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4 Excel at Junior Science & Humanities Symposium

FEB 12, 2019 - Roslyn High School had four students advance to the Semifinals round of the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium held on February 3 at York College. Jasmine Berger, Emily Leventhal, Brandon Lee, and Alex Liu spent the day presenting their research projects.

"I was really impressed with the quality of all the presentations I saw," reported Dr. Allyson Weseley, Coordinator of Roslyn’s Research Program, who prepared and accompanied the students to the symposium.

Roslyn High School students in the semifinals at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
The students competed in groups of 10-12 alongside students from across Long Island who had done work in an area related to theirs. Panels of judges from York College listened to the presentations and asked questions of the students. Ultimately one student from each room was selected to advance to the finals of the competition, which will be held on February 23. Roslyn High School’s Brandon Lee was selected to advance from the Biology category.

Brandon's project is the culmination of two summers spent working at John Hopkins. His project focused on creating a therapeutic that combines albumin, a protein with a relatively long half-life, and cytokines, proteins in the body that help fight cancers, to create a safe and efficient way to elicit anti-tumor effects. His study shows that albumin is a potential candidate for a drug delivery strategy.

Jasmine, who conducted an in-house project under Dr. Weseley's mentorship, explored the relationship between color blind racial attitudes (CBRA), multiculturalism, and victim blaming. "People with CBRA, claim not to see race and that race doesn’t matter in modern society"” explained Jasmine. "However, many people view these attitudes as a modern form of racism, because people who hold these attitudes fail to recognize the prejudices still faced by people of color." Jasmine surveyed over 400 people online and found that, as predicted, victim blaming was directly associated with CBRA.

The purpose of Emily's project was to explore a potential way to promote anti-depressive behaviors. She spent the summer of 2018 working in a lab that focuses on the role of protocadherin-17, a gene thought to be involved in the creation of neuronal connections in the brain, in the development of depression. Emily’s job was to code videos of two groups of mice – mice with the gene and mice in which the gene had been partially deleted - undergoing stressful behaviors to see how they reacted. Surprisingly, her work showed that the removal of the gene increased depressive behaviors.

Alex's project investigated the energy threshold at which the movement of a double pendulum becomes chaotic. A double pendulum is simply a second pendulum suspended from the bottom of a first pendulum. Double pendulums are widely used in engineering, medicine, and cinematography. Alex’s project will help better understand the motion of a double pendulum and improve its applications.

PHOTO: Jasmine Berger, Emily Leventhal, Brandon Lee, and Alex Liu participated in the semifinals of the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at York College.  Brandon Lee was selected to advance to the finals in the Biology category to be held later in February.