Students Represent LBHS Science Research at Regional and International Levels

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Five Long Beach High School students earned awards at the New York State Science and Engineering Fair on March 21, and two qualified for and will advance to the prestigious Intel International Engineering and Science Fair. Senior Vinny Pagano and junior Jaylyn Umana are preparing to travel to Pittsburg from May 13-18 for this event, which is known as the world’s largest international precollege science competition.

At NYSSEF, Vinny was awarded first place in Mathematics along with the Arizona State University Walton Sustainability Solutions Award for his project, Restoring Wild Oyster Reefs: Optimization of Population Sustainability through Mathematical Modeling of Fertilization Dynamics. Jaylyn earned a second-place award in Physics and Astronomy as well as the Yale Science & Engineering Association’s Most Outstanding Exhibit in Comp Science, Physics, Engineering, or Chemistry distinction for his project, Single Crystal Synthesis, Structure and Magnetic Properties of CrAl3Bi4O9, the Frist Cr-Al-Bi-O Compound. 

Juniors Lauren Bulik, Joshua Kapilian and Emily McDonnell also received impressive recognitions at NYSSEF. Joshua placed third in Systems Science and received the Intel Excellence in Computer Science Award for his project, Creating a User-Friendly Interface for the Model of United States Airspace Control. Lauren and Emily were awarded third place in Earth/Environmental for their project, Micro-plastic Contamination in Western Bays of Long Island. 

This is the first time in at least a decade that two students were selected to represent Long Beach High School at ISEF in the same year. Vinny and Jaylyn are excited to take their work to the next step. They will be up against 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions and territories contending for monetary prizes. 

“We are very humbled to represent Long Beach at the international level,” Vinny said. “It’s a good indication that we are going in the right direction.” 

“Being part of the science research community is a big deal and not easy to get into,” Jaylyn said. “You have to be making a contribution, no matter how big or small.” 

Vinny’s work was also awarded the Mu Alpha Theta Award at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair held earlier this year. He created a mathematical model for sustainability of wild oyster fertilization using a numerical and analytical approach and found a negative log linear correlation between the percentage of zygotes formed and the distance between oysters. He utilized partial differential equations to model the procedure in five dimensions. He worked with mentor Dr. James Browne, a Town of Hempstead Department of Conservation and Waterways biologist. 

Jaylyn created a new material that should be able to boost the efficiency of computers. It has unique magnetic properties that have not been reported before. The process involved high-temperature furnaces and analysis of measurement data that took place at Stony Brook University and Texas A&M University. He was mentored by Farmingdale State College physics professor Dr. Jack W. Simonson.

Both ISEF finalists have been deeply involved in science research outside of the classroom. Vinny recently attended the Long Island Natural History Conference at Brookhaven National Laboratory, as did Emily McDonnell. Jaylyn went to the International Energy & Sustainability Conference at Farmingdale State College and the University at Albany Science and Technology Entry Program’s Statewide Student Conference in Albany, New York. Jaylyn received second authorship in an abstract that he worked on with Dr. Simonson, which was published in the American Physical Society meetings in March. Vinny, who will attend Princeton University in the fall, had his previous research published in the Long Island Conservatory’s High School Research Journal, finalized this past January. He has received publication interest in his newer work.