As 2008 Homecoming King, Model United Nations Secretary General, and Class of 2009 President, Winston Waters II has a record of accomplishment at Elmont Memorial High School. But perhaps his most distinguished accomplishment came recently when he was named an Intel semifinalist.
Winston's achievement has been a first for Elmont Memorial High School. "This is an extraordinary moment not only for Winston but for the entire school," said Elmont Memorial High School principal John Capozzi.
The Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) is the country's premiere pre-college science competition, which together the best and brightest young scientific minds in America to compete for $1.25 million in awards and scholarships.
Every year, some 1,600 American high school seniors enter Intel with original projects from a wide range of mathematics and science disciplines. The field of 1,600 is narrowed to 300 semifinalists, and then to 40 finalists.
Two years ago, Winston completed research on alternative fuel production and the conversion of Biomass (specifically grass) to Ethanol. For the past two years, his work, conducted at Adelphi University under the tutelage of a professor-mentor, focused on mutations of the von Hippel-Lindau gene, which resulted in the formation of renal cell cancers.
Winston has spent countless hours working in the lab on various projects. Over the years, the work has been challenging, but, as he states, "I have become accustomed to the research aspect of science and how beneficial it is to society."
Elmont Memorial High School science research teacher Michelle Seeley has worked closely with Winston for the past four years. Ms. Seeley saw Winston strive for excellence back when he was a freshman. She is well aware of his wide-ranging abilities. "From early on, Winston has carefully designed his projects with an almost microscopic attention to detail. He also knows his audience and is able to execute, present and articulate his projects. It doesn't matter if he is talking to one of his peers or an expert in the field, Winston is able to communicate effectively with polish and sophistication," she said.
Ms. Seeley acknowledges Assemblyman Thomas Alfano for securing grants for the program. "Back in 2005, when Mr. Alfano delivered his first grant, he complimented the students for their ambition and took a picture with the kids. Weeks later, I received a signed copy of the picture that read, 'Now go get an Intel award!' Winston was a first year science research student at the time, and now four years later, he is a semifinalist," she said.
The funding was used to buy lab equipment such as incubators, spectrophotometers, and centrifuges. She says that more equipment has enabled students to attract research mentors such as Winston's dedicated mentor at Adelphi University.
With a GPA of 97.97 and a class rank of 6, Winston is taking a most rigorous and predominately Advanced Placement course load during his senior year. In addition to taking AP English, Government and Economics, Calculus, and Physics courses, he extends the school day with his Model United Nations and science research work. Winston is also a member of the National Honor Society, Science Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Global Links, Key Club and Future Business Leaders of America.
However, Winston's passions traverse beyond academics. He enjoys playing basketball and lacrosse. He also has his own personal stock trading account.
When asked of his college plans, Winston is still unsure of where he will attend. His top choices are UPenn, MIT, and Harvard. He is planning to study biomedical sciences and engineering, but also wants to major in economics or finance.
Winston's inspiration comes from religious faith and a loving family. According to Winston, "They have taught me to be a person who stands up for what I believe in and to try to succeed in anything and everything that I try to accomplish."
Congratulations Winston Waters II on a most prestigious accomplishment.