Midwood Science The Home of Midwood Science Research

Each year, girls from all over the tri-state area descend on the beautiful Poly campus in Brooklyn for a day of inspiration and creativity. They meet accomplished women who work in STEM fields and enjoy a day of hands-on experiences in a variety of workshops specifically designed for grades 5–12. In the workshops, girls collaborate to solve problems using creative design processes. Run exclusively by women, the girls who participate in W.I.S.E. are able to see themselves in the program’s leaders. They leave empowered with the confidence to pursue higher education in STEM and a better understanding of a wide range of career opportunities they may pursue. Through W.I.S.E. and its philosophy, Poly continues to attract girls interested in STEM and to inspire women who are already here.

If you enjoy science, technology, or math, love to tinker and see how things work, or wonder what engineers do, W.I.S.E. welcomes you. This year’s W.I.S.E. event is on Sunday, November 11 from 9 AM to 4 PM at Poly Prep Country Day School, 9216 7th Ave, Brooklyn NY 11228. Please visit polywise.org to register or email wise@polyprep.org to learn more.

Every spring, students from different communities gather to celebrate Science Day. From high school students to graduate students in universities. The Brooklyn College website states that students competed and showcased 125 projects in 14 different fields of science with over 50 faculty members as judges. Some of the fields included Psychology, Biology, Robotics, and Chemistry. In each field first, second, and third place is awarded to students with the best project.

Seven Midwood students from the Biomimetic and Cognitive Robotics Laboratory (BCR Lab) who worked with professor and Psychology teacher Dr. Frank Grasso, presented their projects. These students are Kevin Chen ’19, Larissa Brijmohan ’19, Fizza Nayab ’19, Annabel Xie ’19, Aushna Saleem ’18, Hafsa Fatima ’18, Nila Mirza ’18 and Soanne Saint Victor ’18. The students were supervised by Mr. Glenn Elert and Ms. Susan Katzoff.

After all the presentations were judged, the scores were tallied up while the presenters and faculty enjoyed an amazing lunch. Midwood took 2 out of 3 wins for the high school division breaking a clean sweep streak (2014-2017). The first place winner was Chen who presented his project called "Aggression on the beach: Crowding increases aggression levels on fiddler crabs ( Uca pugilator) colonies."

Fatima earned second place with a project called "The effect of temperature on the frequency of vocalization of Myiopsitta Monachus." The third place winner was Kemal Aziz ’18, from Staten Island Tech, with the project called "Cooling through quantum mechanics: Magnon-based description of magnetocaloric effects in La-Fe-Si, CoMnSi, and gadolinium."

For the first time, Midwood High School entered the New York City Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) and won a medal in each of the five categories: STEM, humanities, performing arts, fine arts, and business. This year’s ACT-SO awards were announced on Monday, May 7, at St. Francis College in Downtown Brooklyn.

Previously known as the "Olympics of the Mind," ACT-SO is a youth program of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Its goal is to give recognition to students who demonstrate academic, scientific, and artistic achievement. Those who participate in the competition must enter in a project under the five categories.

While only 15 students entered the competition, Midwood won a total of 16 medals: five gold, three silver, and eight bronze. Those who won gold, such as Rana Mohamed ’19, Kiandra Peart ’19, and Calvin Huynh ’18, will be going on to participate in Nationals this July. It will be a three day event taking place at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas where they will be competing against over 8,000 students from other states.

For Peart’s independent business, Kustoms By Ki, she customizes various things such as sneakers, wallets, and purses. To enter this project into the competition, she had to create an 18 page business plan to show marketing strategies such as inventory, cash flow, and two year projections. She then presented the display of her work to a judge who graded her on her content.

Mohamed brought home a gold in Engineering for her project of decreasing the energy consumption within a robotic system with the implementation of an energy monitoring system. She used two types of robotic systems: a two degree of freedom robotic arm that she varied the voltage and frequency on to see how those conditions affected the energy consumption, and a passive walker that she will use to vary the stop length and step frequency to see how those conditions also affect the energy consumption.

Huynh entered his project, "Conditions that promote the sub-cellular migration of nucleolin (NCL) to the cell surface," under the category of Microbiology. The nucleolin is a protein that migrates to the cell surface in cases of cancer, HIV, and infection. In his project, he tried to find the mechanisms that were responsible for allowing the protein (nucleolin) to migrate. He found that only full-length, non-cleaved variations of the protein are allowed to migrate to the cell surface.

Saba Iqbal ’18 won a gold medal in the Earth & Space science category for her project on indicating an atmospheric mercury pollution source using moss as a biomonitor. She conducted her project at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she began to intern for her research project around November of 2016. There, her research mentor, Dr. Erin Mann, helped her throughout the two years she was there and made sure everything went smoothly.

STEAM is a movement that combines all the elements it represents to foster critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration by applying all the disciplines together. Previously, STEAM was deemed STEM, however as the 21st century emerged, art and design became influential and transformed our economy as much as technology and science did in the previous century. According to Slate’s article, "STEAM Rising" by Anna Feldman, "STEAM says we can be better engineers by learning how to think artistically, and we can re-engage artists with science by letting them see how STEM can work in the arts. It’s infinitely more exciting, especially in an increasingly interdisciplinary and digital world." The addition of arts to the movement enhances the objective of success in the scientific fields due to children having greater imaginations and widespread ideas due to their artistic side.

The symposium was held in Brooklyn Borough Hall and held many different events. Superintendent Michael Prayor made opening remarks followed by two keynote addresses by Edward R. Murrow student Ebonie Reavis ’18 and Yonee Thevenot from STEM Kids NYC. The rest of the day was filled with gallery walks of student projects, live performances, panel discussions, and hands-on activities. "Black Girls Code", a non-profit organization that introduces programming and coding to young women of color so they can become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures, hosted one of these activities.

Aushna Saleem ’18 stated, "The symposium was really fun and inspiring. It was really encouraging to see successful women presenting their success in their field as well as inspiring young women like to do the same. Presenting my project was also very uplifting. The judges were almost all teachers, and they were very nice and gave me advice pertaining to my field."

According to the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD), "studies have shown that up to 80% of jobs are never advertised—they are filled by word of mouth." To obtain opportunities in a career, one has to develop relationships and connections with other people in the same field. The way of doing this is going to events like this symposium and meeting similar people.

Team NYC sent 14 students off to the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last week. By noon Friday, they had collectively amassed over $22,800 in prize money. (I have to use the word "over" since some of the special awards do not have well-defined monetary values.) The awards are distributed over two days — Thursday evening is for Special Awards, sponsored by a variety of professional organizations, and Friday morning is for Grand Awards, sponsored mostly by the Intel Foundation.

Every year, millions of students worldwide compete in local and school-sponsored science fairs. Only the best projects form these affiliated fairs are accepted into the Intel ISEF. Students in the five boroughs compete in the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF), a joint venture between the City University of New York and the New York City Department of Education. NYCSEF is itself a large event, with something like 450 projects passing the rigorous standards of the Scientific Review Committee. NYCSEF is so huge that it has to be broken down into two events: a preliminary round and a finals round.

Everyone who attends the Intel ISEF is automatically a winner. Walking through the doors of the convention center into the project space is a reward unto itself for months or even years of toil. An Intel ISEF is five days of practice, competition, entertainment, excitement, rewards, and new friends. What Team NYC accomplished in the week of May 13–18 is not entirely measurable. But for those of you who like hard data, here are the awards we brought back. First Award of $3,000

Midwood Science won two of the three awards in the high school division at Brooklyn College’s annual Science Research Day on Friday, May 4, 2018 ending a four year long streak of clean sweeps ( 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). Kevin Chen and Hafsa Fatima placed first and second, respectively. Both students worked under the supervision of long-time friend of Midwood Science, Dr. Frank Grasso in the Biomimetic and Cognitive Robotics (BCR) lab at Brooklyn College. Third place went to Staten Island Tech student Kemal Aziz, who worked under the supervision of Dr. Karl Sandeman in the Department of Physics at Brooklyn College. Both Dr. Grasso and Dr. Sandeman have mentored projects good enough to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Festival (ISEF) — Dr. Grasso in 2018 and Dr. Sandeman in 2016.

Brooklyn College Science Research Day is an annual event that showcases the work done by students with research mentors at Brooklyn College and other CUNY schools. This year, around 125 students presented their research across 14 categories in STEM, with over 50 faculty members and students from the college serving as judges. First, second, and third place prizes were awarded in each of the three divisions: high school, undergraduate and graduate. Glenn Elert (teacher), Kevin Chen, Hafsa Fatima, Susan Katzoff (teacher)