Showing their ‘grit’

Despite Hurricane Sandy, five students from the Five Towns are named Intel semifinalists


The unflappability of youth was on display in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, as all five 2013 Intel Science Talent Search semifinalists from Five Towns schools prevailed over storm-related obstacles to complete their projects.

Lawrence High School students Arielle Chapin, Alexandra Tse and Andrew Chen, Jason Kay of Hewlett High School and Avigael Sosnowik, of Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls in Hewlett Harbor, were named Intel semifinalists on Jan. 9. All five are seniors.

Chapin, Tse and Chen handled flooding in their homes and loss of power with composure, according to their project coordinators, Lawrence High science teachers Stephen Sullivan and Rebecca Isseroff. Kay and Sosnowik were also impacted by Sandy-related problems.

Chapin helped her parents clean up after six feet of water flooded the basement of their Atlantic Beach home, then matter-of-factly sat down and wrote the paper for her project, “Do Adolescent Males Have an Advantage in Special Learning?”

“We didn’t have school for two weeks, so I didn’t have any other schoolwork,” Chapin said. “I just helped my parents clean up the mess from Sandy and wrote my Intel paper.”

Tse used her living room floor in North Woodmere to dry out 300 surveys that got soaked in the storm. A few hours later, she entered the data into the statistics program for her project “Grit vs. IQ: Assessing the Relative Impacts of Effort & Intelligence in Academic Success Among ‘Tweens.’”

Chen, like many Five Towns residents, was without power, heat, phone and Internet service for nearly two weeks. He made his way from his North Woodmere home to his mother’s workplace in Queens to recharge his laptop battery when needed. His work, “Incorporation of Graphene into Organic Polymer Solar Cells via Chemical Functionalization with Metal Nanoparticles,” is an extension of 2010 Lawrence Intel finalist Paul Das Masih’s work.

“It is very, very exciting,” Isseroff said of Lawrence’s three semifinalists. “It shows what happens when a student puts in the time, effort and academic muscle.”

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