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Six Syosset Students Named 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Scholars

Six Syosset High School students have been named 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Search (Regeneron STS) Scholars. Congratulations to seniors Sabrina Guo, Zachary David Kam, Anika Shah, Vivek Turakhia, Alex Wang, and Tianyi (Tina) Zhang. The Regeneron STS is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition.

These students were selected from 1,949 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 (January 24). 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 as demonstrated through the submission of their original, independent research projects, essays, and recommendation.

"Today is such a special day. Being named a Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholar is a remarkable accomplishment that is a result of tireless work by these brilliant students,” said Syosset High School research facilitator Veronica Ade. “We are so proud of these six students and what they have achieved during their time in our research program.”

Of these six Syosset seniors, two of them conducted scientific research, while the other four conducted social science research projects.

Sabrina Guo completed her project “Differential Emergency Contraceptive Use Among Young Women in the United States From 2006 to 2019” under the direction of Dr. Aliya Kuerban at Molloy University. Access to emergency contraception (EC), an essential reproductive healthcare resource, is limited by barriers to reproductive care such as socioeconomic background. Guo’s study analyzes inequities in the US’ reproductive health system by examining potential relationships between women’s use of EC and their race, educational achievement, and other factors. Data from Guo’s results can potentially drive public health policies and legislation and improve access to family planning among women—especially among marginalized populations.

Zachary David Kam completed his project “Transformative Transactions: An Analysis of Factors Affecting ESG and Impact Investing Behaviors” at Syosset High School under the direction of Mr. Andrew Manzo and Mr. Brett Klopp.  Zach examined the effect that factors like political alignment, means of investment, risk tolerance, and investing experience has on the likelihood of investors to engage in environment, social, and governance (ESG) investments and impact investments, which seek financial gain while concomitantly inducing positive world change. Zach’s identification of trends that lead to an increase in ESG and impact investing is critical as they can be leveraged to accelerate world-positive investing, therefore offering an effective means of addressing global challenges.

Anika Shah’s project titled “Effects of Class-Conscious Admissions on College Campus Racial Diversity” was completed at Syosset High School. Under the direction of Mr. Andrew Manzo and Mr. Brett Klopp. Anika examined how test-requirement policies impact diversity on college campuses.  She found that the test-optional policies allow for increased racial and socioeconomic diversity, which suggests potential bias in standardized testing, such as the SAT and ACT.

Vivek Turakhia completed his project, “Aluminum Hydroxide-Induced Dopaminergic Neuron Degeneration and α-Synuclein Aggregation in the Caenorhabditis elegans Model of Parkinson’s Disease” at Syosset High School under the direction of Dr. Mary Hendrickson, Ms. Olivia LaRocca and Mr. Thomas Allen. Vivek studied the potential for a prominent flame retardant, aluminum hydroxide, to induce Parkinson's disease in the model biological organism C. elegans. Through investigating dopamine neuron degeneration and α-synuclein aggregation in the organisms after they were exposed to aluminum hydroxide, Vivek was able to conclude that it has the potential to be neurotoxic in a living organism.

Alex Wang project titled “Spatially Multiplexed Gold Leaf Electrodes for Affordable Pathogenic Detection” was completed under the direction of Dr. Ariel Furst at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Alex developed an accurate, low-cost, and easily accessible diagnostic device using gold-leaf electrodes which can detect tuberculosis for under $3. The device combined multiple sensor positions with a diagnostic CRISPR-Cas12a method to create an effective point-of-care device that analyzes changes in surface conductivity to detect tuberculosis DNA. 

Tianyi (Tina) Zhang also conducted her research under the direction of Mr. Andrew Manzo and Mr. Brett Klopp at Syosset High School. Her project, titled “Consonant Correspondences in Sound Symbolic Words Across Indo-European Languages” studied the relationship between word sounds and meanings in spoken languages. Tina’s study sought to find what could be linked to these potential non-arbitrary similarities in words, also known as “sound symbolic words,” across Indo-European languages.

The 40 finalists in the competition 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.