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Science Research Wins Big at WESEF

10 Regeneron students with teacherNine Somers students won special awards or placed in their categories at the Westchester Science & Engineering Fair (WESEF). The awards ceremony was held at WESEF's new home for the very first time - Somers High School. See the incredible transformation of the high school gym and watch the ceremony here.

Senior Emily Dodd was one of only 20 students among the 600 competitors to win the grand prize, which means she moves on to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta, Georgia, in May. Junior Zoe Gutherman qualified for the International GENIUS Olympiad. The following awards were presented to Somers students:

Special Awards

Michael Aquilino: Innovations in Biological Sciences Research Award

Matthew Kahn: Mu Alpha Theta Award

Charlotte Potter: Office of Naval Research Award

Grace Wu: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Science Champion Award

Emily Dodd: Momentive Women in Science Award

Jaewon Yeo: Teatown Young Environmentalist Award


Best in Category Awards

Kiera Goff: Honorable Mention

Matthew Kahn: 4th Place

Julie Rios: 4th Place

Zoe Gutherman: 2nd Place

Emily Dodd: 1st Place


Grand Prize Awards

Zoe Gutherman: International GENIUS Olympiad

Emily Dodd: Regeneron International Science & Engineering Fair Finalist (ISEF)

Somers High School Science Research students’ multi-year projects traverse many disciplines of science and range from being personal to them or their family, something of relevance when they joined the Science Research Program, or something they wanted to research and found interesting when they began the research process. Students detail their projects in PowerPoint and poster form which, in most cases, involve complex research conducted under the guidance of a professional researcher in their field of interest.

  • Michael Aquilino, junior, researched the effect of exercise on post-concussion symptoms in adults and adolescents.
  • John Ginty, senior, researched the prevalence of sleep aid usage in adolescents.
  • Jaewon Yeo, senior, investigated and compared the quality of urban green spaces in neighborhoods of different poverty levels.
  • Zoe Gutherman, junior, researched land surface temperature (LST) and its relationship with land cover across New York State using satellite data.
  • Kiera Goff, junior, focused on determining the ideal level of arousal and balance between sensitivity and specificity for the most efficient working dog.
  • Julie Rios, senior, researched the effects of shift work and length of employment on sleep disturbances among tri-state area firefighters.
  • Grace Wu, senior, researched the efficiency of university COVID-19 protocols.
  • Matthew Kahn, senior, researched integrating technical indicators into machine learning systems to increase profitability in simulated Stock Market trading.
  • Charlotte Potter, senior, researched and compared emotional experiences between human-to-human relationships and human-to-AI (artificial intelligence) relationships in a mental health counseling setting.
  • Emily Dodd, senior, focused on identifying alterations to homeostatic plasticity in Parkinson’s Disease patients and how this change in homeostatic synaptic downscaling can lead to learning and memory impairments.

“The students who presented at WESEF truly impressed me with their drive, perseverance, and commitment to their research,” said Science Research teacher William Maelia. “All of these students have had their research impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in one way or another, whether it be due to laboratories shutting down or their original project ideas becoming unachievable due to circumstances outside of their control. The fact that all of them are presenting such outstanding work this year despite those challenges speaks to their level of passion and grit and they should be celebrated for their contribution to their fields of study.

The three-year Science Research program at Somers High School begins sophomore year and culminates senior year. Students engage in an independent piece of research that they design and conduct under the supervision of a mentor and attend several competitions at the local and national levels in order to present their research.