Seven Scientists Make Finals at City FairMonday, April 26, 2010 By Madeline Halimi ’11
Seven Midwood students progressed to the finals round in the annual New York City Science and Engineering Fair, NYCSEF, on March 23, 2010 at The American Museum of Natural History. The seven students who made it to the finals round to represent Midwood were Alex Afanasyev ’10, Clarice Lee ’10, Ying Yao Louie ’10, Farhana Pinki ’10, Kurnvir Singh’10, Jason Tam ’10, and Lawrence Tse ’10. Of these students, six were part of Science Intel and one was part of Social Science Intel. NYCSEF is a high school research competition sponsored by the New York City Department of Education and the City University of New York. Every year, hundreds of students come together to share their research projects and compete for over $4 million in scholarships and awards. "What it does is it provides an opportunity for students to highlight themselves for a chance of scholarships and recognition," said Mr. Michael McDonnell, the Assistant Principal of the Physical Science department, who has been responsible for the program at Midwood for about seven years. The preliminary round was held on March 7, 2010 at the City College of New York. Mr. McDonnell was one of the judges for this round of the competition. "To have six students go to the finals shows the good quality of their projects," he said. According to Mr. McDonnell, Midwood has a long tradition of being involved in science and research. He said many of the projects were biomedical, relating to biology or medicine. Afanasyev, whose project involved using a bat ear to model the scanning of acoustic space, said, "My goal was to do my best at presenting my project, share my knowledge, and gain some extra credit for the class." Although no Midwood students made it to the ISEF, the international level held in San Jose, California, they received NYCSEF merchandise, such as a thermos and carrier bag, as well as a chance to share their knowledge with teachers and other students. "I was pretty excited for this competition because out of the 400 plus people we were chosen to participate in the finals," said Tam, whose project was called The Educational Expectation of Second and Third Generation American Students. According to Tam, his project explored the factors that affected how second and third generation students developed their educational expectations. He discovered that second generation American students had a higher educational expectation than third generation American students. "I felt Midwood performed strongly in this competition," he said. "There were many good projects at the fair and out of 130 people only about 20 were going to be chosen to compete in ISEF." According to Tam, the process began with registration and setting up. Afterwards, the projects were open to viewing. When the viewing session was over, everyone had lunch, after which the judging began. "Although none of us were chosen to continue on to ISEF," Tam said optimistically. "I can safely say that this competition provided us with a great opportunity to display our knowledge through the projects we worked hard on and also meet many other talented individuals in the competition."