25 from North Shore make Siemens semifinalists

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Fifteen Manhasset High School students were named semifinalists for the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology — the most of any school on Long Island.

“We’re very, very pleased with the results,” said Tom Elkins, the Manhasset School District coordinator for science, health and technology. “All of the students worked very hard.”

The Manhasset semifinalists included Tiffeny Chen, Emma Fleishman, Elin Hu, Summar Khan, RIchard Lee, Stephen Lee, Matthew Palmadessa, Bart Voto, Ryan Thorpe, Sung Won Seo, Rachel Chang, Fred Chu, Ashley Kim, William Peng and Vanessa Zhang.

Last year, two Manhasset students won $100,000 for the top team award. 

The Siemens Competition, which honored 498 semifinalists nationally and 69 on Long Island, “is the nation’s premier science research competition for high school students,” according to its website.

Judges recognize students who demonstrate scientific achievement, “but also the collaborative teamwork that is often characteristic of successful scientific and technological endeavors,” according to the website.

Team projects, the website says, are evaluated separately from the individual projects, but use the same criteria.

Four students from William A. Shine Great Neck South High School were named semifinalists, including Shawn King, Hanxuan Kuang, Jaysen Zhang and Aric Zhuang.

The science research classes at South are made up of 114 students out of 1,223 total students.

“I think that we have a wonderful science research program here at school that starts in ninth grade and really helps students to frame and then explore and then expand their questions,” said Susan Elliot, the  high school principal.

Elliot said the school’s science program is unique because it doesn’t focus on competitions, but instead helps students become “thoughtful, careful, curious scientists.”

Luhan Chen from Great Neck North High School received the semifinal honor.

Eunice Kim, a senior from Roslyn High School, was named a semifinalist for her project on deep learning.

The project is a way to use computers to identify the edges of different cells in computer images, according to Allyson Weseley, a research director at Roslyn High School.

Weseley said, Kim’s project “plays to the kinds of things Siemens likes.”

“We’re really happy for her, really proud of Eunice,” Weseley said. 

Natalie Tan, a senior from Herricks High School, was named a semifinalist for the second year in a row.

Tan’s materials science project, which she conducted at Stony Brook University, was honored this year.

“She’s a student to watch,” said Renne Barcia, director of Herricks’ science research program. “She’s one of those rare students.”

Sarah Gottesman, Caroline Katz and Rebecca Muratore from Paul D. Schreiber  High School were named semifinalists from the Port Washington School District.

“This honor places them in a special class of young scientists who are recognized for performing truly groundbreaking work in a laboratory setting,” said Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Mooney. “ We applaud them and everyone who has helped them along the way.”

The three Schreiber students worked closely with a science research teacher, Marla Ezratty, to prepare for the competition, a news release said.

Gottesman, Katz and Muratore are being honored for their project titled “The Behavioral Effects of Sodium Withdrawal on the Planarian,” which they worked on as a team.

Three hundred of the 498 students will be selected as finalists, and 60 students will advance to the regional finals stage.

The competition will be capped off at the national finals where six individual and six team winners will compete.

By Stephen Romano

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