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9 years in the making… Lucy Lin awes at international competition

Posted on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 by for ISEF, Media.

Victory revisited the Hornet hive as Lucy Lin’ 15 traveled to Intel ISEF (Intel International Science and Engineering Fair) on May 11. She regained an honor not bestowed to the Intel Science Research class in the last nine years by winning NYSCEF (New York Science and Engineering Fair) with her experiment on removing toxins from the ground using mushrooms.

"ISEF was a life changing experience," said Lin. "I got to meet people who are going to ivy leagues and I still keep in contact with them."

Lin and Mr. Glenn Elert, chaperone, spent one week in the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel for the competition. Mr. Elert made Lin practice her explanation for the judges and went to represent not only Midwood, but New York City. Only 18 students from New York were accepted out of the 1,700 ISEF candidates.

"Her project won because it had real world application," said Mr. Elert. "Plus she did so much work."

Currently, Lin has won first place in NYSCEF and is a finalist for ISEF. In addition, she won first place at the Brooklyn College Science Fair and third place at JSHS (Junior Science and Humanities Symposium).

Lin’s project, "Degradation of TPH-Diesel through Mycoremediation," was about finding out if she could use oyster mushrooms to clean out diesel from contaminated soil. Her conclusion was that the mushrooms weren’t able to degrade due to other factors such as PH levels and bacteria,

"We all put in a lot of effort in our projects," said Lin. "We have been working on our projects since junior year."

Currently in her lab at Brooklyn College, she is passing on her knowledge of how the lab runs and how to use the equipment to the four juniors taking over next year. She worked on her project while four other Midwood students, Vivian Cheng’ 15 and Xiao Yan Hu’ 15, Melissa Li’ 15, Wenli Wang ’15 and their professor, Dr. Joshua Cheng, continued their work.

Lin’s major struggle was the lack of available time to work on her experiment. While Dr. Cheng taught her the basics such as how to test the soil, Lin rarely saw him. As her classmates did other experiments on different topics such as Wang ’15, who researched on removing bacteria using mushrooms or Cheng ’15 who worked on gathering information on a new carbon. Lin was left in the care of Jan Mun, an artist and mushroom specialist. Due to timing of Jan Mun’s schedule, in the beginning, she was only able to attend lab twice a week and then the time was cut down to once a week.

"I’m so proud of Lucy," said Cheng ’15. "I always see her so focused on her project. She deserves the honor."

Lin does not have plans to continue her research as she wants to major in finance and mathematics at Macaulay Honors Baruch College. She leaves her work for those who will follow her.

Written by Amy Feng.
This article originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of Argus.