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Senior Research brings home six awards

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

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

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

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

Wen Li Wang with her mentor Ms. Jan Mun

Taulant Kastrati speaking to a judge

Carmine See speaking to a judge

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

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

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

Mohammed Hasan speaking to a judge

Zainab Iqbal speaking to a judge

Hillary Syeda speaking to judges

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

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

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

Raymond Yu greeting a judge

Yukie Wong speaking to judges

Samar Syeda and Samantha Chee presenting their project

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

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

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

Dr. Carlo Yuvienco prepares demonstrations for his keynote presentation

A nearly complete Midwood Science group photo

Zainab Iqbal with her mentor Dr. Sara Chiara Haden

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

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

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

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

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