Ward Melville High School seniors Jessica Ju and Eric Edward Wang have been named semifinalists in the 2015 Intel Science Talent Search, the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition. Only 300 students nationwide received this honor.
For her project, “Using Python to Apply Phonological Rules for the Transcription of Korean,” Jessica worked under the leadership of mentor Dr. Jiwon Yun in the Department of Linguistics at Stony Brook University. She developed computer software to accurately translate Korean symbols into textual language. This approach can be used with other languages as well, providing universal translators.
Eric’s project, “A Novel Approach to Water Desalination: Reverse Osmosis by Fabrication of Graphene Oxide Membranes” was completed under the guidance of mentor Dr. Hongyang Ma in the Department of Chemistry at Stony Brook University. Eric devised a graphene nanofilter to purify sea water for drinking. The project was inspired by Eric’s concern for the future availability of fresh drinking water on Long Island.
As semifinalists, the students will each receive $1,000 from Intel with an additional $1,000 going to Ward Melville to continue to provide the opportunities and resources students need to become America’s next inventors and change-makers.
“It is gratifying these intelligent, motivated researchers have been recognized for their work at such an early stage in their careers,” said Dr. George Baldo, the district’s InSTAR science research director. “Their achievements will not only encourage them to continue in scientific research, but also inspire other students. The students’ mentors deserve special recognition for accepting them into the laboratory and guiding them in their work.”
Later this month, Jessica and Eric will find out if they are named one of 40 finalists who will be invited to Washington, D.C., in March to participate in the final judging, display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists and compete for three top awards of $150,000 each.
“It is always rewarding to see students work hard and be recognized for their achievements,” said Principal Dr. Alan Baum. “ Being an Intel Semifinalist is certainly an incredible accomplishment for these two young scholars. Kudos to them and to their teachers and mentors for helping them reach this level of achievement. I wish them both luck as they continue on in the competition.”