Fiona Wong, Calhoun High School’s class of 2024 valedictorian, placed first in the chemistry category and several Kennedy High School students were named semifinalists at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium held on Feb. 11.
Her project, Computer-Aided Drug Design of Sterylglucosidase A Inhibitors to Treat Aspergillosis, focuses on creating new drugs to inhibit the respiratory fungus, Aspergillus fumigatus, in immunocompromised populations.
“Software was used to simulate the efficacy of these designed drugs before additional steps are taken to synthesize the chemicals,” explained Advanced Science Research Director Jennifer Pefanis.
Wong advanced to the regional final symposium, which was held on Feb. 24 at York College.While her JSHS journey ended there, she finished in the top of the category for all of Long Island competitors.
Eight students from Kennedy High School competed at JSHS on Feb. 11 as well. Seniors Minami Rodger, Ava Goldsmith, Paula Pastor, Dylan Friedman and Claire Schwartz and juniors Jack Levitt, Mark Prainito and Jayden Simon were named semifinalists.
“This is the most semifinalists we have ever had and it's the first time for any juniors from Kennedy to be included,” noted Barbi Frank, the ASR director at Kennedy.
Rodger placed third in the behavioral science category for her research, The Use of Ultrasonography to Estimate Visceral Adipose Tissue Mass and Effect on Risk of Hyperketonemia.
JSHS invites high school students to report on the results of their original research investigations in STEM and compete for scholarships and recognition at university-held regional symposia.