Jericho Seniors Dominate Intel


Jericho High School saw an all-time high in the number of students chosen as semifinalists in this year’s Intel Science Talent Search, a prestigious annual science research competition for high school students.

This year, 8 out of 300 Intel Science semifinalists are Jericho seniors, which is the largest amount of semifinalists from any one high school on Long Island. The Intel Science Talent Search received almost 1,800 entries from 489 high schools in 45 different states. The Jericho students worked on individual research projects and each won $1,000 for becoming semifinalists.

“It’s pretty remarkable,” said Jericho High School’s science research teacher, Ms. McCalla. “They are extraordinary students and they have worked hard for 4 years to achieve this goal.”

JHS semifinalists Ken Aizawa, Matthew Chun, Chenle (Leo) Hu, Xingan (Ian) Hua, Preeti Kakani, Dohee (Diane) Na, Kaitlyn Shin, and Amy Xu pose for a picture

Pictured (L-R) are Pretti Kakani, Matthew Chun, Ken Aizawa, Chenle (Leo) Hu, Xingan (Ian) Hua, Amy Xu, Kaitlyn Shin, and DoHee (Diane) Na. Photo by Denise Nash


When finding out about the semifinalists Ms. McCalla was “sick to her stomach.” She knew that some of her students would be semifinalists because in the past Jericho has always had at least one winner, but she was not expecting eight. “We beat Brooklyn Tech,” said Ms. McCalla, who was surprised that Jericho had eight students because even specialized schools can’t boast eight semifinalists.  “I was amazed because the specialized schools have multiple research teachers and specialized math and science classes. So for this to be a regular public school was amazing.”

It is a long process to come up with a topic for the research project. “This is a three year process. During their sophomore year I have them investigate a bunch of different articles on topics of their choice, but mostly I spread them out and let them look at disciplines they may not get to look at while in high school. And then eventually we narrow it down to a topic they like and we start contacting people to work with,” said Ms. McCalla.

Two of the semifinalists, Kaitlyn Shin and Amy Xu, spent a long time working on their projects. Shin’s project was titled “Photon and Positron Emission from Primordial Black Hole Clusters.” Amy Xu worked on her project, entitled “Host-specific Binding of ClfB in Staphylococcal Nasal Carriage,” for about two years.

On January 23, 2014 Intel announced who would advance to the next round of competition. The JerEcho congratulates Kaitlyn Shin and Preeti Kakani for being chosen as finalists in the Intel Competition. They are 2 out of 40 finalists who were selected from the 300 semifinalists. In March they will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete for a $100,000 scholarship to the college of their choice.


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