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Smithtown student wins Rising Scientist Award

James Rogers, 17, of Smithtown High School West,

James Rogers, 17, of Smithtown High School West, is one of five students in the metropolitan area to receive a 2018 Rising Scientist Award from the Child Mind Institute. Photo Credit: Alexander Rodriguez

A senior at Smithtown High School West has won a prestigious award for his research in the field of neuroscience.

James Rogers, 17, is one of five students in the metropolitan to receive a 2018 Rising Scientist Award from the Child Mind Institute, a Manhattan-based nonprofit dedicated to those struggling with mental health and learning disorders. The award includes a $2,000 college scholarship.

Rogers' research explores neuronal damage caused by the over-activation of glutamate receptors. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter important in learning, cognition and memory.

"I've always been interested in trying to figure out the unknown," Rogers said. "Science is very frustrating. You really have to love it to pursue it."

He was nominated for the award by Smithtown West science teacher Joanne Figueiredo.

Rogers received the award during the institute's On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium, held last month at CUNY's Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center. He also attended a breakfast with Felton Earls, a professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School who received the institute's Sarah Gund Prize for Research and Mentorship in Child Mental Health.

Rogers is president of his school's Mock Trial Club and English Honor Society, as well as vice president of the school's chapter of the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA). He is a Boy Scout and is running a local anti-vaping campaign with two friends.            

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