Hewlett High School seniors are Regeneron scholars


Hewlett High School seniors Justin Ng and Winnie Xu are two of the 46 Long Island students who were named scholars in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search on Jan. 9.

Sponsored by the Society for Science & the Public, which founded the competition in 1942, the contest was formerly sponsored by Intel, and before that, Westinghouse Corp.

Ng’s project — A Haloacid Dehalogenase-Like Hydrolase Regulates Cell Elongation in Prothallial Cells from Gametophytes of Ceratopderis ricjardii During Cold Stress — focuses on the gene AT2G41250 and how it could help the plant Arabidopsis tolerate the cold and increase its resistance to abnormal climate conditions.

Hewlett High science research teacher Dr. Terrence Bissoondial said that Ng’s work “reflects the nature of research” conducted at the school.

“Students focus on current issues and develop innovative solutions using available resources,” Bissoondial said. “Their research can compete with studies performed at elite research institutes/universities. In short, I am very proud of the research Justin has performed in my research class. He has spent many years to bring this project to fruition.”

The Paradox of Vulnerability: An Examination of Vulnerability Expression on Adolescent Stress and Self-Esteem was Xu’s project that showed that if teenagers exhibited more vulnerability their stress levels would actually decline and their self-esteem should increase.

“I have learned so much from this experience and my research has truly changed my perspective on adolescent expression of vulnerability,” Xu said, adding she appreciated working with her mentor, Dr. Patricia Nardi.

“I genuinely value the knowledge that I have gained from this paper and am so excited to continue my journey in research throughout college.”

The students each receive a $2,000 prize, and their schools get $2,000 for each of their recognized scholars.

"The findings in [Xu's] study provide meaningful insight for adolescents, parents and educators," Nardi said. "The support of the Hewlett-Woodmere community has enabled students to become social scientists who contribute to our understanding of the world today.”