Pawling Science Students Shine

At Pawling High School, there is an elective program known for taking its students all over the state for competitions. This program, Science Research, has a reputation for being made up of the most hard-working and highest achieving students in the school. They pursue independent research, helping advance the world of science by making genuine contributions in a discipline they are interested in.

One way that the students share their work is by presenting at the Eastern Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS), a competition located outside of Albany at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, where many Science Research students compete for recognition. With research areas ranging from shark behavior and the Zika virus to a behavioral study about children’s tendency to lie, there is no shortage of variety in the research Pawling students contribute.

This year all nine Pawling students who entered JSHS were accepted, which is a testament to their hard work and dedication. The symposium was held on Saturday, January 26. At JSHS, eight students were put into a room, with 10 rooms total, and 79 presenters. The first and second place winners of this competition will move up to the next level of competition, the Upstate Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Pawling High School Junior Ellie Farquhar proudly brought home first-place recognition in her room, Behavioral Sciences 3, with her research project entitled “The Effects of Mask Coloration on the Swimming Patterns of Carcharhinus Perezi.” Carcharhinus Perezi is a species of shark more commonly known as the Caribbean Reef shark, a species Farquhar is very interested in. She went to the Caribbean with her mentor, Dr. Erich Ritter, where she was able to swim with sharks and collect information that she later used to write a scientific research paper. Her interesting research and poised presentation skills impressed the judges, who awarded her first place.

On her win, Farquhar says, “I’m really happy the judges liked my presentation, because I am so passionate about my research and improving the public image of sharks, which is very important to me.” Because of her first place win, Farquhar will be competing at Upstate Junior Science and Humanities Symposium as a PowerPoint presenter.

Another winner from Pawling was Junior Karen Jackson. She won third place in her category, Biomedical Sciences 1, for her research on the Zika virus, entitled “Effects of Autophagy Induction on ZIKV Replication.” She is honored to have been recognized for her contributions to the scientific community, specifically in the field of infectious diseases, which is something she is very dedicated to.

In late March, all of the Science Research students will be going to the SUNY Albany to watch Ellie Farquhar present at the higher and more competitive level. If she places first in her presentation room, she would then have the chance to compete at the National Science and Humanities Symposium, which will take place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in April.

Lauren Radicchi is a sophomore at Pawling High School.