Two Sayville Intel Semifinalists

  • The Excitement of Discovery:

    Two Sayville Students Named Intel STS 2015 Semifinalists 

    Five Sayville High School students, who participate in the R.I.S.E. program had gathered in the classroom for the news releasing the names of Intel Semifinalists, which had been scheduled for January 7, 2015, at noon. Each of the five had done significant in-depth research that qualified them for consideration in the prestigious competition. However, only three hundred of the 1,400 national submissions would be selected.  

    The Sayville students (Nick Cowan, Emily Faughnan, Olivia Kaczmarek, Allison Murphy, Shreeya Panigrahi), along with their Research Teacher Maria Brown, Team Teachers Janet Kaczmarek (GIS) and Rick Caskey (R.I.S.E. Tech), Science Chairperson Jennifer Byrnes, Sayville Superintendent Walter Schartner, Principal Ron Hoffer, along with other research students waited in hopeful anticipation. 

    Who, if any, among them might be an Intel  STS 2015 semifinalist?

    When the national news finally broke, congratulations were in order for two Sayville students, Nicholas Cowan and Emily Faughnan, who were chosen for their research projects using Geospatial Modeling tools (see details below).

    While these remarkable students deserve praise for their outstanding achievements and keen devotion to the scientific process, no research is without a supporting team. Sayville’s  R.I.S.E. (Research in Science and Engineering)  and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) programs have had the solid support of the Sayville School District; from the science, technology, and math departments, to the Sayville administrators at central office, as well as at the building levels, and especially from the Board of Education. The Sayville elementary schools regularly hold Science Fairs, often garnering winners in the Brookhaven National Laboratory Science Fair competitions, while the Middle School research programs, which continue to sow seeds for future high school students, have had competitive winners of their own.

    Science Research Teacher Maria Brown has been cultivating a climate of independent research for Sayville High School students since the R.I.S.E. program was launched in 2007.  The students’ remarkable successes in national and international prestigious scientific venues are directly linked to Mrs. Brown’s love for all things science and her networking with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Molloy College’s CERCOM Center, to name a few on Long Island, and other facilities that might offer year-round opportunities for students to do research.

    (Even before the Scientific Research Program became a full-time program in 2007 under Mrs. Brown, Sayville also had two Intel Semifinalists winners in the same year with Science Research Advisor and Honors Science Teacher Adriana LoCicero. Both, Daniel Capurso and Daniel Hahn, garnered semifinalist status on separate projects in the 2005-2006 competition. Dan’s older sister, Katherine, was Sayville’s first-time Intel semifinalist in 2002. More students, Jay Patel, Lori Hennemeier, and Tovah Markowitz, are just a few of the names associated with outstanding scientific accolades within the annals of  the earlier Sayville science research programs.)

    So it is with tremendous pride in the two Intel  STS 2015 Semifinalists, as well as the supporting team within Sayville Schools, that the District applauds Nick and Emily, Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Kaczmarek, who are team teaching the Stony Brook University GIS Planning & Design course at Sayville High School, for the great success they brought to Sayville yet again.


    Geospatial Modeling to Predict Potential Natural Range Expansion of the Eastern Coyote, Canis latrans, in Suffolk County, New York

    Nicholas R. Cowan

    Long Island is the last region in the conterminous U.S. that does not support a breeding population of coyote. Nick’s project addressed the question as to where they will most prefer to settle in Suffolk County and which communities are most likely to encounter them.  Nick used geospatial modeling tools to create maps that illustrate the core preferred habitats of coyote.  These maps can be used by local governments to provide educational outreach to those communities in an effort to prevent adverse interactions between coyote and humans.  Although only predictive, Nick’s models and maps illustrate the most preferred habitats where the most concentrated areas exist in the Central Pine Barrens region, the north and south forks, Connetquot State Park, and the regions around Carmans River.

    Trends Analysis of Missing and Exploited Children in the New England and New York Metropolitan Region, USA Using Geospatial Tools

    Emily Faughnan

    After taking an introductory course in Geographic Information Systems at the high school last summer, Emily was curious to see if geospatial analytical mapping tools could be used to analyze trends of missing children in the northeastern region of the United States. Emily collected her data from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children website and used spatial statistics and cartography skills to generate maps to evaluate trends of missing children related to gender, age, race, hair color, season, and then a final comparison of the New England and New York Metropolitan regions. Emily’s result profile the most targeted missing child would be between 11 and 12 years old, white with brown hair and residing in Manhattan in summer. To make strides in bringing awareness to child abduction she is eager to potentially create a geospatial map of the entire United States or Continent of North America. Geospatial  tools have great potential for protecting children in the future.


    Other Sayville Intel competition submissions:

    Allison Murphy - Haplotype Variation in Banded Sunfish from the Peconic River, Long Island , New York

    Shreeya Panigrahi - Multivariate analysis of soil pH, forest structure, and human disturbance in the glacial outwash plain, Long Island, New York

    Olivia Kaczmarek - Biodiversity analysis of avian species utilization (2012-2013),Brookside County Park, Suffolk County, New York

      From the Intel STS Website

    The Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) is the nation's most prestigious pre-college science competition. Alumni of STS have made extraordinary contributions to science and hold more than 100 of the world's most coveted science and math honors, including the Nobel Prize and National Medal of Science. Annually, students entering the Intel STS compete for more than $1.6 million in awards. Only 300 students are announced as semifinalists each year. From this select pool, 40 finalists are then invited to Washington, DC in March to participate in final judging, display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists, and compete for three top awards of $150,000 each.

            Intel STS 2015 Semifinalist Announcement

    On January 7, 300 high school seniors were named semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search 2015, a program of Society for Science & the Public.

    Each semifinalist receives a $1,000 award from the Intel Foundation with an additional $1,000 going to his or her school, resulting in $600,000 in total semifinalist awards. Semifinalists were selected from more than 1,800 entrants hailing from 460 high schools in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and five American and international high schools overseas.

    On Jan. 21, 40 of the 300 semifinalists will be named Intel Science Talent Search finalists. Finalists will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. from March 5-11, where they will compete for more than $1 million in awards.