Ward Melville’s Regeneron Scholars

Ward Melville’s Regeneron Scholars photo
Ward Melville High School seniors Kelsey Ge, Maya Pena-Lobel, Megan Specht and Elizabeth Wang have been named Scholars in the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search, a program of the Society for Science and the Public. 

This honor was bestowed upon the students based on their comprehensive science research projects. As Scholars, each student was awarded a $2,000 prize, and an equal dollar amount is donated to their home school to be applied to education in science, engineering and math. 

Of the 300 Scholars, 40 will advance as finalists and be invited to Washington, D.C., in March to participate in the final judging, display their work to the public, meet notable scientists and compete for awards, including the top prize of $250,000. 

Below is a short overview of each of the student’s projects.  

Kelsey Ge – Multidecadal Trends in Tropical Cyclone Behavior within North Atlantic Sub-Basins
Statistical tests reveal that tropical cyclone intensification has grown more severe over the past 30 years, likely attributed to increase in sea surface temperature and other environmental factors throughout the tropical North Atlantic Ocean. 

Maya Peña-Lobel – Changes in Gene Expression of Ion Regulatory Proteins in Developing Atlantic Silverside (Menidia menidia) Subjected to Ocean Acidification Conditions
Carbon emissions have increased acidity and temperature of the earth’s oceans. How do such changes influence marine life? I showed that acidity and temperature modify the way genes control protein production in developing fish. Climate change affects fish on molecular level. 

Megan Specht – Effect of Micronutrient Consumption in Association with p53 status on Colon Cancer Progression: A Prospective Study in Racial Health Disparity.
The micronutrients in the food we consume can be used to treat numerous illnesses – not just prevent them. The vitamins assessed inhibited colon cancer, but yielded varying results by race, supporting the idea that biological difference between races may be present. 

Elizabeth Wang – A Novel Effect of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Microglial Activation in the Presence of Epileptic Activity
A novel relationship was discovered between cannabidiol, microglial activation and epilepsy to guide the development of new epilepsy treatments. Cannabidiol was found to have anti-inflammatory and proinflammatory effects on microglial cells associated with epileptic brain activity.