Three out of the eight “individual project category” students chosen from Westchester and Putnam counties to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) are from Mamaroneck High School. Nifer Fasman, Jack Miller and Alex Mendez were awarded the distinction earlier this month when they participated in a local Intel-affiliated fair. They will travel May 10th to Reno, Nevada for a week-long competition with 1500 other budding scientists from more than 50 countries.
“These students’ success is a reflection of the overall excellent interdisciplinary education they have received. They have succeeded with me because of what they have learned up to this point. These awards are an honor for every teacher in the district,” said Guido Garbarino, who runs the high school’s Original Science Research program, a three-year elective that students begin in 10th grade. “I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to take these students to the ISEF fair, the biggest in the world. This is an opportunity they will never forget.”
To earn the honor of participating on the international level, millions of students worldwide compete in local and school-sponsored science fairs. The winners of these events go on to participate in regional and state fairs, which then select only a handful of students for the ISEF.
Earlier this month, eleven MHS students, including Nifer Fasman, Jack Miller and Alex Mendez, competed in the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair, and six of these students placed in the top four in their categories. Each was required to deliver a formal presentation of their scientific accomplishments in a poster forum to professional researchers in the area. For each of the six judges, students described their projects for seven minutes and then answered questions for an additional five minutes.
“These students are the future,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Fried.
“They represent the best of today’s young scientific minds, and we congratulate each of them on this incredible accomplishment. We’re so glad they have the opportunity to showcase their work on an international stage and believe they’ll benefit greatly by experiencing the common characteristics of other high quality science research projects from around the world.”
At the ISEF, the students will present their work to top scientists and researchers from around the world. They will compete for more than four million dollars in prizes and scholarships.
Nifer Fasman’s project is titled “Expression of floral MADS-box genes in the Aristolochiaceae family”. For her project, Nifer worked with scientists at The New York Botanical Garden. Nifer’s project sought to determine whether a particular genetic model of floral development called the ABC model, which is present in recent plants, is also present in the older Aristolochiaceae family of plants. Her results suggest that it was.
Jack Miller’s project is titled “Detection of calcium hydroxy apatite in soft tissue phantom using multi modality imaging”. Calcium deposits are significant because they can be markers for diseases. For his project, Jack tested the effectiveness of X-rays, CT scans, MRI and Ultrasound imaging in detecting these deposits. His results suggest that ultrasound may be the most sensitive modality for detecting calcium deposits. Above certain concentrations of calcium, a shadowing effect was detected with ultrasound. This effect had been previously unmeasured. Jack worked at the Department of Radiology and Imaging at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Alex Mendez’s project is titled “The analysis if immune response in rV-41BBL vaccination with lymphodepletion in B16 melanoma”. Alex’s project focused on cancer vaccines. Alex used a vaccine expressing a costiumlatory molecule to create and augment an immune response in the local tumor microenvironment. The immune response is designed to attack the cancer in the hope of stopping metastasis.