The New Rochelle High School Science Research Program capped its streak of successes with a strong showing in the international GENIUS Olympiad recently, winning nine honors, including three gold medals.
Every one of the nine NRHS students in the contest hosted by SUNY Oswego returned home with a medal or honorable mention.
“The students were ecstatic,” said program advisor Jeff Wuebber. “This was a great way to cap a great year.”
The GENIUS (Global ENvironmental Issues and US) Olympiad addresses environmental issues through several disciplines – science, arts, creative writing, engineering, design and business development. It brought together more than 1,400 students from 75 countries and 39 states.
The New Rochelle students, all juniors, and their results were:
• Jonny Ecker: Gold Medal
• Jake Egelberg: Gold Medal
• Maura Kelly-Yuoh: Gold Medal
• Jade Rosado: Silver Medal
• Griffin Bates: Bronze Medal
• Josh Berenbaum: Bronze Medal
• Aaron Cohen: Honorable Mention
• Javier Hernandez: Honorable Mention
• Jack Schlamkowitz Honorable Mention
Students had to apply to enter. New Rochelle students presented research they conducted last summer that required persuading local scientists to welcome them into their laboratories and work alongside them.
Wuebber said their dedication has brought more than accolades for the students.
“Through their hard work, they have not only gone on to achieve great things for themselves, they have elevated the program,” he said. “It is now a top program not just in Westchester County, but in the world, able to compete on the international stage, and win.”
Students said the many hours they spent honing their presentations gave an edge in the contest.
“Throughout this past school year Mr. Wuebber, assigned us more than a hundred and fifty practice presentations,” said gold medal winner Jake Egelberg. “It feels great knowing that all of this hard work paid off, and that thanks to Mr. Wuebber, New Rochelle High School Science Research is competitive at an international level.”
The program has seen a surge in popularity. With 37 sophomores, juniors and seniors enrolled this year, Wuebber is preparing to welcome 38 sophomores and 60 freshman next fall.
Even before the GENIUS Olympiad, Science Research Program students had won more than 30 awards this year in local, regional and national competitions. The GENIUS Olympiad introduced them to fellow student scientists not only from the region and state, but from six continents.
“It was definitely eye-opening,” said NRHS student Maura Kelly-Yuoh, who won her gold medal for research on gestational diabetes. She enjoyed the opportunity to present her research and to get to know fellow student scientists from places such as Kyrgyzstan, Australia and South Africa. “I met all these new people and I was able to see how their projects came across and how they did their research,” she said. “It had a real impact on my way of thinking.”
Wuebber thanked Interim Principal Joseph Starvaggi and the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence for providing funds to transport the team to and from Oswego for the competition.
This was the program’s first time entering the competition, and Wuebber said he and the students had no idea what to expect.
“I can’t say the wins were a surprise, seeing how great these students are,” he said. “But it was cool.”