33 Westchester HS Students Named Regeneron Science Talent Search 2020 Semifinalists

Nearly three dozen Westchester high school students were among the 300 that were chosen as semifinalists at this year’s prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search.

Westchester residents have been named as semifinalists in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search.
Westchester residents have been named as semifinalists in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search. Photo Credit: Society for Science

This year, approximately 2,000 students entered the Regeneron STS, where they “submit original research in critically important scientific fields of study.” The organization said that the search is “unique among high school competitions in the U.S. and globally, Regeneron STS focuses on identifying, inspiring, and engaging the nation's most promising young scientists.”

Judges narrowed the field to just 300, based on their research skills, commitment to education, innovate thinking and prospects as a scientist.

The 33 Westchester students selected received $2,000 as well as their schools. From the pool of semifinalists, 40 will be chosen as finalists and invited to Washington, D.C in March for their final judgment. The finalists will be awarded at least $25,000 and the top 10 will earn between $40,000 and $250,000.

According to the judges, in 2017, Regeneron became only the third sponsor of the Science Talent Search, increasing the overall awards distribution to better reward the best and brightest young minds.

“Through its 10-year, $100 million commitment, Regeneron nearly doubled the overall award distribution to $3.1 million annually, increasing the top award to $250,000 and doubling the awards for the top 300 scholars and their schools to $2,000 each to inspire more young people to engage in science.

“We are inspired by the incredible energy and passion of every scholar who is using research to make the world a better place,” Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public, Publisher of Science News and 1985 Science Talent Search alum, said. “These young students will be the key to unlocking solutions to many of our world’s most pressing challenges.”

This year's local Regeneron scholar semifinalists and their research projects include:


  • Isha Brahmbhatt: "Removal of Rare Earth Metal Ions from Contaminated Water by Sustainable Carboxycellulose Nanofibers Derived from Agave through Nitro Oxidation Process."


  • Kenny Poor: "Implementation and Refinement of Oscillometric Finger Pressing Cuff-less Blood Pressure Measurement on Mobile Phones."

Blind Brook:

  • Aidan O'Neil: "Effect of municipal wastewater effluent on downstream disinfection byproducts and nutrients;"
  • Nicole Rosenzweig: "The Impact of a Colic Diagnosis and an Educational Intervention on Adult Caregiving Decisions, Perceptions, and Emotional Responses to a Crying Infant."

Briarcliff Manor:

  • Massimo "Max" Fante: "A New Method To Target and Degrade Transmembrane Proteins Inside the Cell;"
  • Gil Halevi: "Important Groups First: Encouraging Disentanglement in Variational Autoencoders"

Byram Hills:

  • Sam Aberman: "Facilitation of an orthogonal IL-2 system for CAR T cell therapy through the novel knockout of the human IL-2 gene;"
  • Spencer Karp: "A step towards energy-efficient infrastructure: A weakly-supervised approach to energy signal labeling in commercial buildings;"
  • Merry Mayers: "An evaluation of network-informed disease transmission parameters for the California puma population;"
  • Alexa McGrath: "An investigation of the medicinal value of the baboon diet: A comparative study across five species and six study sites;"
  • Carolina Pedraza: "Heightened anxiety in children and adolescents with tic disorders;"
  • Owen Skriloff: "An in vitro evaluation of the relationship between stress and mineralization through the use of a piezoelectric barium titanate composite."


  • Henry Asa: "Deriving the Value of Cryptocurrencies Through an Analysis of 95 Global Currencies;"
  • Holly Cheng: "Modulating Fetal Globin Levels Using CRISPR/Cas9 in an in vitro Mouse Cellular System."


  • Maho Toyomura: "Gene editing in ALDH2 for a potential cure for alcoholism."


  • Takaharu (Taka) Araki: "PDK Inhibition Selectively Sensitizes Hyperactive mTORC1 MEF Cells Under Hypoxia."


  • Sara McSweeney: "Increasing the Desiccation Tolerance of Eragrostis tef through Exogenous Application of Abscisic Acid to Ensure Food Security;"
  • Nasia Meimeteas: "Predicting the Relationship between Marriage and Discussion of Women’s Issues in Congressional Representatives: A Multiplicative Interaction Model Approach."


  • Rishit Gupta: "Error Correction using a Repetition Code on the 14 qubit IBMQ Melbourne Quantum Computer."

New Rochelle:

  • Jake Egelberg: "Flagella-Mediated Antibiotic Persistence: A Scientific Enigma."


  • Hammad Hassan: "Targeted inhibition of a novel MALT1 and MAPK signaling network synergistically suppresses aggressive B cell lymphoma growth;"
  • Michelle Lin: "Characterizing Predictors of Galactic Habitable Zone Parameters: Planetary Magnetism as an Indicator of Habitability;"
  • Caroline Reed: "North Atlantic Minke Whales Exhibit Spatially Varied Vocal Responses to Ambient Noise and a Novel Paradigm for Passive Acoustics Research;"
  • Vikesh Subramanian: "Exfoliation of graphite cathodes improves cycling performance of aluminum-ion batteries;"
  • Lara Tomescu: "Shifting Environmental Conditions Affect the Onset of Phenological events in Acer rubrum."


  • Jessie Liu: "Developing and Evaluating a Novel Retinoblastoma Staging Application."


  • Maeve Janecka: "Analysis of Heavy Metal Concentrations in JUUL® Electronic Cigarette Vapor Based on Vaping Topography Identified from a Survey of Young Adults."


  • Tess Kaplan: "Increasing Emotional Intelligence in Typically Developing Students and Students with Developmental Disabilities;"
  • Samantha Livingston: "Using the Identification of Diseases Caused by a Change in Phosphorylation State to Identify the Signaling pathway of BRAF V600E mutation."


  • Snehal Dubey: "The Application of Computer Algorithms for the Diagnosis of Eye Diseases Using Fundus Images;"
  • Andrew Lu: "Mobile RGBD-based Situational Awareness Aid for the Blind and Visually Impaired;"
  • Alanna Moskowitz: "The Role of Secondary IDH2 Mutations in Drug Resistance and Cancer Development;"
  • Sophie Vernik: "Spreading Depolarizations as Preconditioning to Post-Stroke Neuronal Death."

“Congratulations to all 300 scholars from this year’s Regeneron Science Talent Search and welcome to a network of exceptional student leaders and innovators,” Hala Mirza, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Citizenship at Regeneron added. “We are thrilled to recognize and honor these students for the many contributions they are making to the STEM community and our broader society. With such a wide array of interests and high-quality work, we are eager to follow their progress in the years to come.”

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