valeriya Falkovich ’15 received a Student Initiative Award for "exhibiting extraordinary effort and dedication in her pursuit of scientific research.”

"It’s about time," said Mr. Glenn Elert, one of the advisors for the Intel classes. "Charlynn definitely deserves this award. We were beginning to get discouraged because of the lack of feedback from Intel which prevented us from doing well."

Charlynn’s project, "A Shark Homolog of REV3, a DNA Translesion Polymerase" tested the polymerase zeta in the primary enzyme that is responsible for mutation in the shark gene. Along with her mentor, Dr. Ellen Hsu, they analyzed and studied the shark gene in order to create a unique sequence.


2015 Intel Semifinalist Charlynn Trish Ben

"I was able to clone the beginning and end of the sequence which is purely my own sequence," said Ben.

All students in Intel had to go through arduous preparation in order to ensure that they had prepared an excellent report. The Intel classes of Ms. Jennifer Sullivan, Mrs. Shaniece Mosley, and Mr. Elert spent the majority of their time working in various labs throughout NYC. Each student was guided by a knowledgeable and supportive mentor from colleges such as Brooklyn College, Long Island University (LIU), and SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

"My mentor, Dr. Frank W. Grasso helped me develop my project over the summer, along with my fellow senior researchers to create a unique experiment that would bring out the most important aspects," said Ng. "If I didn’t understand something, I would go to him and ask since he has years of experience."

These mentors helped them develop and carry out their scientific experiments. Instead of attending a ninth period class, students were expected to work in their labs for at least four hours every week. The time spent at these labs was crucial in further developing and improving their own experiments.

"My mentor is an intelligent and amazing woman," said Ben. "She certainly helped me in understanding the project because it was a topic that I had minimal knowledge of. She was hard on me sometimes but it made me want to work even harder for her and myself."

As a result, receiving such prestigious awards was an incredible moment for the mentors, advisors and students. To have been recognized for all the long days filled with hard work and the multiple

drafts that only ended up being edited really made it meaningful.

"The fact that I won the Research Report award makes all the time I spent on my paper and in the lab that much more memorable," said Powell. "I am extremely proud of all the other winners too, especially Char- lynn!"

Throughout the whole process, each student had an advisor who was there to check up on their work and

to offer suggestions and feedback. The advisors, Mrs. Sullivan, Mrs. Mosley and Mr. Elert understood that this was going to not only be frustrating, but would also require a lot of patience from the students.

"The process of the project was quite a long one," said Ben. "At times, I felt like quitting because the work would get very overwhelming and I barely had time for my studies. However, I felt that I had done so much work that it would be a waste to give up."

Mrs. Sullivan said, "I was Charlynn’s advisor and met with her 2 to 4 times a month to read over the various things she would be entering into competitions. She handed in her work to me, and I tried to edit it to the best of my ability."

Although this was an exhausting and long journey for the Intel students, those numerous hours and days were all worth it in the end.

"I feel accomplished," said Deng. "With the amount of effort I put into my project, it’s great to know it all paid off."

Written by Areeg Naeem
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 edition of Argus.

Midwood Science knows cold

Posted on Monday, January 26, 2015 by for Everyone.

Winters in Brooklyn are cold, but Midwood Science students know a much colder cold — liquid nitrogen. Nitrogen is the primary component of air. In its liquid phase it boils at −196 °C, just 77 degrees above absolute zero (77 kelvin). It’s hard to find anything colder than that. Pour it on the floor and it’s cold enough to make micro-clouds. Midwood Science seniors traditionally celebrate the end of the fall semester with 30 second liquid nitrogen ice cream and other cryogenic experiments like the one shown below. Because science is just that awesome.

A group of midwood Science students posing in a liquid nitrogen fog.

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