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Five CHSD Students Named Regeneron Scholars

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Three seniors from Mepham High School and two from Kennedy High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District were named Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholars on Jan. 10.

This is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. They are among 300 students chosen nationwide for this distinction.
The scholars completed three years of independent research in their respective school’s Advanced Science Research Program.

At Mepham, Christiana Foufas, who is also the class of 2024 valedictorian, investigated Adapting to Pressure: The Bone Structure-Function Relationship in the Rabbit Talus. Foufas studied how trabecular bone tissue models under conditions of tension and compression to better understand the bone structure-function relationship and its role in osteoporosis and recovery after amputation. 

Salutatorian Matt Yang, studied the MultiFormer: Single-Cell ATAC to RNA Prediction Framework. His research concentrated on predicting RNA expression resulting from chromatin (DNA) accessibility.

Molly Graff worked on Think Fast: An Assessment of Cognitive Processing in Relation to Smartphone Proximity. This investigation holds the potential to enable early detection of cancer and hereditary diseases.

Their teachers are Dr. David Kommor, Neeru Partap and Jeannettee Spargifiore. 

“This honor exemplifies the unwavering commitment to excellence and tireless efforts both they and their teachers display on a daily basis,” noted Heather Bizewski, a science chairperson assigned to Mepham. “Their work has elevated the entire educational community here at Mepham. We are so very proud of our students and their teachers on this remarkable accomplishment. It is a testament to their passion, resilience, and the pursuit of excellence. We applaud their achievements and look forward to witnessing their continued success as they inspire others to reach new heights.”

Kennedy’s Cole Wasserman, also the class of 2024 salutatorian, investigated APC-Mediated Expansion of hPSC-Derived Natural Killer Cells. His research concerned cell signaling pathways in the human immune system. 

Claire Schwartz focused on The Administration of Sulforaphane via Broccoli Sprouts Ameliorates Parkinson's Disease Phenotypes in a Drosophila melanogaster Model. She investigated the effect of diet on Parkinson's disease.

Their teachers are Barbi Frank and Alexis Vandergoot.

“Their research findings are novel and make meaningful contributions to medical research within the scientific community,” added Robert Soel, science chairperson assigned to Kennedy and the district’s STEM chairperson. “They have consistently demonstrated grit, academic talent, and passion for their independent science research projects. Our ASR seniors are innovative young scientist who serve as role models for all the students.”

Each of the Regeneron Scholars is awarded $2,000 for themselves and $2,000 to support science and research at their respective schools.

From that select pool of scholars, 40 student finalists to be selected on Jan. 24 are invited to participate in final judging, display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists and compete for awards, including the top award of $250,000. 


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