Advanced Science Research Students Earn First Honors at Science Fair

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Three sophomores from the district earned First Honors Awards at the Molloy College Kathy Belton Science Fair.

Sonia Sarju of Calhoun High School’s Advanced Science Research program was part of a three-person team that studied environmental research. 

After discussing common passions of environmental research with her teammates from St. Anthony’s & Syosset High Schools, they worked on a project titled, "ZnO NP Regulation: Identification of the IRT1 Ortholog in Lemma minor" at the iResearch Institute at Nassau Community College last summer.

“We explored the negative effects that zinc oxide nanoparticles – a chemical found in sunscreens and makeup – had in a plant,” she explained. “These chemicals are released into the water and sewage systems by the factories that make these products and therefore produce a negative effect on our ecosystems.”

Out of the 250 projects presented at the science fair, only 15 were awarded this distinction. 

“It’s interesting to uncover the different plants and animals around us and how they have an impact on people who have no idea. To find out how they impact us directly and make that connection to the world is a very unique experience,” she added.

Two sophomores in Kennedy High School’s Advanced Science Research program were also awarded First Honors.

David Frank studied “A Table Magician’s Greatest Trick: Affecting A Patron’s Tipping Habits Without Them Knowing.”

Frank conducted research at his Friday night job working as a table magician at a local restaurant.

“I wanted to see what I could do to increase the size of my tips and how many people were actually leaving me tips,” Frank said. “So, I started researching and came across the concept of reciprocity.” 

Katherine St. George researched “The Effect of Urine Concentration on Plant Growth.” Her research found that too many applications could eventually hinder plant growth, despite its known use as nutrients for plants.

The Molloy College Kathy Belton Science Fair allowed students the opportunity to gain a sense of scientific community with their peers, in their respective disciplines. They became members of a peer review process, which is the foundation of scientific research at all levels.