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Ossining Students Top in Intel Science Prizes

Ossining High School students won more than $100,000 in science research prizes this year, with eight students winning Intel Science Talent Search awards and six students placing in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

"It was a banner year," said Valerie Holmes, a science teacher who co-directed the school's science research program, along with science teacher Angelo Piccirillo. "I don't know what the recipe for success was. I think it was just a great combination of kids who were willing to work hard."

The eight semi-finalists in the Intel STS program were seniors Madeline Nocero, Hannah Kamen, Jessie Brill, Charlotte Kleiman, Alex Cana, Hayley Zullow, Sarah Hardtke and Apryl Jimenez.

Sarah Hardtke won a $35,000 prize in April for placing second nationally in the Young Epidemiology Scholars competition. Her research focused on factors that contribute to adolescent depression.

In the Intel ISEF competition, students Kyle Bardwell, Katie Mangialardi, Asa Jordan, Jenna Berhrendt, Catie Conte and Evan Olin won an all-expenses-paid trip to the annual Intel ISEF fair, which was held in May in Los Angeles.

Bardwell earned a $3,000 first place award in the Animal Science category, while Olin and Conte together won $1,500 for placing second in Behavioral Science. Mangialardi won $1,000 for placing third in Behavioral Science.

Bardwell's research focused on the effect of urbanization on eastern screech owls in New York City suburbs. His classmates, Olin and Conte, researched the effects on muscles of transitioning from running wearing shoes to running barefoot. Mangialardi's research focused on social and consequential factors that affect moral decision making.

Ossining High School tied with the Bronx High School of Science in having the most Intel STS awards of any school in the country.

"The fact that we're not a science school, we're a regular school with a science program, and we were recognized at the level of Bronx Science which is a theme school makes us feel very good," Piccirillo said.

Piccirillo credited students' ambitiousness, science mentors and science institutions' generosity for enabling successful science projects.

"We find that what researchers get out of working with students is not only the educational satisfaction of helping someone out at this age, but also a lot of times what kids produce is actually worthy of publication," he said.

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