Science Research students take first and second place wins at Symposium

Science Research students take first and second place wins at Symposium

On Saturday, Jan. 26 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School hosted it’s 18th annual Eastern Section Junior Science and Humanities Regional Symposium.

Nearly 80 students from 18 schools presented their authentic research to professional judges in the scientific community. Students were competing for one of 10 spots in the Regional Finals at SUNY Albany on March 27 and 28 to represent NYS at the National JSHS in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Four BH-BL students competed this year and all four placed in their competitive division! Congratulations to:

  • Sam Cavanagh who presented his research, “Acorn ants discriminate between nests of different entrance sizes despite queen absence” and won second place in General Biology.
  • Dora Law who presented her research, “Deep learning for diagnosing breast cancer metastasis in lymph node biopsies” and took the second Place Award in Behavioral Sciences
  • Isabelle Cataldo who presented her research, “Newborn Screening assays for large deletions in the CFTR gene” and won first place Award in Biomedical Sciences.
  • Ava Shimkus who presented her research, “Confirming the presence of microplastics in fish using a novel no-kill abdomen massage” and won first place in Environmental Science.

Second place finishers will present a poster and first place finishers will compete with an oral presentation in Albany in March. The students study under the direction of high school science teacher Ms. Regina Reals who also coordinates the symposium.

“I am so thrilled for these kids,” says Reals. “They have worked so hard over multiple school years and summers. It has been an absolute pleasure working with them. I also completely appreciate the support and time their families have given to help our kids soar to such high levels.”

Science research is a 3-year high school program where students work with a mentor in the science community to perform, document and present authentic science research. Students have multiple opportunities to present their work on the state and national levels during their time in the program and can receive up to 12 college credits through SUNY Albany. Students must meet specific criteria to be invited to apply and undergo an interview to gain acceptance to the program.

Science and Technology Supervisor David Collins says: “I am humbled to watch how effortlessly our students speak about highly complex scientific topics and how confidently they present and answer questions from the judges. I am impressed by time these students dedicate to their research, thankful for the mentorship they receive from Ms. Reals, and proud of how they represent BH-BL in competition. Congratulations to our students and best of luck at the next level.”