Long Beach High School students Arianne Papa, left, and Jane...

Long Beach High School students Arianne Papa, left, and Jane Smyth with their I-SWEEEP awards for research on water pollution and flounder populations. ( May 2012) Credit: Handout

Nassau County students took home half of the top four prizes announced earlier this month at a prestigious national science competition held in Houston.

Sagar Rambhia of Jericho High School and the team of Arianne Papa and Jane Smyth of Long Beach High School won Grand Awards in the engineering and environment categories, respectively, at the 2012 International Sustainable World (Engineering, Energy and Environment) Project Olympiad, also known as I-SWEEEP. Each award carries a $3,000 prize.

The science fair, coordinated by the Houston-based nonprofit Cosmos Foundation, is designed to spark interest in and awareness of the planet's sustainability challenges. About 450 projects from more than 40 states and 68 countries were submitted for this year's competition.

"Their level of dedication and commitment to science research is unparalleled," Kenneth Graham, Long Beach's K-12 director of science, said of his students. "They were working every day like a full-time job. . . . They've even gone kayaking and worn snowshoes to collect some water samples."

Papa and Smyth's research studied water pollution in nearby Reynolds Channel and other waterways and the effect it has on flounder populations. Last year the duo won a gold medal in the same category for a project that used mussels to filter treated sewage effluent.

Rambhia's research explored an approach to fight cardiovascular disease involving fluid-structure interaction stimulation, I-SWEEEP officials said.


A top youth volunteer

Raymond Mohler, an eighth-grader at Lynbrook South Middle School, has been named one of America's top 10 youth volunteers of 2012 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Mohler, selected from more than 26,000 applicants nationwide, was honored for creating the Little St. Nick Foundation to provide holiday toys to hospitalized kids. For winning, he receives a personal award of $5,000, an engraved gold medallion, and a $5,000 grant to a charity of his choice.

Mohler and Christoper Yao, a sophomore at Jericho High School, were among 102 pupils nationwide named state honorees in February. At that time, both received $1,000 and silver medallions.

The award contest, honoring youths' volunteerism efforts, is coordinated by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.


Kid Wind Challenge

A team from Mineola Middle School won first place earlier this month in the first Kid Wind Challenge at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.

The competition challenged students to design and construct their own wind turbines and present their finished product to judges, a panel of representatives from the museum and National Grid.

Teams were judged based on their design, efficiency and knowledge of wind technology.

"It's important for students to gain a greater understanding of the energy options that are available to us," said Robert Keller, president of the National Grid Foundation.


LI Math Fair

Students in the North Shore school district won 38 gold medals -- the most of any school district on Long Island -- in the 2012 Long Island Math Fair last month at Hofstra University.

The contest, sponsored by the Nassau and Suffolk math teachers associations, required students in grades 7-12 to submit an essay on a math topic of their choice and to give a 15- minute presentation to a panel of judges.

Other top-performing Nassau County districts, and the gold medal totals for each, included Roslyn with 21, Syosset with 14, Herricks with 13, Great Neck with 10, East Meadow with eight, and Port Washington with five.


Coca-Cola finalists

Seven Long Island high school seniors were among 250 students nationwide named 2011-12 finalists for four-year, achievement-based scholarships to be issued this spring by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

Finalists were interviewed by a selection committee last month in Atlanta. Fifty of them will receive $20,000 scholarships, and the other 200 will receive $10,000.

Local finalists are Saad Amer of Patchogue-Medford High School, Jacqueline Aquino of Elmont Memorial Junior-Senior High School, Matthew Cohen of Bay Shore High School, Megan Goldberg of H. Frank Carey High School in Franklin Square, Stephanie Morales of Freeport High School, Jacklyn Sullivan of Gen. Douglas MacArthur High School in Levittown and Linda Zambrano of Southampton High School.

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