CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Croton-Harmon senior Chris Traver is one of 40 high school students named finalists in Intel's nationwide Science Talent Search 2013.
Traver, 18, will join the other finalists in Washington, D.C., in March, to compete for the top prize of $100,000. Altogether, more than $630,000 in prizes will be awarded.
Traver's project enlisted "citizen scientists" to investigate noise pollution using smartphones.
He said he became interested in a behavioral science project "at the beginning of my sophomore year reading about applications of smartphones in society."
So he asked 26 students, most of them from Croton-Harmon High School, to record noises around their neighborhood. Traver conducted entrance and exit surveys and interviews – for a total of three years of work. After recording the noises, Traver said, the citizen scientists "were definitely more aware, or had a greater appreciation of, that their neighborhoods were a lot louder than they thought they were."
"As a result of being more aware of it, they became more annoyed with it," he said. "Leaf blowers, lawn mowers, the trains. From my house, personally, I can hear the trains throughout the night," he said of the Croton-Harmon station.
Traver said he was "very surprised" to be named a finalist. "I was not expecting it, but it’s a very, very good feeling to see all my hard work working out."
Westchester County is well-represented in the competition. Daniel McQuaid, a senior at Ossining High School, was named a finalist for his project on "Identification of Post-Translational Regulation Sites on the KLF6 Tumor Suppressor as Novel Targets for Cancer Therapies."
Jiayi Peng, a senior from Horace Greeley High School was selected for a project on "a Cellular Automaton Model for Critical Dynamics in Neuronal Networks."
There are a total of seven New York finalists. Thirty percent of the finalists come from New York and California.
“This year’s Intel Science Talent Search finalists are presenting a wide range of research, from optimizing algae oil for biofuel to developing a new treatment for blood cancer,” said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation.
“It’s exciting for the future of innovation, because the U.S. needs these 40 high school seniors, and others like them, to question, explore and help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.”