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Student to represent LI in Siemens math, science finals

Alice Wu, 17, a senior at Half Hollow

Alice Wu, 17, a senior at Half Hollow Hills West High School in Dix Hills, is the only Long Islander advancing to the December 2016 national finals of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. Wu and her two out-of-state teammates worked on research that aims to regenerate teeth through the use of stem cells. Credit: David L. Pokress

Only one of 10 Long Island students vying in the prestigious Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology is advancing to the national finals.

Eight Long Island students found out Monday that they were not selected to be in the finals next month in Washington, D.C., and a Jericho High School student learned earlier this month he would not advance.

The eight students, who presented their projects virtually to judges at Carnegie Mellon University over the weekend, each receive a $1,000 scholarship, according to the Siemens Foundation. The winning individual got a $3,000 scholarship and the winning team shared a $6,000 scholarship.

Alice Wu, a senior at Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, and her two out-of-state teammates were selected last week to go to the national finals. She said she was surprised by Monday’s news.

“Oh, wow. I did not expect that,” Wu, 17, said in an interview. “It felt very surreal.”

Wu’s team was selected for its research that aims to regenerate teeth through the use of stem cells. She and the other two members of her team — Katherine Cao of Mequon, Wisconsin, and William Hu of Saratoga, California — have spent hours working on the project and discussing it over Skype.

“To see everything that we’ve done come to fruition is very satisfying,” Wu said.

The foundation also announced Monday that a student from Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County won top individual honors while two students from Lexington, Massachusetts, won top team honors.

The team regional finalists from Long Island were Eric Pun and Nikhil Saggi of Syosset High School; Stephen Lee and Fred Chu of Manhasset High School; and Susell Contreras of Brentwood High School and Sarah Adamo of Smithtown High School West.

Earlier this month, Jericho High School junior Jang Hun Choi also was announced as a regional finalist. He presented to judges at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served on a team with students from New York City and New Jersey and received a $1,000 scholarship.

The regional finalists from Long Island in the individual competition were Erika Nemeth of Smithtown High School East and Nestor Tkachenko of Ward Melville High School, in the Three Village school district.

The final round of the competition is scheduled for Dec. 5 and 6 at George Washington University in Washington.

The 10 Long Island students were among the competition’s 96 regional finalists this year. Last year, a team from Manhasset High School claimed the top team prize.

With Chau Lam

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