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Ossining Intel Semifinalists Glad to be Recognized

OSSINING, N.Y. – Four Ossining High School students who were chosen as semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search competition said they are happy they have been recognized for all the hard work they have put in.

"If it were up to me, all the seniors in our program would've been named semifinalists. All the projects came out amazing and the whole process behind it is such good preparation for college," said semifinalist Evan Olin, a senior.

Frances Russell said she cried when she found out she had been chosen as a semifinalist. "It hardly seems fair because so many people work so hard and for me to be one of them, I feel very honored," Russell said.

Olin, Russell, Amelia Clements and Emily Prentiss were among 300 semifinalists chosen from a pool of 1,839 applicants nationwide. This year, Ossining High School had the most Intel semifinalists of any school in Westchester County.

"Success begets success," said Valerie Holmes, a science research teacher who oversees the Ossining Fundamentals of Science Research Program along with teacher Angelo Piccirillo. "The students realize that if they work hard at it, there is a very real possibility that they can be selected."

Students in the Ossining science research program apply during their freshman year to be part of the three-year program. During their sophomore year, they decide what they want to do their research on, and in their sophomore, junior and senior years they conduct research and do analysis. The application for the Intel Science Talent Search competition consists of a write-up of the students' research along with personal essays, transcripts, test scores and recommendations.

"It's like a college application on steroids. By the time we finished the applications and printed them out to review, they were about 50 pages long," Olin said.

Olin did his research in a physical therapy laboratory under the direction of mentor Gregory Gutierez. He studied the risk for injury when transitioning from running with shoes to running barefoot.

Russell did her research in Patric Stanton's laboratory at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. She studied the neuronal processes that occur after someone undergoes a small stroke.

Amelia Clements, an avid gardener, did her research on genes that regulate floral development in poppies in Amy Litt's laboratory in the genomics department of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

Emily Prentiss did her research on the way human brains respond to right and left hand stimulation at a cognitive neurophysiology laboratory at Albert Einstein College in the Bronx.

All Intel semifinalists receive $1,000, and their schools receive a matching $1,000. Semifinalists have the chance of becoming finalists who are invited to Washington D.C. to further compete. The top Intel finalist wins a prize of $100,000.

"I'm definitely putting my $1,000 towards college," said Clements. "It's not going to cover the whole tuition or anything, but it's definitely helpful."

Intel's 40 finalists are expected to be announced on Jan. 25, and the top 10 winners will be named in mid-March.

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