The Home of Midwood Science Research

The 2024 Midwood Science Fair is set for Thursday, May 23

Posted on Friday, February 16, 2024 by for Science Fair.

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The 2024 Midwood Science Fair is scheduled for Thursday, May 23 (the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend). Registration for judges and contestants will be set up about a month prior. Add this event to your calendar and prepare your mind for an afternoon of science (and giant sandwiches).

Midwood Science is all over social media

Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2024 by for Everyone.

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15 Semifinalists at the NYC Metro JSHS, largest number ever

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2024 by for Awards, JSHS.

Sunday February 11 was a special day for Midwood Science. 15 students were declared Semifinalists at the New York City Metro Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS). This beats our previous record of 12 set back in 2018. JSHS is a series events held across the United States sponsored by the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP). Semifinalists at our regional JSHS represent the top 175 science research projects in the 5 boroughs.

Semifinalists

  • Emely Rivas
    Project: Sun magnetic activity: Statistics of solar flare and sunspot numbers
    Mentor: Dr. Daniel Groselj in the Astronomy Department at Columbia University
  • Eman Shabbir
    Project: Racial implicit bias among physicians in New York City
    Mentor: Dr. Denis Pelli in the Psychology Department at new York University
  • Huiying Chen
    Project: Shopping wisely: Navigating strategies to conquer omission neglect
    Supervising teacher: Mr. Glenn Elert
  • Chloe Wu
    Project: The effect of makeup on the perception of one's attributes
    Supervising teacher: Mr. Glenn Elert
  • Rusanna Korotich and Christian Gabelman
    Project: The effect of copper contamination in different macroalgae environments
    Mentor: Dr. Ileana Friedman in the Biology Department at CUNY Brooklyn College
  • Humayrah Hossain and Nuzhat Tabassum
    Project: The hijab's impact on hair loss
    Supervising teacher: Mr. Glenn Elert
  • Jennifer Fan and Diana Chen Feng
    Project: The effect of thermal stimulation on body ownership
    Mentor: Dr. Shimon Edelman in the Psychology Department at Cornell University
  • Batool Kamal, Ashley Castillo Mendez, and Hailey Lau
    Project: Neural synchrony within friendship
    Mentor: Dr. Richard Angle in the Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research at Columbia University
  • Victoria Ronan and Lucy Guo
    Project: The correlation between PM2.5 and working memory in adolescents
    Supervising teacher: Ms. Stacy Goldstein

Group photo in front of a chrome-plated York College sign

JSHS logo York College logo

2024 High School Poster Session at St. Joseph’s College

Posted on Saturday, February 3, 2024 by for Awards, St. Joseph's.

On Saturday, February 3, 2024 Midwood Science returned to St. Joseph's University in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn for their 26th Annual Research Poster Session for High School Students. We took our biggest crew there ever with 61 students presenting 35 projects. (Taking a group photo was challenging with a crowd that big.) We came back with 3 honorable mentions.

This event is open to all high school students in the New York metro area with research projects in any scientific field and is sponsored by the Chemical Education Committee of the New York Section of the American Chemical Society.

Honorable Mention

  • Devin Morales, Joanne Zhu, and Rikza Fatima
    Project: Researching the mechanisms of actions of 5-fluorouracil in wild-type and ThyA Escherichia coli
    Mentors: Dr. Evgeny Nudler and Dr. Aviram Rasouly in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine
  • Joey Zhu and Yanhe Rong
    Project: The effects of omega 3 fatty acids on suppressing ADHD symptoms
    Mentor: Dr. Steven Pavlakis in the Pediatric Neurology Division at the SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
  • Alejandro Velasquez (Midwood) and Darren Chen (Brooklyn Tech)
    Project: Investigation of physical properties of a novel zinc chloride-butyramide deep eutectic solvent
    Mentors: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domnec Paterno in the Physics Department at Brooklyn College
Students standing in front of their poster Students standing in front of their poster Students standing in front of their poster
Larg group photo, half on floor, half on stage

St. Joseph's College coat of arms

Tiny Water Fleas Bring Big Results at Science Fair

Posted on Thursday, November 9, 2023 by for Media, Science Fair.

It's a sunny spring afternoon in May, and as you pass by the annex classrooms, you see over 60 original scientific experiments underway. It can only mean one thing: The annual science fair is in full swing.

A record number of 93 sophomores in the science research program presented at the science fair on May 25, with projects — ranging from the study of Daphnia magna to E. coli and salmonella — judged by fellow juniors, seniors, 26 alumni judges, and 14 teachers.

A past science fair winner who returned to observe, Cindy Li ‘24, said, "It was nice to be on the other part of the spectrum since last year we were the people being judged." The sophomores, now juniors, will have the same opportunity to serve as judges during next year's science fair. But for now, they were focused on impressing the judges with their experiments.

The winning projects involved studying Daphnia magna, a tiny water flea. First place went to sophomores (now juniors) Ahlam Judeh, Dana Flores-Zeledon, and Weiyee Mock. Wan Wu, Joey Chen, Sara Grezda, and Shaymaa Elrashidi came in second place. Third place went to Ravital Reingold, Daisy Meza Veliz, and Jenny Chen. Eleven sophomores also received honorable mentions.

"I definitely wouldn't have been able to do all this without my partner [Mock], and it was our new ideas and opinions that we gave each other that helped move our experiment forward," Flores-Zeledon said.

The duo examined the impact of commonly found minerals on the well-being of aquatic life by studying the effect of calcium citrate, potassium citrate, and zinc citrate on the heart rate of the water flea. Their experiment involved a hands-on study in which they looked at the fleas microscopically.

While it only took them a few school days to obtain their data, the process presented multiple challenges.

"Handling our Daphnia was difficult because they're little crustaceans that jerked around our microscope slides, making gathering their heart rates take longer than expected," Flores-Zeledon said.

Students standing in fron of their poster holding trophies
Sophomores Weiyee Mock and Dana Flores-Zeledon won first place for their project on Daphnia magna.

Presenting was no easy task either – for many sophomores, this was their first time displaying their work in front of their peers and amongst judges. For most, though, the anxiousness was relieved with practice and mental preparation for the short 10–15 minute presentations.

Reingold, who studied the correlation between digital vs. physical print text and a student's exam score, faced a different challenge – discrepancies when analyzing her research data.

"My data was not corresponding with similar studies that were conducted in the past," Reingold said. "I used critical thinking to infer why this could have occurred, and I determined that the limitations of my sample group only containing fellow tenth-grade students, compared to the broader sample groups in past studies, was likely the reason."

The sophomores had less than two months to complete their entire research project — from the proposal to putting it all on the board — which limited the scope of the research they could conduct. However, the students used this obstacle to sharpen their problem-solving and adaptability skills.

Inspired by Daphnia magna, first-place winner Judeh researched whether light caused a significant change in the heart rates of patients with cardiovascular diseases.

"I find it fascinating to see how even the slightest change in [Daphnia's] environment can affect their heart rate," Judeh said. "This allows me to think of how things in our daily lives change our heart rates and whether it is for better or worse."

Other students took advantage of the science fair to research a specific field they're interested in pursuing in the future.

Second-place winner Wu studied the impact of in-person vs. online feedback on students' English vocabulary retention.

"I'm interested in studying neuroscience and software engineering in college and eventually becoming a behavioral or cognitive neuroscientist," Wu said. "This research project allowed me to explore human cognition using the scientific process."

Group of students holding their trophies
The 2023 science fair honorees pose with their trophies.

The young scientists are moving on with their two-year-long projects, but the conclusions they've developed will not go unnoticed. Their experiments go beyond a single fair and toward a bigger picture in scientific research, such as "highlighting the importance of government administration to enforce ways to preserve our world's ecosystems," Mock said.

These projects will inspire the next class of sophomore researchers as they learn about the scientific method and conduct their experiments later this year.

Research coordinator Mr. Glenn Elert offered this advice: "Come up with a creative idea that would inspire people. When presenting, you don't want to bore people with a rehash of something people have done a lot of times. You have to go the extra mile."

Written by Yanhee Rong and Jinyu Xu (Class of 2024)
This article originally appeared in the November 2023 issue of Argus.

Argus project logo

The Blue Machine

Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2023 by for Extra Credit, Lectures.

Portrait

On Monday, October 30, 2023 the Physics Department at Brooklyn College will have a very special guest speaker — the physicist, oceanographer, broadcaster, and author Dr. Helen Czerski. Dr. Czerski is an associate professor in the department of mechanical engineering at University College London. Her talk will explain the physics behind the ocean’s various circulation systems based on research she has done across the globe, from the equator to the poles. This is the topic of her latest book, The Blue Machine: How the Ocean Works.

The event will take place from 2:15–3:45 PM in the Sam Skurnick Lecture Hall, New Ingersoll Room 148, Brooklyn College. Midwood Science Research and Ocean Science students who attend and complete a short assignment afterwards will receive class credit (for Science Research it’s +4 points). If you are interested, use the QR code in this PDF to take you to the Eventbrite registration page. Send confirmation of registration to elert@midwoodscience.org as soon as possible. We are running this as a field trip and are limited by NYC DOE regulations to a maximum of 60 students. Register now before we exceed the maximum.

Midwood Science students measure particulate matter in the air

Posted on Wednesday, June 7, 2023 by for Everyone.

Those of you living in New York City were no doubt surprised today as the sky turned first a hazy yellow and then a muddy orange. Smoke from wildfires in Canada have found their way to the Five Boroughs.

Purely by coincidence, Midwood Science juniors Lucy G. and Victoria R. have been measuring air pollution as a part of their project to see how it affects cognition. Specifically they have been looking at particulate matter in the air on the order of 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5). A human hair is about 60 micrometers thick.

"Normally, we read PM2.5 levels of 1 or 2 [micrograms per cubic meter]," Said Lucy. "Today the numbers were over 200".

Elevated PM2.5 levels are a public health concern. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Smartphone displayView from the bridge looking north down Bedford Ave.

2022 Midwood Science Fair Awards

Posted on Monday, June 5, 2023 by for Awards, Science Fair.

1st Place

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Ahlam Judeh
The Impact of Light on Daphnia Heart Rate
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Dana Flores-Zeledon & Weiyee Mock
The effect of calcium citrate, potassium citrate and zinc citrate on the heart rate of Daphnia magna

2nd Place

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Wan Wu
Feedback Style on Memory Retention
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Joey Chen
Effect of electricity on the pH of various aqueous solutions
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Sara Grezda & Shaymaa Elrashidi
Effect of Cleaning Method on Bacterial Growth of Grapes

3rd Place

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Ravital Reingold
Print vs. Pixels
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Daisy Meza Veliz & Jenny Chen
The Impact of pH on the Enzymatic Browning Process of Apples
 

Honorable Mention

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Raine Kong
Thawing Techniques on Bacteria Colony Count in Chicken Breast
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Leah Josephson
Career Time vs. School Time
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Cholco Chan & Whaley Lin
Bot or Not: Unveiling AI's Mirror to Human Traits
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Yahya Hussain
Night Glow Clarity
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Afzal Akhtar & Christian Gabelman
From Pollution to Purification: Investigating Excess Phosphorus Remediation Strategies
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Kaiyue Yuan
Memories Over Time
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Tomiriz Abdulkhamidova & Jene Chen
Kool-er Way to Dye Fabric
Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Sylvia Zheng
Aging Yogurt
 

Bonus photo

Group photo of all the winners holding their trophies
Congrats to all the winners!

Kukic and Sklyar Graduate as Top Two Seniors

Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 by for Awards, Media, Miscellaneous.

Two students standing in the hallway
Valedictorian Altin Kukic (right) and salutatorian Aleena Sklyar (left) appear poised for great things. Photo: Caroline Pychynski

High School – full of tests, quizzes, friendships, and stress – is coming to an end for the class of 2023. Amongst the students who have left their mark on Midwood are valedictorian Altin Kukic and salutatorian Aleena Sklyar.

After surviving the hardships of high school, Kukic finished with a GPA of 103.49, while Sklyar finished with a GPA of 102.7.

Kukic was accepted to Harvard University on a full scholarship as well as to the Macaulay Honors College to obtain an undergraduate degree in chemistry education. He plans to eventually get a master's degree at Columbia Teachers College and return to Midwood to become a chemistry teacher.

"I fell in love with chemistry on the first day of ninth grade because of Mr. [Vincent] Adams," he said. "The class upheld my motto of applying knowledge to various questions rather than memorizing concepts." Kukic went on to take AP Chemistry as a sophomore.

Although the work was really hard, his family was always by his side. "My mother and sister, who I think of as 'comfort,' would always buy me a Red Bull before each exam," he said.

Kukic has been a chemistry tutor at Midwood since his freshman year and joined the science research team in tenth grade, working on cervical cancer research with professors at CUNY and St. Francis. A busy guy, he's also the office secretary at a doctor's office on the Upper East Side, an election chairperson at the Board of Elections, and the superintendent of his building. Still, he somehow has time for hobbies.

"I enjoy planespotting and walking by the Caesar's Bay waterfront with my sister, usually sipping on Starbucks," Kukic said. "I'm also a creator of an AP Calculus prep book, and I played badminton for twelve years."

Kukic has an interesting test prep strategy that other Hornets might want to give a try. "My favorite memory at Midwood was going to the library before I had exams and giving lectures to myself, especially about AP U.S. History, while everyone, including the librarians, would listen," he said.

Ms. Cecelia Manno, Kukic's AP U.S. History teacher, will remember him as a very eager and hardworking student.

"Altin is the most diligent student, avid reader, and real critical thinker I have ever met," said Ms. Manno. "He is always looking to learn, and I felt that a lot of the time, I was talking to an adult. He has a lot of potential, and he's a kind-hearted person with an old soul."

"I hope that when I come back in six years, I'll see that same Midwood buzz, and most importantly, still see Ms. Manno in room 2S," said Kukic.

Sklyar, the school's salutatrian, took 10 AP's during her academic journey. "It was nice to know after all the AP classes I took, something came out of it," she said.

The accomplishments took dedication and sacrifice.

"To get a high average, you have to take a lot of classes," said Sklyar. "During my junior year, I took four AP classes, including AP Chemistry, which definitely hit me. But even though all those AP tests were hard, I studied a lot for each of the exams and it paid off."

One of Sklyar's most rewarding classes was science research, she said, where she worked with her partner to study neuroscience.

She is continuing her education at Tufts University, where she will be majoring in biochemistry.

"I really like chemistry, which is why I took AP Chem," said Sklyar. "In the future I want to major in pharmacology, which is the study of drugs and medicine, and biochemistry is the first step in understanding how substances react with the body. So I would major in biochemistry first, then go to graduate school for pharmacology."

The support she got from her teachers had a big impact, she said. "All my teachers helped me a lot," said Sklyar. "They were always willing to work with me."

Sklyar, who also enjoys dancing and reading, was described by her friends as "honest" and "optimistic."

"Aleena is one of the most hardworking and motivated people I know," said senior Zita Zhong. "Even during times when she's not feeling well, she still manages to get her work done without any hesitation. I would say that, as a student, she's super diligent, disciplined, and responsible. And as a friend, she's always willing to help out others when they are in need and will give 100% of her support to them."

So keep your eyes open as these two seem poised for great things, in science and perhaps even back in Midwood's halls.

Written by Caroline Pychynski and Charlotte Lee (Class of 2024)
This article originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of Argus.

Senior Researchers Grab JSHS and Terra NYC Honors

Posted on Saturday, May 27, 2023 by for Awards, JSHS, Media, Terra NYC.


Lucas Paschke and Mykhaelia Clarke pose with Mr. Elert and Ms. Goldstein at the Terra NYC STEM Fair. Photo: Midwood Science

Three Midwood seniors — Lucas Paschke, Mykhaelia Clarke, and Kaitlynn Mau — presented their research projects in the semifinal round of the NYC Metro Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) at York College on February 12, the first in-person event since the pandemic. Paschke and Clarke also received third-place awards for their work in the Terra NYC STEM Fair on March 26.

The NYC Metro JSHS is a regional science research competition funded by the Department of Defense. Of the 300 applicants, 100 are selected as semi-finalists. The Terra NYC STEM Fair is hosted by the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, a non-profit organization in Syracuse, New York.

"[The competitions] taught me a lot," said Paschke, "like how to actually research in the field with another expert, coming into a situation where you don't know the most, and making your own conclusions instead of reading it from someone else. It was very fulfilling."

Paschke researched "multivariable analysis on stock price and trade volume trends in the post-Covid-19 stock market shutdown era." His project was a remote study to find trends between the pandemic's aftermath and its impacts on U.S. stock prices.

He created a code to collect data and organize multiple conclusions. Paschke worked with Professor Allison Bishop and said he wants to "follow in her footsteps."

Paschke concluded that the pandemic had a large impact on the stock market and that "the change in volume [how much a stock was being traded] influenced prices the most, so people were selling off their stocks at a large rate, which crashed the prices."

Clarke's project was titled "Exploring the Feasibility of a Fluorescence Imaging-Based Brain-Machine Interface (BMI)." Her project consisted of trying out different BMI, which are categorized two ways: the first are implantables (devices that touch the brain),which have a higher performance, and the others are non-invasive (not touching the brain), which don't cause tissue damage or raise concerns for biocompatibility (being compatible with living tissue).

"If you are going to choose one then you'd have to sacrifice performance or safety in the process," Clarke explained. She also tried another technique, called optical imaging, which combines the benefits of both implantable and non-invasive BMIs.

Clarke, who also worked with Professor Bishop, started her project in March 2022 and finished it in November. Throughout her research, she has concluded that functional near-infrared spectroscopy imaging has proven feasible.

Due to a lack of funds, Clarke used LEDs instead of a full-time microscope, limiting her imaging to only the top layer of the brain. If she could use multiphoton microscopy, she could penetrate to the neocortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for sensation, language, and movement.

"The brain has so many unanswered questions," she said. "Our consciousness doesn't play as much of a role that we thought it does." In the future, Clarke said she would like to participate in neurosurgery and neuroscience research for clinical trials.

Mau was a semifinalist in the JSHS. Having growth up with a family garden, she decided to research the "impact of Lactobacillus casei on corn, pea, and radish plants in sterilized and non-sterilized soil." Her project involved testing the credibility of claims surrounding this type of bacteria, which was said to enhance plant growth.

"There was just some random guy on the internet saying that his thing is going to help your plants grow," she said. "I was skeptical of it."

Mau experimented with four soil treatments and concluded that adding the bacteria made almost no difference. Mau worked on her experiment for almost the whole month of May, starting during AP season, coming in nearly every day to measure her plants' growth.

"I felt so nervous [about the competition]," Mau said. "There were only like three Midwood students that got in. I got into my room and we presented in front of the judges, and there were ten people from Bronx Science and I was the only Midwood person."

Becoming a semifinalist was a pleasant surprise. "I felt like, wow, I feel so accomplished! I did this," she said.

Her work has played a major role in her career plans."I found an interest in lab research and hands-on experiences," Mau said. "In the future, I know I want to be in the lab. That helped me decide my college and which program at a specific college is going to help me."

The research track is provided to rising tenth-grade students. It's a three-year-long course in which research is incorporated into a student's class schedule. The research class has helped these three Hornets embrace their interests without having to find an internship or wait until college to start exploring.

Mr. Glenn Elert, the science research coordinator, said, "If you want to do something where you get a hands-on, minds-on kind of activity that's going to take some time, you should join research."

"You get to do something you're passionate about," said Ms. Stacy Goldstein, a research and chemistry teacher. "Not what someone tells you to do, but something that you're interested in. You get to spend time on something that is directed by your own creativity."

Written by Emely Rivas and Vienna Chen (Class of 2024)
This article originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of Argus.

Senior Science Research 2023

Posted on Friday, May 26, 2023 by for Seniors.

Large group photo in the Midwood Library

2023 Science Fair Abstract Book (and more from the past)

Posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 by for Science Fair.

2023 abstract book cover
2022 abstract book cover 2019 abstract book cover 2018 abstract book cover 2017 abstract book cover 2016 abstract book cover 2015 abstract book cover 2014 abstract book cover 2013 abstract book cover 2012 abstract book cover 2011 abstract book cover 2010 abstract book cover

NYIT Grant Recipients to Study Illusions and Brain Activity

Posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 by for Awards, Media, Miscellaneous.


Juniors Hailey Lau, Ashley Castillo-Mendez, and Batool Kamal analyze brainwaves using an EEG headband. Photo: Susan Louey

Midwood's young scientists brought home not one, but two New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) mini-research grants this year. The two teams of juniors were awarded $300 each to offset the costs of materials needed to pursue their experiments.

Juniors in the science research class submitted proposals to Mr. Glenn Elert to be considered for the application process. They then had to modify their proposals to fit with the guidelines of the grant.

As they worked on their proposals, Mr. Elert and Ms. Stacy Goldstein helped review their applications before they submitted them to a panel of professors from NYIT.

"The funding is meant for students who don't have access to the money to do their project," Ms. Goldstein said. "You have to be very clear on what your project is about and the materials you need."

Mr. Elert stressed the importance of intrinsic motivation. "You have to be someone who wants to sit down and do something that's going to take you a whole year to do," he said.

The grantees this year are pursuing research experiments on illusions and hyper scanning.

Juniors Diana Chen Feng and Jennifer Fan are studying the rubber hand illusion, which is focused on perceptual changes caused by thermal stimulation. In a larger context, they hope that their results will confirm previous studies on the effectiveness of constraint-induced therapy for paresis, which is partial paralysis caused by nerve damage or disease.

"Our mentor, Dr. Shimon Edelman from Cornell University, helped guide us through our project by explaining any details that we did not understand in the research paper," Fan said. "We would set up Zoom meetings once a month to catch him up on how we were doing in our experiment and ask him questions about the procedure."

Using the grant, the duo has purchased facial massager hammers and rubber hands to replicate the rubber hand illusion on a smaller scale.

"When I found out we were one of the recipients of the grant, I was ecstatic and shocked," Feng said.

Feng and Fan sought out ways to repeat the original experiment with more affordable technology.

"We were originally going to buy a TSD191 Thermode and a thermal stimulator from Biopac Systems," Feng said. "However, it was way over our budget. That's why we decided to purchase facial massagers instead."


The grantees received $300 checks from the New York Institute of Technology to go towards their research projects.

The second team of grantees received the award for their study on the effect of friendship and emotional synchrony on brain waves. Juniors Hailey Lau, Ashley Castillo-Mendez, and Batool Kamal plan to use EEG devices, which measure electrical activity, in order to evaluate how synchronized the brains of two close friends are.

The goal of their project is to explain why different people become friends and to investigate the emotional correspondence in friendship.

"The hardest part [of the application] was writing the general abstract of our research," Kamal said. "We needed to make it convincing."

Similar to the other grantees, this trio also worked with a mentor who guided them through picking out the right materials and analyzing the data. Their mentor, Dr. Richard Angle from Columbia University, also helped them manage their time and select their pool of students, Castillo-Mendez said.

With the grant, the group was able to purchase a BrainBit EEG headband that allows them to visualize the frequencies of brain waves in reaction to different stimuli such as emotionally provocative videos.

"When I first found out [about the grant], I was pretty exhilarated," Kamal said. "My group and I were stressed at the time over how to fund the EEG and the software, so winning the grant took a lot of weight off our shoulders."

Since mid-April, the team has been searching for pairs of friends to participate in their research study; the amount of students signing up has increased by the day. Students are still welcome to sign up or catch them in action in room A215 during period nine.

These future scientists will continue their experiments throughout the next few months and eventually submit data to various fairs and competitions in hopes of contributing ground-breaking research to advance the field of science worldwide.

Written by Jinyu Xu and Xue Feng Zou (Class of 2024)
This article originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of Argus.

One week to the 2023 Midwood Science Fair

Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2023 by for Science Fair.

Add to Calendar
Thursday
25

The Midwood Science Fair is almost upon us. Thursday, May 25, 2023 will be here before you know it. Juniors and seniors meet in the Library period 9. Alumni and other registered celebrity judges show up around 2:45–3:00 (a little early is better than a little late). Sophomores be in your assigned spot at the start of period 11. Everyone be prepared for an afternoon of science and celebration.

Seniors’ Science Research Projects Earn Honors at St. Joseph’s University

Posted on Sunday, April 30, 2023 by for Media, St. Joseph's.


Students presented to their peers in preparation for the February 4 contest. Photo: Ms. Jenessa Kornaker

Twenty seniors in the science research program entered the St. Joseph's University 25th Annual Research Poster Session on February 4, coming back after a three-year pandemic hiatus to win three awards.

"We've been going to St. Joseph's since the 90s, when they first started it," said Mr. Glenn Elert, the science research coordinator. "It was very small when it started and it was held in the chem lab. But now it's bigger. There were more than 100 projects this year."

High school students from all over New York City presented their research on poster boards to a variety of judges from different fields. Even with fierce competition, seniors Anne Barshay, Samia Farid, Shefa Sharafa, and Edward Chok received honorable mentions for their projects in the health and medicine and animal science fields.

Seniors in the science research class, led by Mr. Elert and Ms. Stacy Goldstein, have been working on their projects since their junior year. The winning seniors worked with mentoring professors from Harvard University, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, and Brooklyn College.

Barshay, who researched "The Association of Dietary Whole Grains with Coronary Heart Disease," found inspiration from her personal experiences.

"When I was in sophomore year, my dad was diagnosed with coronary heart disease," Barshay said. "Previously I thought that high cholesterol caused coronary heart disease, but what he had was phenomenal triglycerides. I was curious as to how triglycerides affect the heart."


Samia Farid and Shefa Sharafa's study of masks and acne was among the winning projects. Photo: Stacy Goldstein

Farid and Sharafa researched "The Effect of Covid 19 PPE Masks on Acne Vulgaris and Atopic Dermatitis" because of their interests in dermatology and acne eczema.

"When we started this project, Covid rates were high and masks and skin care were popular," Sharafa said. "People were trying to compare masks and their effects on skin conditions."

Chok, who researched "Patterns in Monk Parakeet Nest Construction," was inspired by his passion for ornithology. He credited Dr. Grasso, his mentor, for offering him valuable assistance.

"He is unique in that he hosts weekly meetings, like group meetings with other researchers," Chok said. "It gives me advice and steers me towards what to do next in the project."

While there are challenges that come with pursuing research such as the stress of developing the right area of study, Ms. Goldstein and Mr. Elert are there to help, serving as in-school mentors throughout the two years by guiding students through finding topics and conducting experiments.

"Going in, [a student's topic] might not be the thing they first thought they were going to study, but maybe it's even more interesting than what they thought they were going to do," Ms. Goldstein said. "So having an open mind is important."

To prepare for the in-person competition, students practiced by presenting their posters to their peers.

"I learned how to compartmentalize performance anxiety because when I present, I get really nervous," Barshay said. "I had to learn to take a deep breath and jump in the back of my head and just say what I know."

While some seniors continue their research after high school, others simply go into college or the professional world with solid scientific experience under their belts.

"Since we had a really small sample size, which led our whole study to be inconclusive, I would continue this or go into further research by having a more representative sample size and a bigger population to study than high school students," Sharafa said.

"I'm unsure if I want to continue my research, but I think the stuff I learned will help with academic papers," Chok said. "Every time you submit a draft to Mr. Elert, you get sent back a bunch of corrections. So he really helps you iron out the details and what needs to be included."

The current class of juniors will soon be stepping up to the poster challenge, with valuable advice from the award-winning seniors.

"If you have an interest in your research topic, you will be more willing to put the time and energy into it," Farid said. "We learned a lot from the experience."

Written by Jinyu Xu and Xue Feng Zou (Class of 2024)
This article originally appeared in the May 2023 issue of Argus.

24/7 Lecture: Empty Stadiums

Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2023 by for 24/7 Lecture.

24 seconds: When Covid 19 emerged, a greater number of people stayed home which resulted in a decline of football enthusiasts at home games. However, a question arises, did the lack of sports fanatics impact home field records? Data from several NFL seasons says the number of rowdy fans or the capacity of a stadium full, did not influence the number of touchdowns scored and allowed.

7 words: Football fans overestimate their importance at games

Warner G. (class of 2023)

Scatterplot

One month to the 2023 Midwood Science Fair

Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 by for Science Fair.

The 2023 Midwood Science Fair is only a month away. Right now as you read this the sophomore research students are diligently working on their projects, formulating hypotheses, and plotting the best way to gather and analyze data. The juniors and seniors are sharpening their metaphorical pencils as well as their literal questioning skills. The alumni judges are looking forward to seeing old friends at Midwood once again. The teachers are keeping their students focused. Everyone is coordinating their schedules to make sure they're ready for Thursday, May 25, 2023.

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24/7 Lecture: California Diet

Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 by for 24/7 Lecture.

24 seconds: We studied the correlation between food environment and life expectancy in California. Publicly accessible databases and California government-run websites were used. ArcGis was the main tool used to visually display the data on a California map with outlined counties. Relationships were analyzed using Pearson's correlation matrix, displaying a relatively weak association with life expectancy. Outside factors like accessibility to healthy foods and preexisting conditions may have affected the results.

7 words: California diet yields unexpected life expectancy findings

Christina O. and Anna O. (class of 2023)

Colored pencil drawing of California counties and food options
California counties and food options

24/7 Lecture: Whole grains’ association with coronary heart disease

Posted on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 by for 24/7 Lecture.

24 seconds: This study examined the association between whole grain intake and atherosclerotic coronary heart disease (CHD) outcomes by creating an evidence map that compared whole grain consumption by country and whole grain type. The strongest evidence supports the association between whole grains, whole grain breakfast cereals, and bran and the reduced risk of CHD. Further research needs to be conducted for oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and individual whole grains because of inconsistent outcomes.

7 words: Not all whole grains equal healthy hearts.

Anne B. (class of 2023)

An assortment of wwhole grain foods
An assortment of wwhole grain foods

24/7 Lecture: Stolen Memories

Posted on Wednesday, April 5, 2023 by for 24/7 Lecture.

24 seconds: Microglia are the brain's primary immune cells, they protect and regulate brain development, maintain neuronal networks, and bury apoptotic cells. External factors like social isolation invoke microglia cells to take on an injurious pathway by over secreting proteins that accumulate and form amyloid plaques that collect between neurons and can disrupt cell function.

7 words: Social isolation is bad for brain cells.

Alexis M. (class of 2023)

3D image of a protein molecule
Image of a plaque being engulfed by microglia

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