North Shore students named Siemens finalists, semifinalists

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Six Herricks High School students were named semifinalists and two advanced as finalists in the Siemens Competition for Math, Science and Technology. Front row, from left, Christina Kim, Ryan Hou and Joanna Lau. Back row, Rushi Patel, Sahith Vadada and Shifa Ali. (Photo courtesy of Herricks school district)

Five North Shore students were honored last week as regional finalists in the 2017 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology.

Regional finalists in the competition include Austin Lee of Roslyn High School, Sahith Vadada of Herricks High School, Rushikesh Patel, also of Herricks, Vedant Singh of the Wheatley School and Baokun Gu of Manhasset High School.

All regional finalists receive a $1,000 prize.

Students from Great Neck South High School, Herricks High School, Manhasset High School, North Shore Hebrew Academy High School, Roslyn High School and the Wheatley School were honored among the 56 Long Island students named as semifinalists.

“It is a huge honor to be named a regional finalist in such a competitive state with lots of talented researchers,” Lee said. “I had lots of people who helped me with the entire experience — my partners who co-authored our paper, my 11th grade biology, physics, and English teachers, my research mentor and my parents — whom I’m all very thankful for. This past summer was definitely a summer well spent.”

Lee was honored as part of a team, including Garden City senior Alan Jian and Caitlyn Chen of the Spence School in Manhattan, for a project called “Synthesis and Evaluation of Novel Anti-Cancer Maleic Anhydride Derivatives for the Treatment of Cancers.” The team attempted to find the basis for a cost-effective treatment for colon cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by synthesizing derivatives of a compound known as maleic anhydride.

Vincent Yao of Roslyn High School was also honored as a semifinalist.

Herricks High School boasted four semifinalists, Shifa Ali, Ryan Hou, Christina Kim and Joanna Lau, and two regional finalists. Vadada and Patel teamed up with Singh of the Wheatley School for their project, “Evaluating the Effects of Graphene-Loaded Poly Electrospun Fiber Scaffolds and Spun-cast Thin Films on the Proliferation and Differentiation of Dental Pulp Stem Cells in vitro.”

“We are extremely proud of this year’s recipients of these very prestigious accolades,” Herricks High School Principal James Ruck said. “Their success is a result of their commitment to and curiosity about science, work ethic and intelligence, an extremely talented staff and their supportive parents.”

Gu, a Manhasset junior affectionately known as Jacky, teamed up with Stanley Wong of Hunter College High School for their project using online databases of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory to filter out noise from the data and use the results to discover 1,300 previously unknown gravitational signals.

We are very proud of the work that Jacky has done here at Manhasset,” Thomas Elkins, district coordinator for science, health and technology, said. “He is one of the hardest workers I have ever met, and he is most deserving of this recognition.”

Manhasset semifinalists include Tiffeny Chen, Fred Chu, Stephen Lee, William Peng and Susan Wu.

Six Great Neck South High School students were honored as semifinalists: Shao Chen, Kimberly Lu, Cindy Wang, Ethan Wang, Michelle Xing and Ann Zhang. Xing’s project, “Direct Functionalization of Algal Nanocellulose to Enhance Biosorption for Lead Remediation,” showed that treatments of algae created nanocellulose, which was shown to absorb lead ions from contaminated water.

Two North Shore Hebrew Academy High School students, Jason Kurlander and Dylan Makani, were the only two students nominated as semifinalists from a Long Island yeshiva school among the 491 nationwide.

The contest awards two $100,000 grand prizes — one for an individual and one for a team of two or three students. Two $50,000 second place prizes are awarded, and other national finalists receive $25,000 each.

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