Kennedy’s ASR Students Find Success


Kennedy's Regeneron scholars- Jonathan Mashal, Whitney Sussman, and Jake Levine.

Recently, the science department excitedly celebrated three semifinalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) competition: Jake Levine, Jonathan Mashal, and Whitney Sussman. The three seniors have worked extremely hard in our school’s Advanced Science Research (ASR) program and have gone through three rigorous years of preparation in hopes to place in the competition. This a major feat accomplished by these students.

ASR is a program in our school that teaches students from 10th to 12th grade how to complete an independent research project, write a graduate-level paper on their topic, and, eventually, enter into the Regeneron STS competition. ASR students also participate in other competitions, including the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, Long Island Science Congress, and more. To complete this program requires considerable dedication and patience.

The Regeneron STS competition is a major competition that ASR seniors, all of whom have completed their papers and projects to the best possible quality, enter. It is an extremely demanding competition, as few make it into the level of semifinalists. Over 1,500 students apply each year for the competition, and only 300 slots are available for the title of semifinalists. Those that do move on to being a semifinalist receive not only a chance to make it on to the next round as a finalist but also receive a respectable reward of $2,000 to both the applicant and their school represented.

Each of our semifinalists researched a different topic: Jake Levine researched malnutrition and dietary-associated issues such as obesity and celiac disease and proposed a new approach to evaluating gastrointestinal function in D. melanogaster. Jonathan Mashal’s project was about trying to uncover alternative habitats for bay scallops in the Atlantic Basin. Lastly, Whitney Sussman’s project involved regulators of glucose in the small intestine, consisting of transporters and clock genes. Undoubtedly their projects are not only fascinating but of a revered level of difficulty, paralleled to mastery in each of their particular fields.

As a peer of these three students, both in ASR and regular academics, I am extremely happy for and proud of their accomplishment. Congratulations to our three semifinalists!