"The team designed an elegant study – conducted completely in a high school lab – to understand how plants defend themselves against environmental stresses such as air pollution. This work addresses a fundamental environmental problem and its potential effect on our future food supply," said Dr. Brooke McCartney, associate professor, Department of Biological Science, Carnegie Mellon University. "These students exhibited remarkable creativity, persistence and critical thinking ability that represents the best of what science education can inspire."Priyanka's parents' work as a cell biologist and a gastroenterologist sparked her interest in science, as well as her aspiration to become an emergency room physician. She is a recipient of the George Eastman Young Leaders Award and Chair of the Cabaret Night Business Committee. Zainab is a member of the National Honor Society, a Euro Challenge Semifinalist, recipient of the United States Army Award, and the second-place winner of the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair. In her free time, she volunteers at the Franklin Early Childhood Center and plays Varsity Lacrosse. Zainab plans to pursue a career in engineering. JiaWen has a longstanding interest in biomedical sciences and aspires to become a physician. Captain of her school's fencing team, she is also a member of the National Honor Society, Foreign Language Honor Society, chorus, and orchestra. The team's mentor is Dr. Terrence Bissoondial, a biological research teacher at George W. Hewlett High School. A 2010 Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) fellow, Terrence coached the 2012 Siemens Competition National Finals winning team, also from George W. Hewlett High School. Regional FinalistsThe remaining regional finalists each received a $1,000 scholarship. Regional Finalists in the individual category were:
- Surin Ahn, Mamaroneck High School, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
- Alexandra Lagrassa, The Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, N.Y.
- Michael Lim, Stuyvesant High School, New York, N.Y.
- Saranya Vijayakumar, Riverdale Country School, Bronx, N.Y.
- Sahil Abbi, Herricks High School, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Connor Abbott, Hopkins School, New Haven, Conn.; Arjun Kapoor, The Wheatley School, Old Westbury, N.Y.
- Kelly Chen, Stuyvesant High School, New York, N.Y.; Impreet Singh, Francis Lewis High School, Fresh Meadows, N.Y.
- Michael Green, George W. Hewlett High School, Hewlett, N.Y.; Ayman Halder, George W. Hewlett High School, Hewlett, N.Y.; Stephen Ng, George W. Hewlett High School, Hewlett, N.Y.
- Margarita Ren, Hunter College High School, New York, N.Y.; Yinge Zhao, The Dalton School, New York, N.Y.