Scientific Honors Abound at PHS

Grace Lena and Chris Schmidt both earned honors at the June 2 Somers Sophomore Science Research Fair.

Over the past two months, a number of Pawling High School students have been honored for scientific achievements at several events, ranging from local competitions to international conferences. The students’ devotion to these pursuits speaks not only to their passion for science, but also to the hard work and dedication of teachers and faculty throughout the district.

PHS Junior Veronica Bucci attended the Association for Psychological Sciences 30th Annual Convention from May 23 – May 27 in San Francisco, CA. Bucci would present her research in the field of Adolescent Psychology, specifically the effects of stress and anxiety on memory, self-efficacy and impulsivity in adolescents. She presented her findings to fellow researchers and graduate students, even having the opportunity to discuss methodology with the authors of articles which she consulted in her own research. Bucci also had the distinction of being the only high school student and poster presenter at the international conference, and was often mistaken for a graduate student throughout the event.

Senior Stephanie Sypher (left) and Sophomore Karen Jackson attended the International Genius Olympiad in mid-June at SUNY Oswego.

On June 2, eight PHS sophomores presented their anticipated scientific research at the Somers Sophomore Science Research Fair at Somers High School. Chris Schmidt took third place honors in the Psychological Sciences category, for his research involving depression and suicidal ideation. Grace Lena also took third place in the Medicine and Health category for her anticipated research into mechanisms impacting Alzheimer’s Disease.

Senior Abigail Reid was accepted into the International Association for Field Ornithologists, and presented her research at a conference in Chattanooga, TN, from June 6 – June 10. Reid would discuss her research regarding the implications of singed feathers for determining the geographic origin of birds for conservation forensics with experts from around the world. The only high school student to be invited to the event, she would also compete as an oral presenter against graduate and undergraduate students, and was awarded Best Oral Presentation for the Association of Field Ornithologists and Wilson Ornithological Society. Reid would also meet graduate students from the Cornell Ornithological Laboratory and was offered a chance to meet the program director when she attends college there in the fall.

Sophomore Karen Jackson and Senior Stephanie Sypher were both nominated to compete in the International Genius Olympiad Competition in Oswego, NY, from June 11 – June 16. The Genius Olympiad is an international high school project competition that focuses on environmental issues. The event aims to promote a global understanding of environmental issues through basic science, arts, creative writing, engineering, design, and business development. Hosted at the State University of New York at Oswego, the event would see participants from eighty countries and forty-five states. Karen Jackson was awarded an honorable mention for her creative writing in the field of sustainability.