Learn more about the 11 Hewlett High students who took part in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at York College


Hewlett High School students continue to be well represented at competitions as 11 students have been selected as Regional Semifinalists in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

Students in the Hewlett Science Research program, which encompasses a social science program, conducted independent research at the level of competitions such as the JSHS, which recognizes excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as the humanities.

Arielle Golbin, Ariel Villensky, David Abelev, Dylan Butler, Emily Smukler, Naomi Golbin, Sidrah Ashrafi, and Stella Fratti will represent the science research program. Ryan Hung, Sahara Ahmad and Simon Kupchik will represent the social science program.

Fratti, a senior, conducted her research on Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, a cancer that causes too many B-cells, a type of white blood cell that grows abnormally.
A member of Five Towns-based Girl Scout Troop 737, Fratti was always interested in science research but didn’t know if it was something she wanted to go into.

“It gave me a lot more independence,” she said. “I definitely want to go into research and this was my first time really experiencing this. It opened my eyes.”

Students such as Fratti, Ashrafi and Abelev conducted their research at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research facility in Manhasset, Butler at Adelphi University and Vilensky at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in the Bronx.

Under the guidance of Hewlett’s science research coordinator Terrence Bissoondial, advised and helped with how to develop their research papers.

With the rise in artificial intelligence, Kupchik, the son of Rabbi Claudio Kupchik of Temple Beth El of Cedarhurst, researched the computer science system. His project titled

“An examination of perspectives on AI and its impact on academic motivation” which took a look at different forms of AI chatbots and how the usage and the propensity to use them impacted the academic motivation of students, especially in high school, he said.

“Because of how really contemporary the subject of AI is, I looked at just my friends around me, on the internet that is crawling with AI,” he said. “AI is everywhere and I was just curious about how that was truly going to impact the minds and mentality of the students around me.”

In the social science program, students were under the guidance of social science coordinator Joseph Van Wie.
Last school year, six Hewlett High students were selected as semifinalists, growing its number to double digits this year as the school continues to be acknowledged year after year.

“I truly value the dedication and support from our school administrators who have created a culture of emphasis on research and the school,” Van Wie said. “It shows how much the school values the STEM field and year after year.”

Under the leadership of Bissoondial, Smukler, a junior, said the science coordinator has become an incredible influence on her throughout the research paper process and settling her in the program.

“When I first joined the science program, I had a very superficial understanding of what science research really is,” she said. “But when Dr. Bissoondial got me in, it allowed me to have a more personal and applicable experience with science research.”

“I’m glad that they feel that way because sometimes I can be quite an ogre,” Bissoondial chuckled. “My goal is to always prepare them because there is no better feeling when your work gets recognized.”

Before the Nassau Herald went to press, both groups joined other high school students to report on their research investigations in STEM on Feb. 11 at York College, presenting their projects to judges who specialize in their fields in an open forum.

Nerves, excitement and anticipation for the symposium were on the minds of the Hewlett students ahead of last Sunday, but practice makes perfect, Ahmad said.
“Just a lot of practice I am doing,” she said.