Queens boasts 19 semifinalists in Intel science search

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Albert Lin checked the Intel website Jan. 16 to see if any of his St. Francis Prep classmates had been selected as semifinalists in the company’s prestigious Science Talent Search. He was shocked to see his name on the list of winners.

Anurag Gupta, 17, a Kew Gardens resident who attends Edward R. Murrow HS in Brooklyn, was sitting in English class that same day when his science teacher barged into the room with news he was selected as a semifinalist.

“I was running around the school,” Gupta recalled upon learning his project, “Sonochemical Synthesis of II-VI Semiconductor Nanocrystallites and their Characteri­zation,” was a winner. “I called my parents.”

Suhan Li, a Bronx High School of Science senior from Rego Park, was eating lunch last week when his science teacher rushed toward him in the school’s cafeteria. “You’re a winner,” the teacher told Li, whose project is called “Surface-induced Coherence in Atomic Fluorescence Decay Rates.”

All told, 19 borough residents received the good news last week that they were selected semifinalists in the prestigious nationwide Intel Science Talent Search, including three from Queens schools.

Eric Cheung, 17, of Forest Hills HS was the only Queens public school student to gain a semifinal slot. He was honored for his project, “Bayesian Estimation of Levy Process Volatility in Black-Scholes Model for Option Pricing.”

The other two winners from borough schools both came from St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows. Lin discovered four new stars as part of his study called “A Survey of the Public Chandra Data Archive (CDA) in Search of Serendipitous X-ray Pulsars;” and Marie Renee Milcetic from Whitestone won for her project, “Effects of ALPHA-Synuclein on Neuromelanin Formation: Implications for Parkinson’s Disease.”

Studies by other students from Queens ranged from looking at a potential HIV vaccine to examining short-term memory retrieval abilities of children.

Among borough winners were eight Stuyvesant HS students, who were able to complete their projects despite the fact that the school, next to the World Trade Center had to be evacuated after Sept. 11.

Across the country, 300 high school seniors from 173 schools were honored for their projects with coveted semifinal slots in the talent search.

The semifinalists, high school seniors representing 31 states, Washington D.C. and Guam, were selected from 1,562 applicants, with the student and school each receiving $1,000.

The list will be trimmed to 40 finalists on Jan. 30. Finalists will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they will compete for college scholarships totaling $530,000.

Other Queens residents, ages 17 and 18, named semifinalists, from Stuyvesant were: Jane He, of Bayside; Lixun Xu, of Bayside; Vivian Ho, of Flushing; Yan Xiang Liang, of Forest Hills; Jukay Hsu, of Flushing; David Blackman, of Rego Park; Prabjot Mundi, of Richmond Hill; and Moon Hee Lee, of Whitestone.

Bronx Science: Paul Kim, of Elmhurst; Jose Montero, of Elmhurst; and Raminder Parihar, of Floral Park.

From Brooklyn schools: Oswald Espinoza, of Sunnyside, and Wanqing Li, of Flushing, both of Brooklyn Technical High School; and Adam Kapelner, of Belle Harbor, Midwood High School.

Reach reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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