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Five Syosset Students Named 2021 Regeneron Science Talent Scholars

Congratulations to Syosset High School seniors Aryan Ghotra, Maiya Raghu, Giselle Rasquinha, Isabella Souza, and Eric Wang. The Regeneron STS is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition.

These students were selected from 1,760 U.S. and international high school students who submitted original research in critically important scientific fields of study. They are among 300 students named Regeneron STS scholars and hope to be among 40 finalists named later this month. Each scholar will receive a $2,000 award with an additional $2,000 per scholar going to the high school to support STEM education. STS scholars are selected based on their exceptional research skills, commitment to academics, innovative thinking and promise as scientists. This year evaluators and judges also took into consideration the changes and adaptations students have had to face due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tom Rogers applauded the students saying, “In a year that has made education that much more challenging, these students’ accomplishments are all the more remarkable. These five students have proven that perseverance and tenacity are the keys to success, no matter the circumstances.”

“I am very excited and proud of the dedication and passion that the students have shown, especially through the pandemic,” remarked Syosset High School research facilitator Veronica Ade. “The difficulties the students have faced throughout the past ten months are unprecedented and their accomplishment carries even more weight amidst the pandemic.”

Aryan completed his project “Mathematical Models of Quaternary Body Equilibria” under the direction of Ms. Erin O’Rourke at Syosset High School, studying quaternary systems in order to find an approximate solution. This solution could be used to find the most optimal combination of concentrations of bridging species and values of dissociation constants in various reactions, such as various chemical reactions.

Maiya completed her project “The Effect of Blue Light and Epigallocatechin Gallate on Oxidative Stress in Caenorhabaitis elegans” over the last two years at the Syosset High School laboratory. Maiya studied the damaging effects of blue light on the model organism, C. elegans, as well as possible remedies for these effects. Although her research was interrupted last March at the close of school, she was able to complete her project despite the challenges of COVID-19.

Giselle has worked on her HIV research for her project “Novel Strategies Targeting Entry and Membrane Fusions Steps in the Viral Life-Cycle to Enhance Potency and Stability of HIV-1 Inhibitors and Inactivators” at the Lindsley Kimball Research Institute in New York City, under the direction of Dr. Lanying Du for the past three years. She has been studying a new treatment for HIV, in order to inhibit the virus from infecting healthy cells. Giselle continued her research over the summer despite all the obstacles in her way.

Isabella’s project “Seeing Through the Scan: The Impact of fMRI Evidence on Juror Satisfaction and Verdicts,” was completed this spring under the direction of Mr. Andrew Manzo at Syosset High School. Isabella was interested in the effect that scientific evidence had on jury decisions and asked fellow students to read through evidence and trial transcripts. She persevered when COVID-19 required the school to close, making a quick switch to an online survey to complete her work.

Eric’s project, “Investigation of Novel Anti-Cancer Effects of Oxymatrine and Deferoxamine on Neuroblastoma,” was completed at SUNY Old Westbury under the direction of Dr. Wei Zhu studying neuroblastoma treatment. Eric studied neuroblastoma tumors, specifically focusing on the anti-metastasis and anti-cancer effects of the medication deferoxamine in combination with the naturally occurring Chinese herb extract oxymatrine.

The 40 finalists in the competition, to be named on January 21, will undergo a rigorous judging process, interact with leading scientists, display their research for the public, meet with national leaders, and compete for more than $1.8 million in awards provided by Regeneron.