Two Long Island teenagers are among a group of 20 students nationwide named 2013 Davidson Fellows for creating projects that have the potential to benefit society.
Harrison Li, a senior at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, and Emily Lipstein, a recent graduate of Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, received college scholarships worth $25,000 and $10,000, respectively. The Davidson Fellows is a program of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a nonprofit that supports gifted youth.
"I was beyond thrilled to find out that I was named a Davidson Fellow," said Lipstein, 17. "Working in conservation biology, something I've always been interested in, is its own reward, but being recognized for my efforts validates what I've been doing the past two years."
Li's project created statistical models that attempted to predict the occurrence of convective thunderstorms, based on certain atmospheric variables in different regions of the northeastern United States. Li said the work represents an important step in understanding how the frequency of thunderstorms will change in the future as a consequence of climate change.
Lipstein's project analyzed inherited portions of microsatellites in DNA from 95 Grecian seals -- which are endangered and genetically non-diverse due to a surge in mortality over a short period of time -- in order to quantify that population's genetic variation.
Lipstein is majoring in biology at the University of Chicago.
Patricia Castine is the new principal of the Charles A. Reinhard Early Childhood Center. She replaced Clifford Molinelli, who retired.
Castine was principal of William Rall Elementary School in Lindenhurst and has worked as an assistant principal in the Kings Park Central School District and an elementary schoolteacher in the North Babylon district.
"I'm looking forward to working collaboratively with the Bellmore learning community to continue putting the success of children first," Castine said.
Kevin Fullerton is principal of John F. Kennedy Middle School, replacing David Schneider, who is now assistant superintendent for instruction and technology.
Fullerton has worked in the Bethpage district for seven years, the past four as JFK assistant principal. Before joining Bethpage he taught in middle school for nearly 10 years in the Hicksville district.
"I am honored to be the new principal of JFK Middle School and look forward to continuing the tradition of academic excellence in Bethpage," he said.
Laura Seinfeld has been named superintendent of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District. She replaced Phyllis Harrington, who now is superintendent of the Oceanside district.
Seinfeld most recently served as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the Hewlett-Woodmere district, where she previously was a grade-level supervisor and chairwoman of English language arts. Prior to that, she served five years as the assistant superintendent for instruction in Oyster Bay.
"I am thrilled to have been selected to return to Oyster Bay-East Norwich," Seinfeld said. "I very much look forward to my continued collaboration with all constituent groups -- including members of the staff, the board of education and the community -- to build upon the many district successes as we enhance learning experiences designed to maximize each student for tomorrow's world."
Entries are being accepted for the 2013-14 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Program, which recognizes students in grades 5-12 who have made "meaningful contributions to their communities" in the past year.
The program is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Two pupils from each state and the District of Columbia will be named honorees in February. They will receive $1,000, silver medallions and a paid trip to Washington, D.C.
There in May, 10 students will be designated America's Top Youth Volunteers. Those students will receive $5,000, gold medallions and $5,000 grants for a nonprofit organization of their choosing.
Entry forms are available online at spirit.prudential.com. The deadline is Nov. 5. Those without Internet access can get a paper version of the application by calling 877-525-8491.