Science and Research Students Take Top Prizes

SHS students brought home eight awards from the Greater Capital Region Science and Engineering Fair

Shaker science research teacher Nathaniel Covert says that he does not assign the class a topic, but “allows the students the freedom to explore and experiment with their interests. The topics are many and varied and I am honored to be the science research teacher as it allows me to coach the students and watch them use their own curiosity to explore the STEM fields.”

Second Place Grand Awards and a spot in the (virtual) Nationals 

Team: Avi Bagchi (11th grade) and Ayaan Bargeer (11th grade)

Project: A New Approach to Ecology: Using Machine Learning to Predict the Spread of Invasive Species

Honorable mention First Place and a spot in the (virtual) STANYS NYS Science Fair

Student: Bianca Rozario (12th grade)

Project: Calcium Chelation as Therapeutic Approach to Parkinson’s Disease

In Vitro Biology Award

Student: Aditri Gupta (11th grade)

Project: Detection of Cardiac Arrhythmia Using AI Software

Regeneron Biomedical Award

Student: Bianca Rozario (12th grade)

Project: Calcium Chelation as Therapeutic Approach to Parkinson’s Disease

Mu Theta Alpha (computing) Award

Team: Minyi Chen (11th grade) and Harrison Fazzone (11th grade)

Project: An Early Warning Framework for Infectious Disease Outbreaks Using Clinical Data from an Initial Outbreak and Google Search Trends.

ASM Material Engineering Award

Student: Maaz Hussain (11th grade)

Project: Simulating the Product of Photolithography at Nanoscale

Regeneron George Yancopoulous Award (for outstanding science)

Student: Muhammad Ali (12th grade)

Project: Inhibition of Peripheral VEGF Signaling Rapidly Reduces Leucocyt Obstructions in Brain Capillaries and Improves Cortical Blood Flow in an Alzheimer’s Disease Mouse Model

National Association of Biology Teachers Award

Student: Zaid Ashar (11th grade)

Project: Examining Racial Disparities Over 5 Years for Patients Undergoing Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy

“I only wish I could accurately portray or describe the time and passion these students poured into their work. Inspiring just does not do justice to describe, said Mr. Covert.” He says entering the science fair is a lengthy process that he helps guide the students through; from paperwork, to administrative approval to the presentations that usually revolve around creating a poster. This year, they switched the poster for a .pdf and the live presentation for Zoom. Students had five minutes to present and five minutes to answer judges’ questions. 

The pandemic, of course, presented numerous challenges for the students, but the main impediment according to the science supervisor at SHS, Keith Bogert, “the COVID scare put rules in place at labs that prevented kids from getting back into them.” The closing of the laboratories forced the students to switch to virtual work. “Although extremely disappointing to lose the in person lab work,” Mr Covert said, ”Shaker’s students collaborated with their mentors and were able to continue their projects.”

Judging for Regeneron ISEF, the national competition will take place from May 3-6 through video conferencing. North Colonie will have a digital symposium on Tuesday, June 1.


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