Katherine Zhu and Andrew Brickman, both seniors at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, were named Intel Semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search 2009, a program of the Society for Science and the Public. As America's oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition, the Intel Science Talent Search brings together the best and brightest young scientific minds in America to compete for $1.25 million in scholarships. Each semifinalist receives a $1,000 award with an additional $1,000 going to his or her respective school, resulting in $600,000 in total semifinalist awards. This comes just one year after Plainview-Old Bethpage produced the winners of the Intel competition.
For his project, Andrew Brickman worked at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the lab of Dr. Scott Franzblau with Dr. Birgit Jaki. His work is titled, "Fractionation of Actinomycete Extracts and Biological Assays in Regards to M tuberculosis inhibition."
"This is a great honor," said Brickman, who is interested in majoring in physics when he attends college in the fall.
Katherine Zhu worked at Stony Brook University in the chemistry lab of Dr. Hsaio and Dr. Chu. Her project is titled, "Electrospun PLLA-PEG Multiblock Copolymer for Anti-Adhesion."
"I am very excited," said Zhu, who plans on majoring in biology or bio-medicine when she attends college in the fall. "I want to be able to do research that will help people."
Research coordinator for Plainview-Old Bethpage High School MaryLou O'Donnell is very proud of her students. "They are both wonderful students," she said. "I have known them since they were freshmen and now to see what they are accomplishing as seniors is great."
This year's semifinalists were selected from 1,608 entrants, and hail from 36 states, the District of Columbia and accredited overseas schools in India and South Korea. The Intel Science Talent Search encourages students to tackle challenging scientific questions and develop the skills to solve the problems of tomorrow. Projects submitted for consideration cover all disciplines of science including biochemistry, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, behavioral science and medicine and health.
Over the past 67 years, the young innovators chosen to participate in the Science Talent Search have gone on to receive some of the world's most prestigious honors. For example, seven former finalists have won the Nobel Prize while others have been awarded the Fields Medal, the National Medal of Science and MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.
"Intel Science Talent Search semifinalists tackle today's challenging problems with solutions that have great potential to positively impact our world," said Craig Barrett, Intel's Chairman of the Board. "To foster the next generation of innovators, the United States must invest in encouraging this passion for math and science in more of our youth."
On Jan. 28, 40 of the 300 semifinalists will be named as finalists and receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for a week-long event in March; they will compete for a grand prize of $100,000. A total of $530,000 in scholarships will be provided by the Intel Foundation with each finalist receiving at least $5,000 and a new laptop powered by the Intel(r) Core(tm)2 Duo processor. The top finalists will be selected based on rigorous judging sessions while in Washington, D.C. and announced at a black-tie gala award ceremony at the Mellon Auditorium on March 10.