New York High School Students Make Impressive Showing in National Epidemiology Competition


WASHINGTON -- Nine high school students from New

York state will compete for college scholarships of up to $50,000 each this

month in the first-ever Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Competition

sponsored by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered by the

College Board.

The local teens are among 60 high school juniors and seniors from across

the nation who will compete in Washington, D.C., April 16-19, 2004. New York state

has more students represented than any other state. Nearly 600 high school

juniors and seniors entered the contest nationwide.

A total of up to $456,000 in scholarships will be awarded through the

competition, which is designed to spur students' interest in epidemiology --

the scientific method used to investigate, analyze, and prevent or control a

health problem in a population.

"In a world facing threats that include obesity, SARS, HIV/AIDS, and heart

disease, we are looking for the next generation of epidemiologists to tackle

these and other pressing public health problems," said J. Michael McGinnis,

M.D., of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "This competition features some

of the most generous scholarship awards in the nation, because it's vital to

the health of our nation that we attract the best and brightest students to

the field."

The regional finalists receiving an all-expense paid trip to the nation's

capital for the regional and national competitions are:

-- Amanda Anjum, Francis Lewis High School, Flushing

-- Shiao-Ke Chin-Lee, Stuyvesant High School, New York

-- Bevin Cohen, Oceanside High School, Oceanside

-- Yun-En Liu, Williamsville East High School, East Amherst

-- Nicholas Marmor, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington

-- Brooke Maurer, Manhasset High School, Manhasset

-- Rachel Meislin, Solomon Schechter High School of New York, New York

-- Kelly Moltzen, Monroe-Woodbury Senior High School, Central Valley

-- Anna-Katrina Shedletsky, Brewster High School, Brewster

To compete in the YES program, students develop a research report in which

they state a question about a health issue that concerns a group or groups of

people. Then, they gather or find and analyze data related to the question,

present results that answer the question, and suggest potential ways to

improve the problem based on their analysis of the data. The students

advancing to the finals in Washington will be judged on the basis of their

written summaries of their research projects, oral presentations, and

question-and-answer sessions.


In addition to the nine regional finalists from New York, 19 students from

across the state were selected as semifinalists. Each received $1,000. New

York semifinalists are:

-- Ari Allen, Oyster Bay High School, Oyster Bay

-- Katherine Chiang, John L. Miller Great Neck North High School, Great


-- Alanna Costelloe-Kuehn, Columbia High School, East Greenbush

-- Kaitlin Eng, The Bronx High School of Science, Bronx

-- David Farber, Bethlehem Central High School, Delmar

-- Ruchita Gandhi, Eastchester High School, Eastchester

-- Christina Guhl, White Plains High School, White Plains

-- Richard Hardy, Suffern High School, Suffern

-- Anita Kulangara, John Jay High School, Katonah

-- Eugenia Lee, Stuyvesant High School, New York

-- Karen Leung, Stuyvesant High School, New York

-- Patricia Ng, Hauppauge High School, Hauppauge

-- Brendan O'Connell, Chatham High School, Chatham

-- Precious Nina Salas, Valley Stream South High School, Valley Stream

-- Isaac Solaimanzadeh, HALB-Davis Renov Stahler High School for Boys,


-- Madeleine Stokes, The Ursuline School, New Rochelle

-- Kent Wang, Stuyvesant High School, New York

-- Xia Zhang, Stuyvesant High School, New York

In total, 28 students from New York were among the 123 competitors from

26 states and the District of Columbia who are receiving scholarship awards.

While the competition focuses on epidemiology, YES seeks to develop skills

that go beyond just that area of study. "The problem-solving involved in

epidemiological research helps to develop critical skills -- framing the right

question, collecting relevant data, and analyzing findings -- that can be

applied in a number of disciplines," said Gaston Caperton, president of the

College Board. "We are proud to be part of this important initiative."

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation's largest philanthropic

organization devoted exclusively to improving health and health care for all

Americans. The Foundation invests in initiatives that create meaningful and

timely change and help people lead healthier lives.

The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission

is to connect students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900,

the association is composed of more than 4,500 schools, colleges,

universities, and other educational organizations. Each year, the College

Board serves over three million students and their parents, 23,000 high

schools, and 3,500 colleges through major programs and services in college

admissions, guidance, assessment, financial aid, enrollment, and teaching and


Source: The College Board

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