Kennedy High School junior earns Highest Honors at New York State Science Congress


Kennedy High School junior Rebecca Jellinek, 16, of Bellmore, recently took Highest Honors at the New York State Science Congress, earning first place in the Biological and Behavioral Science Division at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Suffolk County. Additionally, a special Marie Curie Award was created for Jellinek recognizing her outstanding research, said Barbi Frank, an Authentic Science Research Program adviser at Kennedy.

Jellinek studied the effect that girls’ doll choices have on their diets, surveying 104 children about their food preferences after they played with one of two dolls –– Barbie or Traci Turnblad, the “full-figured” leading character in the movie musical “Hairspray.” It turns out that girls made healthier food choices after playing with Barbie because, Jellinek surmised, the Barbie lowered their sense of “body esteem,” essentially guilting them into eating more nutritious foods.