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LISEF 1st Place win for Murphy

  • Allison Murphy Wins First Place at

    Long Island Science & Engineering Fair

    Allison Murphy, a junior in the Sayville RISE Program, took First Place at the Long Island Science & Engineering Fair and was also the recipient of the prestigious Irwin Wissner Award in recognition of her contribution to conservation biology.

    Allison’s science project, entitled “Haplotype Variation in Banded Sunfish (Enneacanthus obesus) from the Peconic River, Long Island, New York,” demonstrates that this threatened species, found on Long Island only in the Peconic River System, shows healthy genetic variability that is necessary for its long-term survival. This hopeful information will be invaluable to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation managers who are charged with designing further plans to protect both the species and their habitat in the future.

    Receiving frozen fish samples of this threatened species from Dr. Timothy Green at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Allison conducted her genetics research in the high school genetics laboratory under the direction of Sayville Research Teacher Maria Brown.  “Allison has worked very intently since becoming a RISE student as a freshman,” Mrs. Brown explained.  “She sorted through hundreds of frozen fish samples designated to be discarded at BNL to find those that were good enough to extract enough DNA to obtain a better understanding of the unique haplotypes (single nucleotide polymorphisms) and their distribution within and between individual fish from six ponds in the Peconic River System.” 

    During the recent Long Island Science & Engineering Fair award ceremony, Allison showed tremendous surprise at taking the top award for her research project, although her work was indeed singular. “Allison is well-deserving of this recognition,” Mrs. Brown added. “She is a delightful young lady to work with and serves as a wonderful role model for other students, especially for females who are focused in science research.”

    Allison’s family members, including her grandfather: former Sayville Superintendent John Murphy, are very proud of her achievement and are equally excited about her next opportunity—Allison will compete in May 2014 at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California with 1,500 students from over seventy nations.

    Good luck in Los Angeles!