While most teenagers are studying to get their driver’s license or gearing up for the prom, one Queens teen is focused on making a big scientific discovery.
Astoria native Danielle Goldman was one of 40 finalists selected to participate in the Intel Science Talent Search — a contest for high school students focusing in physical, natural, social or mathematical sciences. This year’s competition will be held during the second week in March in Washington, D.C.
A senior at Bronx High School of Science, Goldman’s project focused on GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a role in depression in adolescents. She conducted her research at New York University’s Child Study Center under the supervision of Dr. Vilma Gabbay. Each contestant must work with a professional and a research teacher, as well as submit documentation of their research, SAT scores and GPA to Intel.
Goldman said she has always had an interest in psychiatry. When she was in third grade, she conducted an experiment comparing the memories of men and women. Using her neighbors as subjects, she paired couples for a series of tests.
“It’s a joke around my house that anyone involved in the project ended up getting married,” laughed Goldman, who explained that at least three couples who participated in the project wound up hitched.
“My parents say they are proud of me,” said Goldman. “They knew I had great things coming in my future and they’re excited that I’m starting so young.”
Goldman said she was really surprised when she got the call telling her she was a finalist.
“I’m excited to meet the other finalists,” she said. “This is a great way to share our passions.”
When she steps out of the laboratory, Goldman enjoys spending time in the kitchen, baking.
“It’s kind of like a science,” she laughed. “You have to make sure everything is measured correctly.”
Goldman was accepted to Columbia University, where she plans to study neuroscience to eventually become a pediatric psychiatrist.