14 students on North Shore named Regeneron semifinalists

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Schreiber seniors Hope Lane, Noah Loewy and Zoya Unni were three of 14 students on the North Shore named semifinalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search. (Photos courtesy of the Port Washington Union Free School District)

Fourteen students from school districts across the North Shore have been named semifinalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, with Manhasset Secondary School and the Wheatley School leading the pack.

The competition, formerly sponsored by Westinghouse and then Intel before its current sponsor, pharmaceutical company Regeneron, is run each year by the Society for Science and the Public, with the goal of finding solutions to the world’s challenges from budding young scientists.

From an initial 1,760 applications, 300 students across the country were named scholars in the 2021 contest, with 39 being from Long Island and 14 of those students representing the North Shore. The 300 scholars and their schools will be awarded $2,000 each.

“The remarkable drive, creativity and intellectual curiosity that each one of these scholars possesses represents a hopeful outlook for our future and our collective wellbeing,” said Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of the Society for Science, publisher of Science News and a 1985 Science Talent Search alumna“At a time when many students’ educational experiences are being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am incredibly humbled to see gifted young scientists and engineers eager to contribute fresh insights to solving the world’s most intractable problems.”

At Manhasset Secondary School, winning students and their projects include Mir Zayid Alam with “Identification of Genetic Biomarkers for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Using an Automated Microarray-Based Pipeline and Pathway Enrichment,” Emily Ma with “Optimizing the Efficiency of Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells,” Emma Wang with “Investigating Potential Agro-Economic Benefits of Solar Pollinator Habitats,” and Julius Yoh with “The Optimization of Desalination and Ion-Removal Rate Through the Engineering of Novel Turbulent Modular Designs in an Electrodialysis System.”

“On behalf of our entire school district, we extend our congratulations to Emily, Emma, Julius and Mir on their outstanding achievement,” Superintendent Vincent Butera said in a statement. “We are extremely proud of their hard work and dedication and wish them much success as they continue on in the competition.”

Tying with Manhasset Secondary is the Wheatley School in Old Westbury, part of the East Williston School District, again with four students.

Students and their projects include Lucy Zha with “Investigating the Therapeutic Potential of Curcumin and Capsaicin: A Comparative Study on Neuroblastoma and Hypothalamic Cells,” Anya Chabria with “A New Look at Writing: Using Fractal Geometry to Evaluate Whether SLV Affects the Readability of Written Works,” Victor Li with “Acoustic Analysis of Laser-Induced Graphene: Development of Quantitative Indicators for Direct Determination of Quality and Microstructure Morphology,” and Manav Bansal with “Metformin and Mannose Inhibit Human Hepatic Stellate Cell Activation and Proliferation: Implications for Anti-Fibrotic Therapies in Patients with MPI Deficiency and Chronic Liver Disease.”

Following those schools is Schreiber High School in Port Washington with three semifinalists, with students and their projects including Hope Lane with “Optimizing the Interconnectivity of the Liver Allocation Network to Minimize Death and Inequality Using LivSim,” Noah Loewy with “Developing an Empirical Model to Forecast United States Presidential Elections: A Machine Learning Approach,” and Zoya Unni with “Shelter-in-Place, Connect Online: What Trending TikTok Content Reveals about Social Media use During the Early Days of the U.S. COVID-19 Pandemic.”

“It’s remarkable to witness the expertise and extensive knowledge of our students – Hope, Noah and Zoya – being recognized at a national level,” said Michael Hynes, superintendent of Port Washington district, in a statement. “This is an incredible achievement that speaks directly to the commitment and talent we have in our district from our students and teachers alike. Together, we look forward to supporting our students as they move into the next round of the competition.”

North Shore High School in Glen Head has two semifinalists, with students and their projects including Lucia Martin with “The Effect of Political Division on Compliance with COVID-19 Health Guidelines,” and Kate Weseley-Jones with “Parenthood: Penalty or Premium? The Effect of Parental Status and Gender on Perceptions of Physicians.”

Great Neck South High School and Herricks High School each had one semifinalist. South senior Mia Wang was named a semifinalist with her project “Assessing the Impacts of Social Determinants on Adult Obesity Rates in New York,” and Herricks student Rhea Rasquinha was honored for her project “Identifying the Prognostic, Tumor-Suppressive and Immunologic Roles of IRF5 in Breast Cancer.”

On Jan. 21, 40 of the 300 scholars will be named Regeneron Science Talent Search finalists, and from Mar. 10 to Mar. 17, all 40 finalists will compete for more than $1.8 million in awards provided by Regeneron.

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