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Bayside teenagers named Intel contest semi-finalists

Though science achievement has become a tradition in city schools, Baysider Jane He said she was surprised last week when she and 14 of her Stuyvesant High School classmates were named semi-finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search.

“I really didn’t expect it,” said He, 17, a senior.

He and fellow Baysider Yan Xiang Liang, also 17, were two of 19 Queens students named as semifinalists in the prestigious 61-year-old science contest. Nationwide 300 semi-finalists were chosen.

For the winners from Manhattan’s Stuyvesant HS, the Intel victories announced Jan. 16 were especially sweet since their school is next to the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

Stuyvesant students joined thousands of other New Yorkers fleeing the crumbling Twin Towers that day and were forced to share space with students at Brooklyn Technical HS until they could re-enter their school in early October.

The difficulties Stuyvesant students faced last fall did not impede the school’s winning tradition when it came to the Intel contest, which had 16 semi-finalists in 2001 and 10 in 1999-2000.

He credited the supportive atmosphere for science research at Stuyvesant as responsible for part of the school’s success.

“We have a class dedicated to science research,” she said. “A lot of other people are doing what you’re doing. It’s very supportive, and everyone’s very enthusiastic.”

He, who hopes to go to Massachusetts Institute of Technology when she graduates, entered her project “Influence of Duration on Detection Thresholds of Global Structure in Glass Patterns” in the Intel contest.

Liang’s work was called “Readers beware! Effects of visual noise on the channel for reading.”

Liang could not be reached for comment as of press time Tuesday.

Each semifinalist receives a $1,000 scholarship and each school gets $1,000 in support of math and science programs for each of its first-round winners.

Of the 300 semi-finalists, 40 will be chosen as finalists by Jan. 30. Finalists in the Intel contest, formerly known as Westinghouse, get an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. and compete for $530,000 worth of college scholarships.

Winners were expected to be announced March 11.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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