The Home of Midwood Science Research

Six science projects win recognition at Metro JSHS; Senior’s “Emo” robot takes first place in engineering

Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 by for JSHS, Media.

Bintia Keita '22 holds Emo, her robotics toy for children with autism.

Six projects made by Midwood students made it into the semifinals for the NYC Metro Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) held virtually at York College this February. Senior Bintia Keita won First Place in Engineering, earning a spot as one of five students representing New York City at the 60th National JSHS. She brought her robot "Emo" to Albuquerque, New Mexico, this April.

"The competition was amazing from day one," said Keita. "My delegation was full of awesome, really smart people from New York City. It was great to be around people who were motivated and dedicated and brilliant in the field that they were studying. It was amazing."

The JSHS is a U.S. Department of Defense-sponsored high school STEM competition. The National Symposium brings together 245 high school students who qualified at regional symposiums held at partnered universities and organizations nationwide.

Emo is Keita's robotics toy for children with autism, designed to improve their interactions and emotional interpretation. Emo's screen is used to play guessing games with three levels of difficulty: emoji, cartoon, and realistic.

After the child successfully matches the emoji to the emotion, Emo uses positive reinforcement through confetti, animations, and movement. Through a slow evolution, autistic children who can identify the correct emotion can better recognize it in a live person.

Keita coded the elements of the display such as the guessing game, animations, and movements using Javascript and a free web editor, P5JS. "I would create a 3D model using Fusion 360, and then I would print it at school and assemble it using stuff I found in my dad's toolbox," she said.

Currently, Keita is working on making Emo mobile and is thinking about sending it to different clinics.

Semifinalists Michelle Yang '22 and Zitong Liu '22 worked on veganism and plant-based alternatives to meat after they noticed plant-based meat as the only option on the shelves after meat shortages in Ohio supermarkets during the pandemic.

They cooked and tested multiple batches and recipes and assessed each recipe's environmental impact, computing factors such as water consumption and atmospheric carbon release. "I think the public should be educated on the benefits of vegan meat," said Yang.

Being able to share findings with the public is one of the fun parts of the JSHS, she added. "It's just really exciting to share our project with other schools," said Yang. "Most of my group were from Bronx Science, and the other one was from Stuy[vesant]. It was interesting seeing their projects and then secretly comparing them with mine."

Samarpreet Singh '22 ran an experiment to find a relationship between social media use and a person's levels of optimism or pessimism. He found that students who excessively use social media are more likely to be pessimistic.

Singh found that the Midwood student body averages around six hours of social media use per day. Previous studies recommended 30 minutes to be a healthy amount. "I feel like in today's generation, the repercussions have to be considered," said Singh. "Midwood students specifically need to lower their social media use."

Lian Hao Zheng '22, working with seniors Benny Dong and Jason Wu, conducted a survey-based study to find the effect of gratitude on a person's mental and physical health, specifically on sleep quality and depression.

"Gratitude is the ability to stay in the present," said Zheng, "to be attentive to your surroundings, to be grateful for the things that are happening around you. Being a more empathetic person is definitely the way to increase your gratitude."

He found that increased gratitude leads to lower levels of depression and higher levels of sleep quality. "If there is a significant correlation, then it may have a potential use as a medical treatment," said Zheng.

Midwood also had five other semifinalist projects at the NYC Metro JSHS.

Zheng said it felt great becoming a semifinalist. "I'm happy that this topic is being recognized, as well as my follow-up study about mindfulness," he said. "I'm just happy both of them got the grant from NYT, which shows people actually care."

Muhammad Sharjeel '22 studied the difference between extroverts and introverts and their homework behavior. Homework behavior was measured by time, effort, and performance.

"When you think of extraversion, like how social someone is, you wouldn't connect that to homework, so that's why it was interesting," said Sharjeel.

He conducted an experiment using questionnaires and an experimental implicit association test, both testing which side of the introversion / extraversion spectrum the participants were on based on their identification-related words (shyness), phrases, and questions.

In his first study, he found a weak negative correlation but no correlation between extraversion and homework time in his second study. He also found that procrastination and homework performance had no correlation with extraversion. Using these findings might help teachers better understand how students learn, he explained.

Enaya Ahmad '22 studied the "other-race effect": how people are better able to recognize faces from their own race than faces from other races. She sought to answer the question "Is there a presence of the other-race effect in teenagers, and is the trend similar to infants and adults?"

Keita was one of five students from NYC who got to attend the national symposium in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

"When I walked outside, I was able to remember faces of my own race and not other faces," said Ahmad. "Sometimes I misidentify my white neighbors as somebody else, which is something that I found odd because it didn't happen with me for other South Asians."

Ahmad showed African American, White, and Asian faces to people and later made them find the original face that was shown with two altered versions of that face.

Those who lived in a less racially diverse neighborhood were better at recognizing their own race than other races. The other-race effect was present only in 14-16-year-olds; 17-18 year-olds recognized other races better, she found.

Within the behavioral psychology category, Ahmad was with nine other students, all of whom were from Bronx Science. "It was definitely intimidating, but I felt proud to be there, representing Midwood," said Ahmad. "That was a really proud moment because I put a lot of effort into my project."

"I thought we had really good results this year," said Mr. Glenn Elert, the research teacher. "We did really well because Bintia got to go to nationals, and that hasn't happened in – it might be 10 years. So that's an awesome accomplishment on Bintia's part and something she should really be proud of."

All the finalists recommended the three-year science research class at Midwood. "Colleges want to see you do something that requires independence, creativity, and responsibility," said Mr. Elert. "The thing we need are people who are interested in working on a long-term project on their own."

"We had an alumnus who graduated in the '80s, Fritz Francois," said Mr. Elert. "He is now the dean of admissions at the NYU School of Medicine. He came back, and he was talking to our students, and he said, 'We routinely reject people from the NYU School of Medicine who have 4.0 averages because they don't have anything else.' A research class sets you apart."

Written by Rachel Dong (Class of 2023)
This article originally appeared in the June 2022 issue of Argus.

Sophomores Generate Surprises at Science Fair

Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 by for Media, Science Fair.

Over 100 sophomore research students competed in the annual science fair back in May 2019. The students showcased their findings in front of about 130 judges made up of junior and senior research students, alumni, and Midwood teachers.

The year's first place winners included Nicole Gutierrez '21, Tiffany Ng '21, and Jacklyn Vu '21. Second place winners included Aliyeh Khan '21, Nitu Farhin '21 and Malayka Mudassar '21, and Jessica Serheyeva '21. Lastly, third place went to Ivy Chen '21 and Emily Chen '21, and Walter Rosales '21.

During the science fair, students put up big tri-fold posters outlining their whole experiment. The students waited and presented their work to the judges assigned to them.

"I am incredibly proud seeing how confident the students were in their work while talking to strangers," said Ms. Shaniece Mosley, one of the science research teachers. "It was an amazing experience."

Dr. Stephan Riemersma, one of the science fair judges, said, "They have to be ready to handle questions that they are not ready for, which is a part of the criteria on the rubric."

Traditional photo of the award winner holding their trophy standing in front of their poster board
Nicole Gutierrez '21 researched worm regeneration.

Gutierrez was one of the first place winners of the science fair. Her research dealt with planarian worm regeneration with respect to different magnetic fields. She had three worms in each dish with three magnets under six of the nine petri dishes.

However, science has unexpected challenges. One of Gutierrez's worms was a carnivore, so it ate the other worms in the same dish and messed up her data. In addition, halfway through the experiment, there was a change in the measuring device used.

Still, the results showed that worms had a higher chance of dying when placed in a higher magnetic field, whereas weaker fields prompted radical repair regeneration, thus allowing worm regeneration.

"It was rewarding because you were able to conduct your own experiment," said Gutierrez. "Throughout the entire year, we had to read research papers made by professors. Now we got to conduct experiments and come up with results like those professors."

Similarly, Mr. Glenn Elert, the science research coordinator of the event, said, "[The science fair] allows students to actually do science. In regular science classes, they just learn about traditional scientific methods, facts, and techniques, but you never really do actual science."

Aliyeh Khan '21 was one of the second place winners. Her research focused on the impact of gene expression on the effectiveness of transcription factors. In other words, she analyzed the DNA from the heart and compared it to other organs to see if those transcription factors can be useful in programming.

"Thirty-three percent of all deaths are from cardiovascular disease, which can be solved through regenerative medicine," said Khan. "Body cells can be used as heart cells, which can save a lot of money."

In a way, the science fair allowed students to find solutions to problems that could work to benefit society, while learning to deal with the obstacles that come with getting there.

"Science is a process, but also a way of life," said Mosley. "Things don't always work the way you want, but the important thing is to keep going."

Written by Tiffany Ngo and Sharon Wong (Class of 2020)
This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of Argus.

Science research update

Posted on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 by for ACT-SO, Awards, Brooklyn College, Media, Science Fair, Terra NYC.

To celebrate the last two days of the academic year, here's all the news that happened at Midwood Science in the past two months. Have a great summer and see you in September.

Fizza Nayab and Emily Movsumova win at 2019 Brooklyn College Science Day

Posted on Friday, May 3, 2019 by for Awards, Brooklyn College.

3 Midwood students awarded gold medals at 2019 NYC ACT-SO

Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 by for ACT-SO, Awards.

2019 Science Fair Abstract Book (and more from the past)

Posted on Monday, May 27, 2019 by for Science Fair.

2019 Science Fair in action

Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 by for Science Fair.

Alyssa Kattan represents Midwood High School and Brooklyn College at the 47th annual MARM

Posted on Friday, May 31, 2019 by for Publications.

Midwood Science students volunteer at the 2019 World Science Festival

Posted on Monday, June 3, 2019 by for Everyone.

2019 Midwood Science Fair Awards

Posted on Friday, June 7, 2019 by for Awards, Science Fair.

NYCSEF competitors strive for success

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 by for Media, NYCSEF.

Research students debut findings at Science Fair

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 by for Media, Science Fair.

Research students debut findings at Science Fair

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 by for Media, Science Fair.

May 30th will be a exciting day for many of the sophomore research kids. The science fair will be taking place all over the third floor of the annex, starting at 3:30 pm and ending at 6:00 pm. There, student projects will be judged by five different judges.

All sophomore research students must make a project, and they are given about a month to work on it. While working as a team or individually, they can choose their own topic, with approval from a teacher. There are under 100 contestants, but about 120 judges. The judges are a mix of alumni, juniors and seniors in AP Research, and a handful of teachers.

As a bonus, there will be free food, Mr. Glenn Elert, a physics teacher, said, adding, "Everyone likes that. Free food is good."

Mr. Elert is also the teacher who compiles the scores from the judges into a spreadsheet. From there, the winner, runners up, and honorable mentions are calculated based on their scores.

Student standing next to her poster talking to a judge
Maham Ghori '21 explains her research results to Dr. Trevor Stokes, biology teacher and judge for the science fair. Photo Credit: Justin Chow.

Sophomore Aaliyah Gordon's project involves the cleanliness of water and the effect of boiling. She said, "I chose this project because my parents boil water instead of using tap, so I was wondering if that was effective. They also buy cases of bottled water to drink, so I was wondering if it has little to no bacteria. There is a stigma in America that tap water is bad and bottled water is good, and I wanted to test this for myself."

Though the teachers don't choose the project topics, they do help guide the students in their work.

Jeanine Jardine '21 said, "My research teacher Mrs. [Shaniece] Mosley has worked so hard to support us. She constantly gives us ideas and advice to make our experiment better."

Ms. Mosley, a chemistry and research teacher, said, "I've got some very inventive projects this year, but I won't say specifically [who she thinks will win]. I think some great things will come out of my class."

Two student standing in front of their poster
Jaden Thomas '21 and Tasnia Shadat '21 tested the effect of color on the
efficiency of water purification. Photo Credit: Justin Chow.

Some projects have presented unexpected challenges. Sophomore Lucie Lim's project dealt with how the fat percentage of cheese could affect bacteria.

"Since we are making our own cheeses at home, the experiment is flawed," she said. "We don't know how to make cheese, so we could disrupt the controlled experiment. I now have a newfound appreciation for people who make cheese."

And sometimes, science just stinks, literally.

Gordon said, "I absolutely despise the smell of growing bacteria. It is horrendous, but being able to see what's inside of my water is fascinating."

Overall, the experience has been a valuable one.

"What I like about the experiment is getting a taste of how a lab works and what we do in a lab," said Lim.

The fair itself is on May 30, and the award ceremony will most likely take place June 14.

"May the best project win," said Mr. Elert.

Written by Hillary Michel (Class of 2020)
This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Argus.

NYCSEF competitors strive for success

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 by for Media, Terra NYC.

Surely, robotic body parts only exist in "The Terminator." There is no such thing as a real cyborg, right?

Wrong! As Midwood's very own Rana Mohamed '19 can tell you, robotic body parts are real. Mohamed won first place at the New York City Engineering Science Fair (NYCSEF) for her robotic passive walker.

NYSCEF is a competition where students from all over New York City come together and present scientific projects they've worked on all year. Students send in a research paper, and about 450 projects are selected to be presented at the science fair. Among the 450 projects, only 120 are selected to move on to the final round.

Midwood had 32 students selected to compete in the competition, and five moved on to the finals. Along with Mohamed's first place win, Annabel Xie '19 and Larissa Brijmohan '19 came in second place, and Fizza Nayab '19 and Maryam Khan '19 came in third place.

Mohamed's invention was a step towards the future of biomedical engineering.

"I built an actuated passive walker that mimics the movement of exoskeletons used by paraplegics, people who are paralyzed from waist down," said Mohamed. "I made this walker to conduct energy expenditure experiments to extend the battery life of my walker. Essentially, if I am able to figure out which variables can decrease energy consumption, I can project my findings onto an actual exoskeleton."

Traditional photo of a student standing in front of her poster.
Rana Mohamed '19 hopes to project her findings onto an actual exoskeleton.

The passive walker has a promising future. It can be used to help people paralyzed from the waist down or veterans with lost legs. They could use the passive walker to walk normally.

Mohamed is currently studying how to extend the battery life and lower the weight of the walker to make it possible to attach it to the skeleton of a human. She will be attending New York University (NYU) Tandon this coming fall to continue her research in biomedical engineering.

The science research class helped various students branch out into different fields they were interested in and get hands-on experience.

"You start research as a sophomore, and you do foundational work like how to write papers and how to write an argument," said Mr. Glenn Elert said. "Sophomores do the sophomore science fair, and juniors try to find internships in labs across the city to work there for about a year. Then they enter competitions in the fall of senior year."

Xie described her second place win as "an honor."

"I studied [and] did field work on monk parakeets, Myiopsitta monachus," said Xie. "I'm in a psychology lab. I worked with the ArcGIS, which is a system that allows us to map things, put data layers onto a map, and perform spatial analysis."

Xie did research and mapped out monk parakeet nests. Monk parakeets are small bright green parrots that can be relatively noisy creatures.

"Since monk parakeets are often viewed as a noise nuisance, my research can help inform people about where monk parakeets tend to nest so people who are not fond of noises would know to move away from these areas," said Xie. "If people like the noises, they can move closer to the birds."

This research gives the real estate market a new perspective on property value. Depending on the buyer, knowledge on where the monk parakeets are nesting can change the buyer's view of the property.

Whether its building passive walkers or mapping the nesting of monk parakeets, the future is bright for Midwood's NYCSEF competitors.

Written by Armin Pasukanovic (Class of 2020)
This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Argus.

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.

Students attend STEAM conference

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 by for Media.

Midwood students joined other schools in District 22 on April 27 to learn about everything science as well as showcasing their scientific accomplishments during the third annual, "Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Symposium."

STEAM is a movement that combines all the elements it represents to foster critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration by applying all the disciplines together. Previously, STEAM was deemed STEM, however as the 21st century emerged, art and design became influential and transformed our economy as much as technology and science did in the previous century. According to Slate’s article, "STEAM Rising" by Anna Feldman, "STEAM says we can be better engineers by learning how to think artistically, and we can re-engage artists with science by letting them see how STEM can work in the arts. It’s infinitely more exciting, especially in an increasingly interdisciplinary and digital world." The addition of arts to the movement enhances the objective of success in the scientific fields due to children having greater imaginations and widespread ideas due to their artistic side.

The symposium was held in Brooklyn Borough Hall and held many different events. Superintendent Michael Prayor made opening remarks followed by two keynote addresses by Edward R. Murrow student Ebonie Reavis ’18 and Yonee Thevenot from STEM Kids NYC. The rest of the day was filled with gallery walks of student projects, live performances, panel discussions, and hands-on activities. "Black Girls Code", a non-profit organization that introduces programming and coding to young women of color so they can become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures, hosted one of these activities.

Group photo

This was a symposium highlighting the power of women in STEAM, thus having many activities circulating about women’s role in the sciences. Many lady Hornets attended.

Aushna Saleem ’18 stated, "The symposium was really fun and inspiring. It was really encouraging to see successful women presenting their success in their field as well as inspiring young women like to do the same. Presenting my project was also very uplifting. The judges were almost all teachers, and they were very nice and gave me advice pertaining to my field."

Assistant principal of science, Ms. Jenessa Kornacker states, "I thought it was a great afternoon. It was a good opportunity for the students because it let them further their interest and help pursue their careers. It was also a great place for networking. Meeting people with the same goals and ambitions as you can be really beneficial."

According to the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD), "studies have shown that up to 80% of jobs are never advertised—they are filled by word of mouth." To obtain opportunities in a career, one has to develop relationships and connections with other people in the same field. The way of doing this is going to events like this symposium and meeting similar people.

Midwood students performed well in comparison to other schools in the district.

Robotics teacher Mrs. Lisa Ali stated, "It was cool to see the robotics programs in other schools and how their mind worked. It made me realize how advanced Midwood’s programs are."

Written by Daniel Gaft (Class of 2019).
This article originally appeared in the May 2018 edition of Argus.

14 seniors move on to next phase of NYCSEF competition

Posted on Friday, March 23, 2018 by for ISEF, Media, Terra NYC.

Enthusiastic seniors from all over New York displayed their scientific experiments as juniors eagerly speculate at the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) on March 4, held at City College in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan.

Students from different high schools entered this competition, including Brooklyn Technical High School, Edward R. Murrow High School, and Stuyvesant High School.

The whole process of NYCSEF is complex. First, the students have to fill out paperwork ranging from each of their grades, followed by paperwork being assembled by faculty members of the Science Research program. The process may be lengthy and complicated, but in the end it is all worth it. Students who win the final round have a chance to win prizes totaling four million dollars in scholarships and awards, as well as an all expense paid trip to Pittsburgh.

Mr. Glenn Elert, the main supervising teacher, explains that this is a very difficult competition and that the seniors, currently competing in the finals, have to go up against students from all over the city. Mr. Elert credits the success of his seniors going to the finals to the supervision of the research coordinators and staff that made these events run smoothly.

The NYCSEF competition is a collaboration of scientific works. The number of participants this year allowed for more diverse competition.

Overall, Mr. Elert and the faculty members felt satisfied with the students hard work and their advancement to the finals. They believed that the competition is an effective way of promoting brilliant minds to present their work through these projects and allows them to be a part of the NYCSEF community.

Calvin Hunyh and Michelle Zinger ’18 said, You get your own idea of where the gaps in the field are and our research ultimately strives for a cure for cancer.

Competing this year could potentially open up many doors for these two, especially when applying to colleges.

Group photo at City College in front of the mural depicting the passing of wisdom from The Alma Mater onto a young scholar

Science research gave me a sense of accomplishment and prestige because we did work so hard on our projects so NYCSEF gave us a chance to show our work and dedication, said Hunyh.

Competing in NYCSEF allows students to delve into new fields of scientific research. Hafsa Fatima ’18, one of the finalists of NYCSEF, explains that while competing in NYCSEF was very difficult, it permits for a new understanding of science.

For Fatima, this was an opportunity for learning, because of which she was able to conduct her research, and reach her dreams, such as, collecting, analyzing, and presenting my data to the scientific community.

At NYCSEF, the preliminary round is where all students get the moment to showcase their projects in Shepard Hall at City College.

As the preliminary round continues, the top 25 percent of student researchers from each subject category were invited to participate in the Finals on March 20, at the American Museum of Natural History.

The Awards Ceremony follows six days later, on March 26, at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Approximately fifteen students will be selected to represent New York City at the International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 13–18.

This year Midwood has been extremely committed to NYCSEF and had sent out its 14 students, who are presenting nine projects to this year’s competition. Hopefully the finalists will show the scientific community that they all deserve to be future scientists, and continue showcasing their research in ISEF.

Written by Atif Gujar, Muhammad Hamza, Rubhiyah Chaudhry, and Nicole Demetrashvili (Class of 2019).
This article originally appeared in the March 2018 edition of Argus.

Research students look for lab professors

Posted on Friday, December 1, 2017 by for Media.

Let the hunt for professors begin! Starting October, students in the research program are emailing and going to colleges to ask professors if they can join their labs. If students don't find a professor by the second term, they will be transferred to another elective like robotics or medical issues. After the students join the lab, they study with the professor and perform experiments in professional environment doing scientific breakthroughs. After a year of joining, students will have to enter competitions using what they have learned in their lab.

Susana Tzunun '19 is a research student with a 4.0 GPA, is on the soccer team, and has many AP classes under her belt. You would think a perfect student like this would get into any lab he/she wanted. On the contrary, Tzunun said, "The whole process was nerve-racking."

Tzunun had a hard time finding professors. She sent 15 emails to different professors in different fields with no success. Some responded with apologies that their lab was full and others didn't even give an answer. After a month of scouting and hard work, Tzunun went to a lab interview with her friend and fellow classmate Amy Chen '19, and they both were accepted to the lab. She felt as if a heavy burden was lifted from her chest and thankful for the opportunity. She now researches environmental science at Brooklyn College.

Photo of the Chemistry Lab in the Midwood Science Annex

Rubhiyah Chaudhry '19 is another research student who had trouble finding a professor. Although the process was lengthy and dense, it showed promise.

"I knew it was going to be difficult from the start because many professor don't accept high school students, but it was an all worthwhile despite being tedious." Chaudhry said.

The class has a large payoff, intrinsically and extrinsically. The students are not only going to learn how to properly research and grow as professionals, but they look good on college resumes than any other.

Mr. Glenn Elert, Physics teacher and research coordinator talks about his experience with the research program.

"Research is very interesting. It is the best kind of class. All students get attention because it a one on one class. It is never the same thing," he said.

Junior research makes students more professional. When they leave Midwood, they are experts on their projects.

"Students learn to be scientists, which makes it the only real science class in the building." Mr. Elert said.

Written by Daniel Gaft (Class of 2019).
This article originally appeared in the November 2017 edition of Argus.

Sophomores display projects at Science Fair

Posted on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 by for Media, Science Fair.

The stage was set for the sophomore researchers as they present their projects for all of the research students to see.

Sophomore researchers were brought to the present on May 24 for the annual science fair. Coordinated by Mr. Glenn Elert, the presenters each had a project that research teachers Ms. Shaniece Mosley and Ms. Stacy Goldstein.

They have been conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and practicing their speaking skills in preparation for the fair.

"The science fair is always exciting for both the presenters and the judges," said Mr. Elert. "Each year, we always have our special judges which consist of alumni who come back to judge again and be a part of the science fair."

Before the event, Mr. Elert held a short speech guiding all the judges. With 110 judges in all, they consisted of junior, senior, and alumni researchers.

"For me last year, getting judged by upperclassmen was a bit nerve-wracking," said Saba Iqbal '18. "This year, I want to be sure I make the students as comfortable as possible when presenting to me."

To score the presenters, the judges each watch three sophomores present their project. Then, on a paper with categories including the poster board, methods, introduction of the project, and total analysis, the judges give the presenters scores on a scale of 1–10. Then, they add up the individual category scores. The winners of the projects include first place, second place, third place, and honorary mentions.

Vladimir Svidruk '19 presented his project on cockroaches and their tolerance to certain environments.

"I bought my cockroaches from a petshop and then tested them with certain materials." said Svidruk. "Ms. Goldstein heavily prepared us for the event, she provided us with the necessary materials that were needed for some projects, including mine."

After doing many presentations during research classes, Kenny Pierre Louis '19 shared Svidruk's thoughts.

"After doing many presentations with [Mr. K and Ms. Mosley] it really positively affected how I presented in front of the judges."

Participants with posterboards and judges with clipboards

In preparing for the science fair, some of the presenters gained more than just a new science idea.

"In doing this project, I learned a lot about presentation and being able to speak to an audience effectively." said Pierre Louis It took a lot of time making, ordering, and setting up, time management was something I really got from doing the science fair."

Svidruk also admitted that it not only allowed him to gain experience in presenting, but it showed him more into the science field.

"I wouldn't consider myself as a very science type of person, but after doing this it was kind of interesting finding out about spikes and neurons and how they all relate to us humans as well," said Svidruk.

The judges and presenters were all given food afterwards, coordinated by Mr. Tovia Rosenfeld, which consisted of sandwiches, salads, desserts, and drinks. During this time, the judges and presenters gathered with their friends and some seniors spoke about how they may not be able to see all this next year.

"The science fair has always been something that was so much fun to do," said Hufsa Tasnim '17. "It gets me really upset that I may not be able to see all this next year, I will try my best to become a guest judge."

Midwood has been holding the event since the school opened in the 1940s.

Vincent Wang '18 said, "It feels weird being on the other end now, judging these sophomores makes myself proud on how far I've achieved within the research program and that I haven't gave up that drive I had as a sophomore last year."

Juniors had been assigned three to four projects to judge and graded them on a system of 60 points for idividual projects and 70 points for team projects.

Nimrah Naseer '19 said, "This [project] was really stressful for me, I like the writing aspect of science research but the actual hands on activities aren't my favorite part."

The science fair started after tenth period, judging started as the sophomores finalized their boards. After most juniors were done judging the projects and grading them on a rubric, the fair ended off with food being served for all.

Written by Sumaya Ahmed & Ashley Masih (Class of 2018).
This article originally appeared in the June 2017 edition of Argus.

Midwood alumna’s article on 2017 Science Fair featured on BKLYNER website

Posted on Thursday, June 1, 2017 by for Media, Science Fair.

Midwood Science alumna Zainab Iqbal (class of 2015) reported on this year’s science fair for the local news website BKLYNER. Her article, 10th Annual Midwood HS Science Fair – A Glimpse, offered slice-of-life descriptions of the fair, facts about the science research program at Midwood, and a quick spotlight on senior Mahmoud Abouelkheir and his recent trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles. Follow these links to read more of Zainab’s contributions to BKLYNER and Excelsior (Brooklyn College’s student run news publication).

Winners of the 2017 Midwood Science Fair will be announced sometime after 3:30 PM on Friday, June 2, 2017.

Science fair competitor standing in front of her posterboard Posterboard entitled 'Where do lizards go to lunch?' Judges and contestants in one of the judging rooms
BKLYNER logo Excelsior logo

Hornets Come Out on Top at NYCSEF

Posted on Monday, May 1, 2017 by for Media, Terra NYC.

Out of 130 finalists, seven students from Midwood made the NYCSEF finals and showcased their projects at the Museum of Natural History. The finalists are Mahmoud Abouelkheir '17, Allan Nosov '17, Nomon Mohammad '17, Lilin Liu '17, Vivian Luu '17, Minna Zeldin '17, and Amna Aslam '17.

According to, NYCSEF, also called the New York City Science and Engineering Fair, is a yearly competition in which hundreds of students participate in a preliminary round at City College and a final round at the Museum of Natural History. Sponsored by the Department of Education and CUNY, NYCSEF allows students to learn about a field they're interested in and get a chance to become a recognized and accomplished person, which also stands out on a college application.

Mentors at Brooklyn College, City College and the Hospital for Special Surgery supervised the finalists. They did projects in different fields, such as biology, physics, and earth and environmental science and presented them to expert judges. The winners can get various awards, internships, scholarships, and cash prizes.

One of the top projects included "Intra-microcolony spatial positioning affects antibiotic susceptibility in Neisseria gonorrhoeae," by Mahmoud Abouelkheir. He was awarded the NYCSEF First Award and the Intel ISEF award, which are the highest awards of the competition. Abouelkheir expressed his excitement, as winning an award and competing with others is something he would never forget.

"NYCSEF was a different experience that other science fairs I've been to. I also participated in the first and second round," he said. "I did not think I was going to become a finalist. It was really cool that I had one of the top projects."

Nomon Mohammad received the NYCSEF Second Award and the ASM Materials Education Foundation Award for his engineering project on studying different ways to use electrolytes to optimize energy storage in batteries. Mohammad described his experience at NYCSEF and believed that winning the award was a symbol of the hard work and he and his lab put into the project.

7 students arranged around a large lunar globe
Vivian Luu, Amna Aslam, Nomon Mohammad, Allan Nosov,
Mahmoud Abouelkeir, Minna Zeldin, Lilin Liu

"It was interesting to see other people's projects at the competition because it really represented their scientific exploration and their effort," he said. "I hope that the research program grows in the coming years because it's something that can change one's perspective on science."

Lilin Liu was one of the students to win the NYCSEF Third Award, but also won the Brooklyn Navy Yard Award for her project testing the effectiveness of x-ray fluorescence on lead contaminated vegetables.

"Winning an award is always beneficial. Not only does it make you feel good, but it's good for college too. I also received a paid internship because of this project – it's a good opportunity and can help me achieve more in the future," she said.

Allan Nosov, another student to receive the NYCSEF Second Award, did an earth and environmental science project called "Lapse rate analysis — model versus observations." Nosov felt honored to have competed with the other students and found the event to be enjoyable.

"Competing with the other students was fun because their projects were really exceptional. It was fun because I met new people from other schools and I think it was a good educational opportunity," he said.

The top 16 projects will continue on and represent New York City at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles, California during May 14–19. For more information on the finalists, visit

Written by Yumna Ahmed Qazi (Class of 2017).
Sara Omran (Class of 2019) and Shakila Islam (Class of 2018) also contributed to this article.
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 edition of Argus.

NYCSEF Showcases Young Scientists

Posted on Thursday, March 30, 2017 by for Media, Terra NYC.

Students across New York City schools, private and public, were able to showcase their creativity and intelligence through their experiments in the yearly New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSWEF) preliminary round, which was under way on Sunday, March 5 in City College.

“This fair ultimately isn’t about winning. It’s that you know what your talking about and a project you worked hard on is heard,” said Angel Zou ’17.

Seven hornets were accepted to participate in the finals. Mahmoud Abouelkheir ’17 and Amna Aslam ’17 in the category microbiology, Lilin Liu ’17 and Allan Nosov ’17 in the category earth and environmental sciences, Vivian Luu ’17 in the category chemistry, Nomon Mohammad ’17 in the category engineering and Minna Zeldin ’17 in the category medicine and health science qualified. The finals will take place on Tuesday, March 28 at the museum of natural history. Then, those finalists will have the opportunity of competing in nationals located in Los Angeles.

“This is an amazing chance to showcase all the hard work students put in and the broad range of topics that science covers,” said Mahmoud Abouelkheir ’17. “everyone can learn something new from this fair.”

Some projects were printed out on large posters, while others were on tri-boards. Each experiment had an introduction (background research), a hypothesis, a data, an analysis of that data, and a conclusion.

This fair had a specific judging system. Each experiment was assigned 3 judges and they asked questions based on the experiment’s methodology. Student scientists weren’t allowed to move away from their project until they were evaluated by the judges.

Mahmoud’s project was titled Intra Microcolony Spatial Positioning Affects Antibiotic Susceptibility In Neisseria Gonorrhoeae. This complex project tested the physical properties of bacteria.

Group photo at the front of Shepard Hall

“The purpose of this kind of fair is to get students involved in taking part in something big,” said Minna Zeldin ’17, “the fair allows students to present information and discoveries that might turn into something much bigger in the future.”

Minna created an experiment that tried to prove that DNA strands can move around from cell to cell in search of a specific marker that is found on cancer cells.

Angel Zou ’17 partnered with Whitney Wong ’17 created an experiment that uses microscopic water dwelling organisms called tardigrade to see how they affect E. coli.

“One can’t become a scientist without acting first. This fair gives students the opportunity to work in labs and become mini scientists,” said Angel Zou ’17.

Many people came to observe the science fair. Md Hoque ’18 and his friends were astonished by all the different, elaborate experiments. Md mainly focused on the biology section because he is currently working on a project where he uses a fungi, a yeast, to clean tap water and get rid of the pharmaceutical drugs found in it. He is trying to find a way to insert human liver enzymes into yeast and have them metabolize the drugs inside New York tap water. The goal of this project is to cleanse the water so marine species don’t die.

Hoque ’18 said, “every single project has their unique future implications, whether it’s creating a safer traveling regime for vaccines or making us age slower or even helping to find a cure cancer. Plus we are most likely going to continue our projects and aid in real world issues.”

This research competition was sponsored by the New York City Department of Education and the City University of New York (CUNY).

NYCSEF isn’t the only fair for the next generation to try to make a difference. Seniors are preparing for the next competition, Teptu STEM Research Conference, which will take place on Monday, April 3.

Written by Jonathan Krimgold and Klyve Morisseau (Class of 2018).
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 edition of Argus.

News update from Midwood Science

Posted on Sunday, March 19, 2017 by for Awards, ISEF, JSHS, Media, Ocean Science, Robotics, St. Joseph's, STS.

Here’s what we’ve been up to in 2017 so far (plus one story from 2016 I finally got around to writing). More good news is sure to follow.

Midwood collects top awards at St. Joseph’s College

Posted on Sunday, February 5, 2017 by for St. Joseph’s.

Nomon Mohammad and Hufsa Tasnim are JSHS Semifinalists

Posted on Friday, February 10, 2017 by for JSHS.

Robotics Team Rolls into Victory at FTC

Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2017 by for Robotics.

Ocean Science Team prepares for competiton

Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2017 by for Ocean Science.

Nomon Mohammed receives 2 badges in the 2017 Regeneron STS

Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by for Awards, STS.

Urooj Ansari and Bilal Azhar appear on News 12 Brooklyn

Posted on Friday, May 6, 2016 by for ISEF, Media.

Ocean Science Team prepares for competition

Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2017 by for Media, Ocean Science.

As February quickly approaches, the Ocean Science team is preparing for their next big competition.

Ocean Science is an academic competition focusing on topics such as biology, chemistry, physics and geology within the school where they meet three times a week. They prepare to compete in regional tournaments as qualifiers for nationals.

"The team is very dedicated and I’m proud to be a part of it," said Celine Lam ’18.

According to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, there are 25 regional competitions in which the winner from each will advance to the finals, which are typically held in April. This year’s finals will be held in Corvallis, Oregon, and the top three winners will be awarded with a trip to exciting locations.

Lam says that to do well on the team, you need to have perseverance and to maintain your grades.

The team is divided into two groups, A and B team. These teams usually contain a mix of juniors and seniors, with a few sophomores. In the beginning of the school year, members take a pretest, quizzing their prior knowledge. Throughout the school year, the members go through the rigorous curriculum. Then they take their posttest before their qualifying tournament, which decides whether or not they go into A team, B team, or neither.

Last year’s A team performed extraordinarily well and placed ninth place in the national Ocean Science tournament.

"I do feel tensed because you’re expected to get things right, but nobody’s perfect so we’re all working hard," said Jennifer Phu ’17, captain of the A team.

The assistant coach Ms. Kimberly Lau said, "There is now pressure to maintain the title but they work really hard and are doing even more work than last year’s team."

Ms. Lau has been improving the way the team learns the curriculum. Accommodating their regular weekly lessons, the students this year now create targeted questions for each unit in the modules and create presentations per unit. The team then competes with each other after their lessons are completed. Ms. Lau then decides whether or not each student had mastered the subject before moving on.

The head coach for this year will likely remain the assistant principal, Mr. Alan Stack, due to Ms. Lau’s busy schedule.

"I love how everyone is friendly and competitive at the same time," said newcomer Ivy Li ’18, "I love learning weird facts about animals and teaching about a topic in ocean is helping me build confidence in my everyday life."

The team members are very excited for newcomers and want to see how they play in an actual tournament.

"It’s competitive but in the end, we’re all still a family," said captain of the B team, Saleh Salem ’18, "It’s rigorous but as long as you keep up, it’s worth it."

Usually Ms. Lau approaches potential team members, which most of the time are her outgoing students since she knows them well. However, for students who are eager to join can directly approach Ms. Lau on her off hours.

Written by Ashley Masih and Kareem Ibrahim (Class of 2018).
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 edition of Argus.

Robotics Team Rolls into Victory at FTC

Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2017 by for Media, Robotics.

The Rolling Drones, Bötley Crüe, and Pink Droyd of the robotics team will be competing on January 14 for the First Tech Challenge.

"This is preparation for the real tech world," said Rabia Javaid ’17, Bötley Crüe’s engineering notebook keeper.

The teams have been preparing for the qualifiers for months. This year’s competition is Velocity Vortex sponsored by Qualcomm. FTC is a big competition that role plays for real life situations. Collecting balls and bringing them to an higher place is this year’s main theme for scoring high but risky points.

"In other words, future innovator’s robots could go up in space and collect particles," said Javaid ’17.

Programs like FTC spurs up competitive spirits and push out 21 century work-life skills like problem solving, management, and communication to a higher level. Each captain of the team have high responsibilities and management for the team.

"The most difficult thing I had to do was to get everybody on the same page so they could visualize my goals for the robot," said Ron Lazimi ’17, captain of the Bötley Crüe team. "Our robot is decently built with a good chance on getting past the qualifiers but we’re missing some major components like sensors because they didn’t come in time."

Even without the most vital parts of robots, the teams managed to work around the problem. Other captains also expresses their concerns and success.

Larger group portrait

Captain of The Rolling Drones Mari Geguchadze ’17 said, "I’ve never really had to account for an entire team before. Sometimes it’s a little suffocating. I think that aside, we have a pretty good grasp on the competition."

Although The Rolling Drones are experiencing some trouble coordinating, they’ve pulled through with a robot built much quicker than the other two teams.

"This year, AutoCad is very intense due to our time limit. The team works very well together trying to back each other up and giving good feedback on plans and tactics for winning," said Captain of Pink Droyd, Mohammad Ishtiaq ’17.

In the end, the most important thing is that all teams have each other’s support and working together to reach their ultimate goals. "

As time progressed, my team and I grew a bond together and we’re able to make changes and build on each other’s ideas," said Sidney Yee ’18, a builder of Bötley Crüe.

Matthew Eng ’17, another builder of Bötley Crüe, said, "Building with what we came up with was easy but testing and rebuilding takes a lot time in order to reach the consistency that is crucial to robots."

Smaller group portrait

Captains weren’t the only ones to have their hands full. Tasks assigned to team members receive high expectations and are expected to be complete within a certain time frame.

Budget is another problem in this year’s FTC competition. New logos were designed by each respective team. This means there needs to be a new batch of team attire to be ordered and each team member had to pay for their own attire.

"This year’s funds were a lot less than last years and I don’t have direct control over it. I can’t make everyone pay $30 for a T-shirt," said Mr. Jahn, coach of the robotics teams.

Funds were in the hands of Parent’s Association and accessing it was not as easy. With barely enough money to cover the fees of sign-up for the competition, funds were used sparingly.

However, Anthony Annuziato ’17 from Bötley Crüe managed to hook up everybody with three local sponsors. The team is able to get more funds for parts which helps greatly since many remaining parts for the robots were previously abused to even function properly. Sarah Wu ’17 and Tiffany Zhang ’17 from Pink Droyds also put in efforts in fundraising by crafting perler beads art.

This year we also have designed a completely new website ran by Pink Droyds team with Bötley Crüe’s contribution. It serves as a purpose of attraction for people who are interested in our program inside and outside of the school. Visit for more information and details about the teams and classes.

"It’s time for us to face the real challenge, and we are ready," said Javaid ’17.

Written by LeiBin Li (Class of 2018).
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 edition of Argus.

Researchers Compete at ISEF

Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2016 by for ISEF, Media.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) winners were announced on May 12 and 13. Urooj Ansari ’16 and Bilal Azhar ’16, along with 14 other high school seniors, represented New York in this international competition.

The competition is split into several categories of science. Some categories include Biochemistry, Microbiology, Physics, Materials science and many more.

Ansari competed in Microbiology, while Azhar competed in Physics. Ansari and Azhar both got into the competition by winning the ISEF award in NYCSEF on April 1.

“The competition was a lot of fun. It required a lot of work, but the experience was worth it,” said Azhar.

Within each category, awards are given to first, second third and fourth place. In addition, “special awards” are given to competitors for specific criteria.

Ultimately, the Grand Prize is a special award given to the best presenter. Awards are given through judging.

Group photo in front of desert plants

Students are encouraged to prepare/design their posters with creativity and depth, and present with emphasis and clarity.

The specific rubric can be found on the Intel ISEF website. Mr. Glenn Elert, one of the Midwood Research teachers, said, “A lot of the science competitions have awards that are basically invites to other competitions.”

Students get individual awards; however, each competitor is part of a team representing a state/country. Virginia, New York, Canada, and even Japan competed in ISEF on May 12-17 in Phoenix, Arizona.

New York won several awards in a variety of categories. Ultimately, Canada has won the Grand Prize, The Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000.

“ISEF is a lot of work, a lot of fun, and a lot of eating. We spent most of the time figuring out where we will eat,” said Elert.

The first place award was given to the project that developed a better microbial fuel cell that creates electricity effectively.

Ansari’s project focused on a “chemical warfare” between two oral bacteria. Azhar focused on the energy conversion in two different types of magnets used in solid state refrigeration.

Written by Michael Grandel (Class of 2017).
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 edition of Argus.

Sophomore Researchers Take Spotlight

Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2016 by for Media, Science Fair.

From projects on honey and bees to acid rain and corrosion, the science fair covered a wide range of topics and food. Mr. Glenn Elert coordinates the science fair each year, along with help from Ms. Stacy Goldstein and Ms. Shaniece Mosley.

According to Mr. Elert, he has been coordinating the science fair for about eight years, but Midwood itself has been holding the science fair ever since the school opened.

"The fair is a really exciting event," said Mr. Elert. "There’s a lot of energy and it’s a really great thing to experience, especially since some of the alumni come back."

Sophomore research students had to present their projects while the junior and senior research students were the judges. According to Mr. Elert, the judges score the presenters in different categories, then tally up the scores. Afterwards, Ms. Mosley and Ms. Goldstein look at all the scores on a spreadsheet since the presenters are seen by multiple judges, and decide on first, second and third place, along with honorable mentions. Winners will be decided in June after the scores are calculated.

Photo of one of the presentation rooms with presenters and judges
Presenters and judges at work.

Junior judge Mahmoud Abouelkheir ’17, reminisced about when he was a presenter and compared his presenting experience with his judging experience.

"It’s definitely a new experience from being in that presenter position last year to judging this year," said Abouelkheir. "It’s exciting but at the same time I’d prefer not to do it because I don’t like to be critical, especially to these students that worked so hard on their projects."

Abouelkheir said that he prefers presenting over judging because he feels he can better express himself in presenting instead of judging.

Other junior judge Zenab Jamil ’17, shared Abouelkheir’s excitement over judging, but would rather judge than present.

"It feels kind of nostalgic judging these projects because I was in their position last year," said Jamil. "I would definitely much rather judge though. It’s a lot less pressure and a lot less intimidating."

Senior judge Laila Akallal ’16, has already had her experience with presenting and judging, preferring the former.

"It’s really nice to see how the projects differ from year to year and see everyone come together," said Akallal. "Personally I like presenting a little more because I love sharing what I’ve learned and presenting is gonna be something that you’ll have to do later on in life as well."

The judges knew how stressed and worried the presenters were, so they tried to make it as smooth as possible. Abby Beginyazova ’18, is one of the many presenters and praised the judges for making the whole event comfortable for them and as easy as possible.

"Ms. Mosley and the judges really helped to make things easier for us. We had three weeks and I feel like that was a really short time since the first week was all AP tests," said Beginyazova. "Ms. Mosley and the judges gave us leeway because they knew how stressed we all were and how hard we all worked."

Beginyazova also said that she wished she had more time to work on the project so she could’ve done more trials, but she feels confident in her ability and her project.

Presenter Jessica Rakhamim ’18, shared Beginyazova’s appreciation of the judges and how they made the event as smooth as possible and the presenters comfortable.

"My partner and I worked on the project together. She’s a very artistic person and we described the project in a way that showed that music can be applied to science, and I think the judges made it a lot easier to do that," said Rakhamim. "For our project, we had to present our topic and discuss our data and show how it applied to real life. The judges asked questions that were simple and valid enough. Everyone was really nice."

After presenting, students were offered a variety of food, including  sandwiches, snacks and a multitude of sodas to reward them for their hard work. Elizabeth Skapley ’17, was gracious of the fact that the faculty had ordered food for everyone involved in the science fair.

"I think it’s a really nice thing that the school did to help. There were maybe more than a hundred of us and so much food. I’m surprised there were leftovers," said Skapley. "After a long day, it felt good to sit down with my friends and talk about what projects we liked the most. Overall, I’m happy with the results."

Written by Kaelah Blanchette and Yumna Ahmed (Class of 2017).
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 edition of Argus.

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