Once again, Long Island is graced with the success of a flock of young scientists. Four local high schoolers were named finalists this week in the storied Regeneron Science Talent Search competition.
The homegrown honorees are Andrew Brinton and Katherine St George of John F. Kennedy High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District; Kyra McCreery of North Shore High School; and Ella Wesson of Manhasset High School.
Their work is stunning, ranging widely over the fields of science, covering issues from caffeine to acoustical properties.
Their work ethic is exemplary: McCreery’s adviser Upmanu Lall of Columbia University says that when Lall and McCreery started working together on her hurricane research, the teenager quickly digested a half dozen papers of suggested readings plus researching related literature and identifying areas of further study. Her approach was on par with or better than some masters level students, Lall said.
Finalist Brinton told Newsday that his research into salt marshes was inspired by witnessing the destruction caused here by superstorm Sandy in 2012. Questions like his, about how natural barriers like salt marshes and mud flats might mitigate the effect of storm surges, are key for the region in a world of rising seas.
These Long Island students are continuing the region’s proud tradition of scientific inquiry. That tradition has a past, with a history of aviation innovation including work on the Apollo lunar module in Bethpage. The tradition has a present, featuring hardworking scientists at the island's premier research institutions including Brookhaven National Laboratory, which just landed a billion-dollar-plus electron-ion collider that will draw researchers from near and far.
And that local scientific tradition has a future, thanks to students like the Regeneron finalists and all the other young scholars who experiment in labs, crunch data and dream. A bright Long Island is one with them in it.
May their spirit of scientific wonder never cease.
— The editorial board