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Hundreds of students participate in third annual Nassau science fair

Roosevelt sixth graders Justin Williams, 11, left, and

Roosevelt sixth graders Justin Williams, 11, left, and Sharde Jones, 12, right, explain their project to judge Maureen Vella, center, during the Nassau County High School and Middle School Science Competition held at Roosevelt HIgh School, Sunday, June 7, 2015. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Ever wonder which orange juice packs more vitamin C per gram of pulp or whether listening to reggae, classical music or heavy metal is best when cramming for a test?

Just ask Daniela Andrade, a sixth-grader at Lawrence Middle School, and Sara Micheli of Carle Place Middle School. The girls were among hundreds of Nassau middle- and high-school students who vied for trophies, medals and cash prizes ranging from $50 to $225 Sunday in the third annual Nassau County Science Competition.

Daniela, 11, an aspiring medical researcher, compared mom's fresh-squeezed orange juice with brands found in the aisles of supermarkets and, after rigorous research, concluded that mom's yields the biggest wallop of the disease-fighting vitamin. Sara, 14, a forensic scientist-to-be, has done the research and says classical music wins out.

Data that Daniela collected also showed unequivocally that "It was fun" to use scientific method to answer thorny questions.

As many as 336 whiz kids from dozens of schools crammed into Roosevelt High School with three-paneled story boards full of charts and graphs, theories and methods to explain experiments in the STEM fields -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Sporting crisp white lab coats, Justin Williams, 11, and Sharde Jones, 12, both sixth-graders at Roosevelt Middle School, demonstrated how to achieve maximum efficiency when designing boxes to store, ship or gift-wrap irregular-shaped items. "I want to be an architectural engineer," Justin said.

Maureen Vella, science research teacher at Woodland Middle School in East Meadow, served as a judge in the daylong competition. "The kids own their projects," she said, adding, "I see the quality going up every year."

Oceanside High School senior Victoria Leto studied the relationship between eating disorders and sexual orientation.

"I think this study can help figure out more why people are suffering," said the 17-year-old senior, who will attend Hofstra University in the fall, adding she wants to be a psychologist.

Jun Yan and Bongseok Jung of Manhasset High School came in first place in the overall high school division, while Kamyar Ghiam and Anuj Gupta of Roslyn High School took second. Ariel Slepyan of Hewlett High School came in third.

Julia Grossman of Woodmere Middle School took first-place honors in the overall middle school division, George Gurney of Oyster Bay Middle School took second and Micheli tied for third with Brandon Langone of Grand Avenue Middle School in Bellmore.

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