Three students at John F. Kennedy High School, and one student who recently moved out of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, were named semifinalists in the 2015 Intel Science Talent Search contest.
Seniors Beatrice Brown, Samuel Epstein and Justin Shapiro were notified of their designation while gathering in the science rooms at Kennedy. Former Kennedy High School student Jayson Chojar was also selected as an Intel semifinalist at the Greenwich, Connecticut high school to which he transferred just before his senior year. Chojar completed the bulk of his winning project during his three years at Kennedy and while living in Connecticut via Skype with Kennedy teachers Barbi Frank and Barbara Franklin.
Only 300 students were designated semifinalists out of more than 1,800 entrants from 460 high schools in 41 states, Puerto Rico and five American international high schools located overseas.
Kennedy High School Principal Lorraine Poppe said Chojar traveled down from Connecticut to celebrate with his fellow semifinalists and other Advanced Science Research students that entered the contest.
Brown’s standout research project was one that hit close to home. After her family lost their home during Superstorm Sandy, Brown dedicated her scientific inquiry to developing more effective means of predicting violent weather patterns on Long Island. Her project was titled “Forecasting Hurricane Hazards for the Long Island Area.” She worked with science mentors from the University of North Florida and Ocean Weather Inc. in Coscob, Connecticut.
Epstein’s research project, “The Effects of the Modulation of TOR Signaling and Microbial Exposure on Feeding Behavior in Drosophila melanogaster,” observed the dietary patterns of fruit flies in an attempt to research how caloric intake can be controlled to reduce the risk of disease and potentially slow the aging process. Epstein worked with mentors out of Long Island University.
Shapiro worked with researchers at Harvard University for his project, titled “An Analysis of Corporate Response to Climate Change.” The project studies whether or not corporations experience any revenue benefits from their efforts to mitigate climate change.
Chojar focused on the criminal justice system for his project, “Effects of Evidence Evaluation Placement on Juror Sensitization to Non Case-Specific New Jersey Henderson Instructions.” The study, conducted with mentors at CUNY John Jay College, found that changing the instructions jurors receive when asked to render a verdict could decrease the rate of false convictions based on mistaken identities and eyewitness testimony.