CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- Two Hendrick Hudson High School Science Research students, Isabella Brizzi and Jane Milcetic, competed at the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair, or WESEF, at Sleepy Hollow High School on Saturday, March 12.
WESEF is the regional version of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and is the largest event of its kind, with over 500 students from across Westchester and Putnam Counties presenting their three-year science research projects.
Isabella Brizzi won two awards for her work on chemical dispersants: the American Meteorological Society Award and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize Regional Award. Brizzi studied the best conditions to remove oil from oil spills in oceanic water, using a chemical dispersant. She worked under the direction of Dr. Zhong Pan at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Jane Milcetic placed third in the Animal Science category for her project: “The Preference of Female Zebra Finches for Zebra Finch Males Based on Song and Proximity.” Her project was conducted under the mentorship of Erich Javis, at Duke University, in his world-renowned laboratory studying bird song. In zebra finches, bird song is extensively studied as it reflects some very specific mechanisms of learning and can be associated with regions of the brain.
Milcetic chose to study the behavior of the female to see if only the song was critical to her response, or if the physical proximity was also an important factor. She found that females are very individualized in their choice of males based on various individual factors such as song and physical proximity.
"The science research program allows students to work with scientists, and design and implement research projects over the course of three years, said Dr. Christine Rogers, Science Research Program Director. “The quality of all the projects at WESEF is akin to graduate work, and just participating in the competition is an accomplishment; winning an award is even more impressive." During the fair, the students presented their research to scientists, business leaders and the general public through posters detailing the specifics of their projects.
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