Seniors Dominate at JSHS Research Competitions

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Bridget Kulcsar

Leah Yoes ‘18 was a second place winner in the category of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the regional level of JSHS.

Following three years of research, many seniors submitted their papers and projects to a wide number of competitions, including the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS). JSHS is a competition in which students lead a twelve-minute presentation exploring a variety of topics, including Social Science, Biology, and Engineering. This year, twelve Bronx Science students won first, second, or third place in their respective categories in the regional sect of the competition. Six of these students also qualified as finalists and competed at the Regional Final Symposium in February. Three students, Natasha Stamler ’18, Vera Zarubin ’18, and Wataru Takada ’18 were selected as national delegates and competed in Maryland from May 2nd to 5th, 2018.

Students began their research journeys during their sophomore year, where they learned the basics of data collection and scientific investigation. Eventually, they moved on to contacting mentors and working in laboratories and other research institutions, contributing to projects in specialized STEM fields.

Stamler’s project, “Creating a Model to Optimize and Evaluate the Heat-Reducing Capacity of Green Infrastructure,” focused on protecting the city from rising temperatures. “It was important to me to make sure that I could make a real impact,” Stamler said. “Since this was a national competition rather than New York City only, I also prepared some explanations of my maps for those unfamiliar with New York City.”

Takada’s project was titled “On the Growth of Exponential Progressions,” incorporating his passion for mathematics through his research in complex problems allowing him to delve deep into them. He said, “I hoped to gain a once-in-a-lifetime experience, working in a field that I love with true experts.”

About 8,000 students participate in the competition annually, which is sponsored by the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force. The symposia take place at the regional, statewide, national, and international levels.

The second place winner in the Biology category of NYC Regional JSHS was Haina Lu ’18. She said, “We all prepared in class by presenting once or twice to our classmates, since our class sizes are so small. Most of the work on the presentation is also done in class, and once that was done, we had a twelve-minute presentation and listened to our peers.”

The competition gives students the opportunity to interact with students from other schools and to gain public recognition, offering further insight into the STEM community. Additionally, students are able to expand their research through connections with the Army, Navy, and Air Force STEM programs.

“I hope to dive deeper into my exploration of medicine, and orthopedics more specifically, through this research,” said Uma Balachandran ’18.

The wide variety of categories for competition gives students a plethora of options to explore their interests, develop their talents, and compete.

“I chose Social Science research because I wanted to work on a project that had broader societal implications,” Leah Yoes ’18 said, second place winner of the Behavioral and Social Sciences category in the regional competition. “While my project is very specific to ADHD research and how brain functioning works with that disorder, my results were very strong and suggest that greater changes can be made to institutions like health care and education in order to combat obesity in conjunction with attention problems.” Yoes added that it was rewarding to be recognized by JSHS, and hopes to feel the same way in the future when she pursues her interests.

With such widespread success, many winners have high hopes for the future, such as Uma Balachandran ’18, who said, “I hope to dive deeper into my exploration of medicine, and orthopedics more specifically, through this research.”

These students are likely to use the many opportunities that these types of competitions offer in order to further their interest in science and technology.

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