Students earn honors at LI Science and Engineering Fair

Students earn honors at LI Science and Engineering Fair photo
For the first time in Hampton Bays High School history, two science research students earned awards at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair. This year’s competition was held at the Crest Hollow Country Club on March 15.  

Senior Sydney Caldwell took home third place in the category of translational medicine, while fellow senior Meghan Long earned an honorable mention for her work in behavior sciences. Both students have been working on their respective research projects with mentors and science research teacher Dr. Stephanie Forsberg since their freshman year.

“To see both Meghan and Sydney not only enter the contest, but excel is a colossal accomplishment,” said Dr. Forsberg. “Their perseverance, fortitude and high levels of inquiry into their respective topics led them to these successes. Our community couldn’t be prouder to have had them represent us and position Hampton Bays students on the scientific map.”

The seniors, along with 130 students from across Long Island, earned an invitation to the competition after advancing beyond the first round of the contest on Feb. 6. 

For her project, “The Apoptotic Effect of Novel Curcumin Derivative on Pancreatic Cancer Cells,” Sydney evaluated the ability of chemically modified curcumin to inhibit pancreatic cell growth by inducing apoptosis through potential protein mechanisms. Through her research, she determined that with further investigation, CMC can possibly be used in pancreatic cancer treatments to strengthen the effects of drugs currently used. 

In addition to entering LISEF, Sydney applied to the Regeneron (formerly Intel) and Siemens science contests. When not working on her research, including a summer trip to California to work with her mentor, Dr. Gerardo MacKenzie, Caldwell serves as captain of the varsity gymnastics team and cheerleading squad. She is also captain of the spring track team and a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the Key Club. She intends to study cell and molecular biology in college in the fall. 

Meghan’s work, “Daily Self-Weighing to Combat Obesity Among Adolescents,” explores the effects of daily self-weighing on 38 high school students. Using experimental and control groups, she found that daily self-weighing causes a significant decrease in weight among adolescents. 

When not researching with her mentor, Dr. David Levitsky, Meghan can be found participating in her school’s thespian society, select choir and FBLA. She also volunteers for Big Brothers, Big Sisters and served as a student director of the Hampton Bays Middle School dramatic production. She plans to study communications at James Madison University in the fall.   

The Hampton Bays School District extends its congratulations to both seniors for their outstanding accomplishments in science.