Maspeth girl places at Intel

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Of the 600 entries in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Francis Lewis High School senior Aislinn Deely earned second place in the earth and planetary sciences division, winning $1,500 and the naming of an asteroid in her honor.

“There were certain awards I was hoping for ... so I was holding the hands of the girls next to me,” Aislinn said of the awards ceremony held earlier this month in Los Angeles.

That is when the announcer said, “In earth and planetary sciences, from Maspeth, N.Y., Aislinn Deely.”

“Once I heard ‘Maspeth,’ I knew it was me, so we were all screaming,” said Aislinn, who is heading to Macaulay Honors College at Queens College, where she will be receiving full tuition, a MacBook Pro and $7,500 worth of research grants and plans to major in environmental engineering or environmental science.

“It’s still crazy. I wasn’t expecting to get second. I was just hoping for fourth place just to get placed,” she said. “When I got called for second, it was just unbelievable.”

Aislinn’s project consisted of collecting coral and shell samples from the Bahamas and dating them through electron spin resonance to construct a sea level curve dating back 220,000 years by determining the ages, elevation and water depth of the samples.

“By studying sea level patterns of the past, we can predict the future,” Aislinn earlier told TimesLedger Newspapers for a story about reaching the finals of the competition.

As part of the weekend in Los Angeles, Aislinn got to listen to the chief executive officer of Dreamworks Animation give a keynote address and met the host of “It’s Effin’ Science,” a television show about the quirkiness of science.

Aislinn also had the chance to visit the Santa Monica Pier and tour the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

A Maspeth resident who has a 98 average and a class ranking of 29th out of 926 seniors at Francis Lewis, Aislinn said her mother instilled in her the importance of an education.

“I attribute all my success to my mom. As a kid, she would always read to me,” she said. “She never put a lot of stress on me to do well and she always helped.”

She credited her seventh-grade science teacher for showing her “that science was my forte.”

Aislinn’s project was one of two finalists in the Intel competition for the Fresh Meadows school.

Juniors Sunny Agarwal, Indroneil Roy and Tanmai Shah submitted a project that created solar panels that were 25 percent to 26 percent efficient, while conventional panels are 7 percent efficient.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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