Senior researchers move on to Intel ISEF and JSHS


Senior Hannah Blumberg points to her name at the Intel ISEF competition entrance.

Minah Kim, Senior News Editor

This year, two research students represented Schreiber at national and international science competitions. Senior Hannah Blumberg, who participates in the math research program, competed at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), and senior Jack Sempliner, who is a student in the social science research program, competed at the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force sponsored 50th National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium. After presenting at regional competitions, Blumberg and Sempliner moved on to national and international competitions where they had the opportunity to share their research with peers and judges who are active in research and hold M.D.s or Ph.Ds.


Intel ISEF

After placing within the top ten at the New York State Science and Engineering the Fair (NYSSEF), Blumberg moved on to Intel ISEF, the largest international high school science competition. There, over 1,600 qualifying students from around the world presented their research to judges and the public.

During the second week of May, Blumberg, along with her research teacher, Ms. Tina Gallagher, and the eleven other qualified students from New York, traveled to Pittsburgh for Intel ISEF. During the weeklong competition, Blumberg presented her project to eight Grand Awards Judges and a number of Special Awards Judges. Once the symposium opened to the public, she also discussed her research with teachers and other students.

“ISEF was an indescribably amazing experience,” said Blumberg. “Everyone is so excited to be a part of this competition, and the enthusiasm is contagious. Being there made me wish I weren’t a senior; I want the opportunity to go back and do it all again.”

Blumberg brought home a fourth place award in computer science and received a special award from the Association for Computing Machinery for her project, entitled, “Modeling the Adaptive Venation Network of Physarum polycephalum.” This project, for which she developed a computer program to provide a realistic simulation of slime mold’s behavior, won her other prestigious awards including the title of semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search.

“ISEF was an incredible experience for Hannah and me,” said Ms. Gallagher. “It was a new level of competition for which Hannah worked hard the week we were away and managed to excel and bring home awards from an international competition.”



Sempliner and one other winner from Long Island had the opportunity to attend the National JSHS after qualifying at the Long Island regional JSHS held at Stony Brook University.

After presenting his original research and winning the $1,500 second place prize at the regional JSHS, Sempliner moved on to the national symposium in Bethesda, Maryland, where 240 qualified high school students shared their research and competed for U.S. military-sponsored scholarships.

During the five-day symposium, participants could meet and talk to peers during various planned seminars and showcases.

In Bethesda, Sempliner gave a 12-minute presentation of his research, an investigation of a class of one-dimensional mathematical objects called knots. He did his research on Khovanov Homology, a complex mathematical construction, during the summer before his senior year.

Although he did not place, he won scholarship money.

“It was a wonderful experience and was incredibly enriching, nowhere else outside of a major university have I been able to talk about research on the frontier of cell biology with one person and then turn around and talk to another about general relativity and quantum computing with another,” said Sempliner. “I highly recommend it.”