Jericho’s Finest Take the Prizes

By MELISSA POLLACK

The annual Intel Science Talent Search is easily the most prestigious and competitive pre-college competition in the nation. This year, six Jericho seniors were announced as Intel semifinalists out of three-hundred in the country. The students include seniors Rishi Shah, Anna Kim, Uma Kanth, Jessica Huang, Michael Carrion and Brian Oh. Jessica Huang made it even further when she was later named a finalist, one out of forty in America.

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Well deserved Intel finalist Jessica Huang has already been published in science journal Nature Neuroscience, one of the most renowned journals.

This year’s semifinalists took the initiative to work through the summer to conduct research and experiments at laboratories located in areas such as the Bronx and Manhattan. Although spending time in labs was tedious, the work was fulfilling and rewarding. “I never expected to become an Intel semifinalist. It’s just an incredible opportunity,” said Carrion.

Finalist Jessica Huang’s research examines intelligence testing. She explored the neuron basis of what makes one person smarter than the next. Jessica has always found science and mathematics extremely interesting. Huang explained, “I used to go home in middle school and just do math for a couple of hours in the form of relaxation and habit. It stimulates your creativity so I thought it was really cool when I found articles about how math can be applied to neuroscience.” Jessica’s research was largely computational. Since she worked with a computer a great deal of the time, it allowed her to “run thousands of simulations and trials.” Jessica’s parents have always been very supportive of her, enabling her to have many opportunities. Her friends also kept her sane since “the research process in general can have a bunch of hurdles and be stressful overall,” she said.

Science research teacher Dr. McCalla was very impressed when she found out six of her students were announced as semifinalists and later one finalist. According to McCalla the students worked diligently throughout their high school careers. “I look at some of these kids like they are part of my family. I feel like a mom with successful children,” McCalla said. She concluded adding, “With great efforts comes even greater rewards.”

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