James Nagler, a Garden City High School sophomore, won first...

James Nagler, a Garden City High School sophomore, won first place in the combined category of “embedded systems and robotics and intelligent machines” at this year’s Long Island Science & Engineering Fair. Credit: Garden City School District

Twenty-one students have advanced to the international level after being named first-place winners in this year's Long Island Science & Engineering Fair.

The teens, who placed first in a dozen categories ranging from animal and plant sciences to translational medical science, presented their projects to professionals from local universities and scientific institutions.

This year's fair received nearly 400 submissions, with at least 25% in each category selected for the second round of judging last month at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. The winners have qualified for the Regeneron International Science & Engineering Fair next month in Atlanta. 

"The trustees of LISEF are especially proud of this year's participants, who were determined to pursue their scientific interests despite the pandemic," said the fair's president, Angela Lukaszewski. "School closings and limited accessibility to teachers, mentors and laboratories did not deter them."

First-place winners and their high schools were: Soyoun Moon and Lakxshanna Raveendran, Commack; James Nagler, Garden City; Collin Li, Great Neck South; Jacob Aaron Leshnower and Daniel Salkinder, Half Hollow Hills East; Rebecca Cho, Emily Kim, Natalia Pahlavan and Kevin Zhu, Jericho; Christopher Prainito, John F. Kennedy; Ava Malysa and Samantha Palmadessa, Manhasset; Kyle Arjun Kavully, Plainedge; Tarunika Sasikumar, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK; Han Byur Youn, Roslyn; Sarah Kathryn Schubel, Smithtown East; Miah Christina Margiano, St. Anthony's; Griffin Hon and Alex Lin Wang, Syosset; and Amber Kaixin Luo, Ward Melville.


America's best chef

Humza Hussain, a student at the Eastern Long Island Academy of Applied Technology's Edward J. Milliken Technical Center in Oakdale, won second place and a $40,000 scholarship in the America's Best High School Chef Competition, held at Monroe College's School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts in New Rochelle.

The competition consisted of 10 contestants and three rounds in which participants demonstrated knife skills, created cold salads and prepared entrees using a chicken. Competitors were judged on criteria including professionalism, technique and presentation.

The academy is the career and technical education program of Eastern Suffolk BOCES.


'Solve for Tomorrow'

A team from Oceanside Road Elementary School 5 is one of 10 national finalists in Samsung's "Solve for Tomorrow" Contest, which challenges students to improve their communities through science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM.

Oceanside's team designed a system to help children with prosthetic lower limbs ride bicycles without their feet sliding off the pedals. The team won $50,000 in Samsung technology and classroom supplies and will now compete to be one of three national winners of $100,000 prize packages.

The team also recently received a $6,500 prize package for being among 100 state winners.


Ukraine efforts

Many schools have been engaging in efforts to assist individuals in Ukraine following the country's military invasion by Russia.

In Amityville, the high school's orchestra showed solidarity with those under attack by recording an arrangement of the Ukrainian national anthem that was posted last month to YouTube.

In Malverne, Maurice. W. Downing Elementary School's Student Council collected items including more than 20 bags of clothes, 10 bags of coats and three boxes of medical supplies as part of a drive coordinated by St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Center in Uniondale. 

In Mineola, students and staff at Meadow Drive Elementary School donated 369 pairs of pajamas and 112 packages of socks for an orphanage in Poland helping refugee children from Ukraine. 

In Bethpage, the high school's Marine Science Club filled two dozen boxes and bags with clothing and food. "The situation in Ukraine is horrendous and appalling,” said club adviser Larry Portuese. "Hopefully, these items will bring comfort to those in need."

In Shoreham, members of the high school's Global Awareness Club raised $736 through the sale of baked good to benefit the nonprofit Save the Children. "These students continue to impress me with their humanitarian work both locally and internationally," said club adviser Brenna Gilroy.

In Westhampton Beach, the high school's Youth to Youth Club collected 1,400 pounds of food, 288 pounds of toiletries and 405 pairs of socks. The donations were delivered to local community organizations and pantries as well as to those in Ukraine.


Symposium winners

Nine Long Island students placed first in various categories of this year's Long Island Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, which invited high schoolers to share the results of their research in science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM. 

Winners and their high schools were: Dylan D'Agate and Alaina Lin, Half Hollow Hills East; Prableen Kaur, Herricks; Christopher Luisi, John F. Kennedy; Keira Talty, Mineola; Dara Neumann and Jennifer Zhu, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK; Kevin Taylor of Paul D. Schreiber; and Neal Carpino, Ward Melville.

To participate, students submitted research papers for evaluation by a panel of judges, with the best selected for presentation at the symposium.

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