For the second year running, Roslyn High School students have nabbed four of the 300 coveted semifinalist spots in Intel Science Talent Search. The students, Chelsea Jurman, Trisha Nussbaum, Jourdan Urbach, and Stephanie Wang, are among 59 Long Island seniors to be recognized in this competition. Only two Long Island schools had more than four semifinalists. Percentagewise, the Roslyn performance is even more impressive. While only 18.7 percent of entrants garnered semifinalist status nationwide, 44 percent of the Roslyn entrants did.
Chelsea Jurman studied the relationship between teens' perceptions of their parents and the teens' use of alcohol. For her in-house project under the supervision of Roslyn's Research Program Coordinator Dr. Allyson Weseley, she surveyed approximately 125 juniors and seniors and learned that teens who believed their parents drank underage were more likely to drink and be accepting of underage drinking than their peers. In addition, Chelsea found that teens who reported their parents monitored their behavior were less likely to drink and that those who viewed their parents as more supportive were less accepting of underage drinking.
Trisha Nussbaum submitted a series of two experiments to the contest that compared different ways students could learn vocabulary words. In her first experiment, conducted at the high school, Trisha randomly assigned students either to study words from a list, from a narrative about an unfamiliar character, or from a narrative about a familiar character. She found that students who were exposed to the narrative outperformed those who studied from a list and that the students who read the narrative about the familiar character performed best of all. Trisha then replicated her experiment at Cornell University over the summer, under the guidance of Dr. Shimon Edelman. The replication supported her earlier results and also showed that the beneficial effect of reading a narrative about a familiar character was maintained over the course of a week.
Jourdan Urbach's research focuses on how to encourage greater myelination of neurons in order to combat the devastating effects of Multiple Sclerosis. His project is the culmination of four years of work in a Stony Brook laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Holly Colognato. He also spent two summers in Dr. David Hafler's lab at Harvard, working with immunomodulators. In his INTEL STS project, Jourdan combined work from the two labs, creating an immunomodulator and laminin cocktail that has been shown to promote greater differentiation, maturation, and proliferation of myelin-creating cells in vitro.
For her project, Stephanie Wang investigated the possibility of using a peptide (AM) and its binding protein (AMBP-1) to prevent cell death in the brain due to lack of oxygen. Such a condition results from stroke, and Stephanie's project could lay the foundation for potential medications that would prevent some of the severe brain damage caused by stroke. Stephanie did her work at the Feinstein Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Weng-Lang Yang.
Each semifinalist will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Forty finalists will be announced later this month.
All four students are the product of the high school's Research Program, coordinated by Dr. Allyson Weseley. "I'm extremely happy for our four semifinalists but just as proud of our other entrants," commented Dr. Weseley. "They've all put in tremendous effort and done first-rate research."