Science Research Awards

Rocky Point High School senior Pooja Deshpande and juniors Kyle Markland and Jade Pinkenburg recently earned top honors for their original research projects during two prestigious competitions.

The students were selected to present at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium after submitting papers describing their research and each were named semifinalists. As a result of their presentations, Jade received third place in the biology division and Kyle received first place in the math and computer science division, which advances him to the next round of competition.

In addition to this contest, both Pooja and Kyle presented their research at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair and Kyle was selected to advance to the next round of that competition as well.

Project Overviews:

Pooja Deshpande: (Two Projects)
Project Title: (JSHS) The Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation on Plant Seeds
Pooja explored seeds that had been exposed to ionizing radiation at a tandem accelerator at Brookhaven National Laboratory. They were grown in order to assess the effects of the radiation on survival and growth of seeds. This has potential applications to the problem of growing food in space.

Project Title: (LISEF) Characterizing recovery of functional motor behaviors after rostral and caudal cervical spinal cord injuries in adult rats.
Pooja worked over the summer in a lab at Stony Brook University where she monitored the recovery of rats after they were surgically injured in order to better understand how injuries to the nervous system can be treated.

Kyle Markland:
Project Title: Improving GPS Accuracy through Integration of an IMU and Novel Software
Kyle wrote software to integrate an IMU (inertial measurement unit) into a GPS system in order to see if the accuracy of the GPS could be improved. GPS accuracy will need to be improved to successfully navigate self-driving cars.

Jade Pinkenburg:
Project Title: Interspecies Gene Transfer
Jade's experiment looked at whether genes could be exchanged between bacteria and several other species of protists and fungi in a process known as horizontal gene transfer. This has implications in better understanding how genetic diversity has arisen in species.