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Two Hen Hud Students Named Top Scholars in Regeneron Science Talent Search

Melanie Porras Photo Credit: Contributed
Jonathan Chung Photo Credit: Contributed

MONTROSE, N.Y. -- Hendrick Hudson High School students Jonathan Chung and Melanie Porras were chosen as Top Scholars (semi-finalists) for this year’s Regeneron Science Talent Search competition, the Hendrick Hudson School District announced.

The Regeneron Science Talent Search is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious math and science competition for high school seniors, according to a release from the district.

Now in its 75th year, the competition is administered by the Society for Science and the Public and is sponsored by Regeneron. This year, 300 Scholars were selected from more than 1,700 applicants worldwide, the release said.

Chung's project was conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Matthias Quick at Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital. The student investigated the influences of probiotics on the Dopamine transporter, which could provide a novel explanation of the effects of probiotics on mental health conditions.

Porras worked at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the laboratory of Dr. K.V. Lakshmi, studying the way chlorophyll captures and transmits light energy, with the future goal of creating artificial photosynthetic systems for more efficient solar energy panels.

The projects submitted for this competition reach levels far beyond the level of high school science, the release said. The following blog entry by Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of the Society for Science and the Public, describes the nature of the competition and its tremendous importance for scientific research:

Each Top Scholar receives $2,000, and each scholar’s school is rewarded $2,000 per student for its Science Research Program, according to the release. From this select pool of scholars, 40 finalists will be invited to Washington, D.C. in March to participate in final judging, display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists and compete for a top award of $250,000.

Hendrick Hudson High School’s Science Research Program is a rigorous program taking place over three years, generating authentic research at the level of graduate studies, the release said.

“I am ecstatic that these two wonderful students were rewarded for their exceptional work in science,” said Dr. Christine Rogers, Hendrick Hudson High School teacher and Science Research Program Director. “It is an honor for these students and our school. I would also like to thank Dr. Matthias Quick and Dr. K.V. Lakshmi for their incredible support of our students.”

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