It was so inspiring to see our Yonkers students competing at the same level as students from established science research programs with the same degree of confidence and poise,” explained Yonkers Partners in Education’s (YPIE) Regeneron STEM Scholars Manager, Jake Schofield.
For the first time ever on Saturday, June 3, 14 YPIE Regeneron STEM Scholars competed at the 7th Annual Science Fair at Westlake High School, a competitive event for Westchester County high schools. Two YPIE STEM Scholars won awards, out of nearly 400 students who competed. According to Schofield, “It was an empowering experience for all the YPIE students, and every single one left the event excited and inspired to work even harder on their science research projects.”
First, second and third place awards were given in each of the 15 categories of the Annual Science Fair.
Citlalli Rojas, photo attached, won 3rd place in her category of Environmental Science for her project on The Human Factors Affecting American Eel Migration in the recently day-lighted Saw Mill River, which runs right through the heart of Yonkers. This summer she will be continuing to collect data on eels, and will be performing water quality assessments at various points along the Hudson river in order to compare levels of pollutants to this year's eel migration numbers.
Aishe Samadder, won 3rd place in her category of Medicine and Health for her project on Spinal Cord Regeneration in Zebra Fish. There were about 80 participants in this extremely competitive category. This year, Aishe hopes to work in a laboratory environment, in order to get hands-on experience doing the kind of research she has been reading and learning about all year.
Last Spring, with generous support from Regeneron, YPIE began the STEM Institute, an initiative enabling academically ambitious students to participate in original science research, similar to their peers in more affluent school districts. Regeneron made the investment recognizing the dearth of science research opportunities in the Yonkers Public Schools and hoping the YPIE program can be a model for other low-income communities in the region and throughout the country. Working alongside mentors from STEM fields, Scholars are conducting research on a topic of their choice and participating in regional and national science competitions like the one at Westlake High School.