Tag Archives: Intel Science Talent Search

Middle Village teen receives congressional, state commendations for science achievements

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The only Queens teen to make the semifinals in a prestigious national science competition has a few more honors to place on her mantel.

Aishvarya Arora, 17, a senior at St. Francis Prep, was given commendations from the U.S. Congress, State Senate and Assembly on Friday, February 8 for making it to the second to last cut in this year’s Intel Science Talent Search.

The Middle Village student was named one of 300 semifinalists, whittled down from 1,700 of the country’s brightest high school seniors, last month.

She did not advance to the final round, but her 23-page research paper on teenage body dysmorphic disorder — a psychological malady in which a person becomes obsessed about perceived or imagined flaws in appearance — landed her $1,000 and recognition from her state and country.

“[Aishvarya] is an exceptional student who through hard work and determination received [this] extraordinary honor,” said Congressmember Grace Meng. “I am extremely proud of her.”

State Senators Toby Ann Stavisky and Joseph Addabbo, and Assemblymembers Nily Rozic and Andrew Hevesi, also bestowed honors upon the budding young scientist.



Middle Village teen makes Intel Science Talent Search semifinals

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy the New York Daily News

A Middle Village brainiac has brought bragging rights to the borough as the only Queens kid to make the semifinals in a prestigious national science competition.

Aishvarya Arora, 17, a senior at St. Francis Prep, made the second to last cut in this year’s Intel Science Talent Search, joining 300 of the country’s brightest high school seniors.

She did not advance to the finals, but the budding young scientist took home $1,000 and a coveted honor for her school.

“I’m extremely excited and very grateful,” said Arora, who spent two years developing an original research project on teenage body dysmorphic disorder, a psychological malady in which a person becomes obsessed about perceived or imagined flaws in appearance.

“I’ve had teachers stay after school and come in on weekends to work with me on this,” she said. “To be able to have all of their work and my work come into fruition means so much. They believed in me, and it wasn’t for nothing.”

Arora’s 23-page study found teenagers with the disorder show the same social cues as adults who suffer from the mental illness. After creating a 10-page survey, polling 120 students at school and analyzing data, she discovered both age groups perceive defects in their body images.

“It’s a pretty big deal now that we know this symptom is consistent with teens and adults,” the aspiring psychologist said.

Arora, who attends Prep on a full scholarship, has her eyes set on attending Wellesley College, Brown University or Vassar College, where she will double major in psychology and English.

“I’m on my way, which is exciting,” she said.

Prep has produced semifinalists for the past 15 years, but never a finalist, said science department chair Mary Ann Spicijaric.

“I think she did such a great job. The level of competition is so intense,” Spicijaric said. “To be one of 300 is still pretty, pretty good. We’re so proud of her.”

Jim Boylan, Arora’s science research advisor, touted the teen as the perfect student.

“To be able to watch her evolve and grow over the past four years has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced in my whole life,” he said. “There’s no one that’s more deserving than her.”

The contest’s 40 finalists, cut down from 1,700 entrants, will go on to vie for the top award of $100,000.



Astoria native makes it to Intel Science finals

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesey of Danielle Goldman

While most teenagers are studying to get their driver’s license or gearing up for the prom, one Queens teen is focused on making a big scientific discovery.

Astoria native Danielle Goldman was one of 40 finalists selected to participate in the Intel Science Talent Search — a contest for high school students focusing in physical, natural, social or mathematical sciences. This year’s competition will be held during the second week in March in Washington, D.C.

A senior at Bronx High School of Science, Goldman’s project focused on GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a role in depression in adolescents. She conducted her research at New York University’s Child Study Center under the supervision of Dr. Vilma Gabbay. Each contestant must work with a professional and a research teacher, as well as submit documentation of their research, SAT scores and GPA to Intel.

Goldman said she has always had an interest in psychiatry. When she was in third grade, she conducted an experiment comparing the memories of men and women. Using her neighbors as subjects, she paired couples for a series of tests.

“It’s a joke around my house that anyone involved in the project ended up getting married,” laughed Goldman, who explained that at least three couples who participated in the project wound up hitched.

“My parents say they are proud of me,” said Goldman. “They knew I had great things coming in my future and they’re excited that I’m starting so young.”

Goldman said she was really surprised when she got the call telling her she was a finalist.

“I’m excited to meet the other finalists,” she said. “This is a great way to share our passions.”

When she steps out of the laboratory, Goldman enjoys spending time in the kitchen, baking.

“It’s kind of like a science,” she laughed. “You have to make sure everything is measured correctly.”

Goldman was accepted to Columbia University, where she plans to study neuroscience to eventually become a pediatric psychiatrist.