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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bernstein

Science Scholars Program

Anisha Musti (Junior)

Research: Quantum Teleportation on Novel Qubits

Mentor: Javad Shabani, Assistant Professor of Physics at NYU

Goal: Quantum teleportation has the potential to revolutionize cybersecurity and digital communications by enabling completely secure communication. This phenomenon relies on entanglement, one of the basic concepts of quantum physics, which states that the properties of one particle affect the properties of another, even when the particles are separated by great distance or time. There is no counterpart in classical mechanics for entanglement.

Process: Anisha designed and simulated a coupled two-gatemon system to perform quantum teleportation. The design shows the implementation of teleportation with gatemons is possible and could lead to faster entanglement speeds. This research is one step towards unlocking a brand-new era for secure digital communications.

Biggest Challenge: Understanding the principles behind quantum that weren’t familia, learning to use new softwares and the ambiguity from not knowing how to build the circuit

Awards: 1st place and WESEF Finalist for ISEF

Shivi Jain (Senior)

Mentor: Rand Hidayah, Mechanical Engineering Department at Columbia University

Goal: Help stroke patients regain movement using the C-ALEX, an affordable lightweight cable-driven leg exoskeleton.

Process: Shivi designed a 3-D printed, functional, low-cost, and lightweight strain sensor to be incorporated into the C-ALEX. This would allow the sensor to be fully 3-D printed. To see which design was the most effective, properties in the strain gauge design were varied and their standard deviations were compared. This affordable sensor can be directly integrated into the C-ALEX body. This greatly simplifies the design of the C-ALEX, easing the manufacturing process and increasing accessibility to rehabilitation.

Challenge: Learning how to navigate the 3-D printers and design the whole experiment from scratch, though she received help from her mentor and an undergraduate student also working in the lab to guide me through the engineering design process.

Awards: Today's Students, Tomorrow's Engineers Award and David M. Holmes WESEF Engineering Innovation Award

Jana Shrestha (Junior)

Research: Assessing the impact deer management (hunting) has on the biodiversity of the Mianus River Gorge, a nature preserve.

Mentor: Chris Nagy, Director of Research & Education at The Mianus River Gorge, Inc

Process: Jana and her mentor used past module data, that were collected using camera traps, to see if the population of White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) has an effect on overall biodiversity in the area.​ She also used this data to assess the species evenness and richness, as well as their effect on the biodiversity of the Gorge. To assess the overall biodiversity, Jana compared the data during the deer hunting (October) vs non-hunting month (September).

Goal: To show how a specific species can impact the entry of a single area and its potential to improve our environment as a whole. Finding the impact Jana’s research has on an ecosystem can ​​significantly help us shape our community, its stability, and its process for a better living environment.

Biggest challenge: Jana said that the most challenging part of this was sorting through all the scrupulous data in the comparison of the specific number of species throughout the years.

Award: Teatown Young Environmentalist Award

Nova Wang (Junior)

Research: Studying the role of the gene PRMT1 in blood cancer.

Mentor: Minkui Luo, Professor of Chemical Biology at Memorial Sloan Kettering

Process: Nova is using data analytics and code in a biological context. This is called bioinformatics. His mentor, Prof. Luo, gave him a dataset containing RNA sequencing data from megakaryocytes. They are stem cells that turn into platelets. Mutations can cause them to become cancerous. Nova found a connection between the gene PRMT1 and four other genes that are responsible for blood cancer. PRMT1 may cause increases in cancer-causing genes and block genes that allow the megakaryocyte to progress into a platelet. Now, Nova and his mentor are testing inhibitors for members of the PRMT gene family.

Goal: Nova and his mentor hope to repress it at transcription and create a gene-targeting drug.

Biggest challenge: Getting two programming languages (R and python) to work together. They don't seem to like each other very much.

Award: 4th place

Leah Vinodh (Junior)

Research: Substitution bias when answering insight based questions. Substitution bias is defined as when a person makes a mental shortcut in order to quickly get through problems.

Mentor: Dr. Jordan Wagge, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Avila University

Process: With the help of Dr. Jordan Wagge, Leah distributed a survey with six insight-based questions to students at Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri. The study participants were given ten minutes to answer the questions, and rank their confidence levels after each question. The purpose of the study is to look at the comparison between the correctness of the questions with the confidence level of the participants. They found that the confidence levels of people who got the questions right and wrong were similar, and people had high confidence levels regardless of the correctness of the questions. This study proved that attribution sensitivity is prevalent when answering questions that require further thought.

Goal: To determine if people are aware when they are using substitution bias

Biggest challenge: The most challenging part of this project for Leah, was that it was all done virtually, which made keeping track of data difficult.

The Science Scholars competed in the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair (Regeneron WESEF), which is a regional science fair for Wetchester and Putnam counties.

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