Syosset High School is proud to announce that seniors Sarah Lee and Kunal Shah have been named regional finalists in the Siemens Competition for Math, Science and Technology.
Lee and Shah are among the school’s five student researchers who achieved semifinalist status in the nation’s premier science research competition for high school students. As finalists, they will present their research to a Siemens panel of judges on Nov. 21 to determine whether they advance to the national finals in Washington, D.C., in December.
The students both conducted their research at Stony Brook University. They are among just 15 finalists from Long Island who will vie for one of five national individual finalist spots and five team finalist spots from each region.
Lee researched alternative ways to block pain receptors in the body. She studied the chemistry of natural pain blockers and their attachment to various cell receptors and found that there were several compounds that could block cell receptors as a novel and effective way to relieve pain while avoiding many of the side effects and consequences associated with over-the-counter medications.
Shah, who worked as part of a team with two students from different high schools, discovered a method to make fuel cells more efficient by modifying current hydrogen fuel cells with the addition of graphene oxide nanoparticles. His research partners are Brian Rhee of Half Hollow Hills East and Roshan Patel from Ward Melville. Lee worked independently.
“I have been studying math and science throughout high school and have really developed a passion over the years not just based on research, but on fundamental science and what we learn in classes,” said Shah, who turned his focus toward chemistry after taking an honors chemistry class in the 10th grade. “I believe it’s important that as many people as possible pursue the role of individual science researcher to help make the world a better place.”
“As a researcher, it’s so nice to be acknowledged for the work that you put in,” said Lee. “You are not just a high school student in a lab setting. You are trying to solve the problems that plague humanity. It’s such an honor to be involved in this type of work.”
Regional finalists, who were selected from 466 semifinalists, receive $1,000 each. They will present their projects remotely via Web conferencing and other digital means on Nov. 21 to judges at one of six prestigious research universities across the country, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. National finalists will be identified through that process and compete in December at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Six individuals and six teams will win scholarship awards ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. There were 1,781 applicants in this year’s competition.