A WESEF Recap

By Ellen Amico

On March 4th, more than 550 students from Westchester County competed at the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair, also known as WESEF, at Sleepy Hollow High School. The event is a poster competition showcasing numerous projects covering a multitude of subjects. Sponsored by Regeneron, students compete for entry to ISEF, the International Science and Engineering Fair. All of the seniors from the Byram Hills Authentic Science Research Program attended. This year, two juniors attended as well. It was a fantastic day for all, filled with learning and excitement. It culminated with a plethora of awards won by many of our students!

In order to compete in WESEF, a student needs to have a completed research project, most likely conducted at an institution. Then, the student’s two years worth of work must be synthesized into a 72×48-inch poster. At the competition, students give a seven to eight-minute one-on-one presentation to a judge, followed by a Q & A session.

At Byram Hills, a student will spend the winter months after submitting to Regeneron preparing for this competition. Mrs. Greenwald, a Science Research teacher, says the competition helps students “learn how to visually and orally present [their] work in a concise and effective way.”

The competition began the day before the presentations took place when all competitors packed up their posters and drove to Sleepy Hollow High School to set up. The next day, students presented their posters five times to different judges from 10 am to 3 pm. After lunch, there was a public viewing session where parents were invited to view the posters. At the end of the day, Byram Hills students boarded the buses and returned to Byram Hills High School to have dinner and a mini awards ceremony.

Sophie Karp, a senior, said she was “not nervous” when presenting to judges, and many parents “were impressed” with her work. Her project was titled FGF 23 induces cardiac hypertrophy independent of ANG II in a chronic kidney disease setting. Sophie spent part of this past summer conducting research at Miami University. She worked in a lab where she grew cell cultures with different hormones.

Senior Samantha Mayers said, at WESEF “I made some new friends and meeting people who did similar things was interesting. I also became familiar with other schools’ science research programs.” Sam won a Behavior Health Award. Her study focused on memory integration. She spent seven weeks at the University of Texas at Austin conducting her study. She also coded her study and taught research assistants how to administer it.

It’s clear a lot of work goes into these projects, so culminating all of it into one poster is a difficult task. However, if you were to ask any individual involved in the Authentic Research Program at BHHS, they would remark that the long day and hard work was all worth it! 34 different awards were awarded to competitors. Overall, WESEF was a successful and informative day for students, judges, and parents. We look forward to seeing what our students have in store for us in the years to come!

Check below to see a few awards our researchers won this year!

  • Excellence in Medical Research: Olivia Tauber
  • The American Meteorological Society Award: Sean Bruskewicz
  • U.S. Air Force Award: Isabelle Chong
  • Placing in their individual categories:
    • Audrey Saltzman: 1st
    • Caroline Silpe: 2nd
    • Elias Stefanopolous: 2nd
    • Stephanie Vega: 2nd  
    • Abby Klein: 3rd
    • Sean Bruskewicz: 3rd
    • Hanna Malter: 3rd
    • David Berglund: 4th
    • Sophie Winston: 4th
    • Sarah Ehrlich: 4th

Catch these scientists presenting their work at the Authentic Science Research Symposium at Byram Hills High School this Spring of 2017!

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