Forty high school seniors were named finalists for the Intel Science Talent Search 2008 (Intel STS). The competition, often called the "Junior Nobel Prize," is America's oldest and most prestigious high school science competition.
Finalists will travel to Washington, D.C. in March to compete for scholarships, with the top winner receiving a $100,000 scholarship from the Intel Foundation. Each finalist will receive at least $5,000 in scholarships and a new laptop featuring the Intel CoreTM2 Duo processor. While in Washington, D.C. finalists will undergo a rigorous judging process, meet with national leaders, interact with leading scientists and display their research at the National Academy of Sciences. Top winners will be announced at a black-tie gala held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on March 11.
This year's Intel STS finalists hail from 19 states and represent 35 schools. New York boasts the most finalists from any state with 15 (the most since 2004), followed by Pennsylvania with four and Texas with three. Schreiber High School was one of two comprehensive high schools nationwide to have two finalists.
Having yielded six semifinalists in the competition that were named on Jan. 16th, Schreiber's unique three-division Research Program provides the structure for intensive work in science, social science, and mathematics.
Stefan Klein Muller, 17, created a computer program to model a largely unknown process involved in the body's inflammatory response to damaged tissue for the medicine and health project he submitted to the Intel Science Talent Search. Because it is extremely difficult to experimentally study the migration of leukocytes through blood vessels as they move between vascular endothelial cells to the inflammation site, Stefan created a cellular automaton model that computationally simulates real-life processes using known information. He confirmed the model's predictions through experimentation with human umbilical cells, and believes it will help increase our understanding of inflammation. First in his class of 377 at Schreiber, Stefan is active in the drama club, technical managing editor of the school paper, president of the math honor society, and sings in the choir. He's been an active member of the National Youth Rights Association since eighth grade and was elected vice president last summer. The son of William and Joan Muller of Port Washington, he will study mathematics or physics at college in the fall.
Alexis Marie Mychajliw, 16, combined her interests in animal behavior and environmental science for the zoology project she submitted to the Intel Science Talent Search. As a participant in a statewide survey tracking Odonate family populations (dragon flies and damsel flies), she decided to collect additional data to discover the nature of population distribution and its application to conservation policy. Field research was conducted in two undisturbed wetland habitats with varying levels of vegetative cover, where catch-and-release means were used to assess Odonate behavior in relation to their habitat. Her findings indicate that - regardless of vegetative coverage - females are more likely to remain in adjoining meadows and males within wetlands, suggesting that both habitats are crucial for the survival of the entire Odonate population. At Schreiber, Alexis has been editor of the literary magazine for four years. A violinist and tennis player, she is also an imaginative cook, creating new dishes based on her grandmother's traditional Ukrainian recipes. The daughter of Peter and Belinda Mychajliw of Port Washington, she will study at Cornell University in the fall.
Mr. Jay Lewis, principal of Schreiber High School, commented: "These young research scholars have devoted a significant portion of their lives to research over the past several years and have demonstrated, through their amazing level of commitment, that they are in the upper echelon of high school seniors nationwide. We are so proud of them and know that these successes are signs of things to come in their bright futures."
Intel Corporation added sponsorship of the Science Talent Search to its extensive Education Initiative portfolio in 1998 to promote math and science education, a growing need in the United States. Over the past 10 years, Intel has increased the total annual awards and scholarships from $207,000 to $1.25 million. The company also reinvigorated the competition by adding awards for the schools and introducing technology to the experience, including handing out laptop computers to all 40 finalists.
Intel Chairman Craig Barrett noted, "2008 not only marks the 10th anniversary of Intel's sponsorship of the STS, but falling in a presidential election year this competition highlights more than ever the importance of supporting math and science education in the United States. Intel STS showcases the incredible advancements made by students across the nation when we get the system right and demonstrates the capabilities of the next generation."
Dr. Geoffrey N. Gordon, superintendent of schools in the Port Washington Union Free School District, stated that, "Once again, I wish to publicly thank and commend all of the students and teachers who participated in the research program which has led to continued Schreiber excellence in the Intel Competition. A special congratulations to Principal Lewis and his entire staff for further developing the research program at Schreiber leading to this wonderful outcome.
Continuing his comments, Dr. Gordon said, "It is a special honor this year that Stefan Muller and Alexis Mychajliw have achieved finalist status, placing Schreiber as one of only three high schools in the United States with more than one finalist in this very prestigious competition. Considering that there are only 40 finalists from more than 1,600 applicants in the United States, we could not be more proud of them!"
The entire Schreiber school community is proud of Stefan and Alexis for their impressive accomplishments.