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Nobel Prize Sure Would Look Good On College Applications – QNS.com

Nobel Prize Sure Would Look Good On College Applications

By Michèle De Meglio

Future Nobel Prize laureates may be living right here in Brooklyn. Several local high school juniors were just declared finalists in the Nobel Prize Essay Contest. “I was really surprised because I didn’t think I could do it. I’ve never actually won anything that big,” said Midwood High School student Elina Melamed, 17. “It’s a wonderful thing that happened to me. My family is really happy. My dad is really, really excited. He’s showing everybody my paper and saying that I won but I haven’t won yet,” gushed Warleny Colon, a student at Franklin K. Lane High School. Melamed and Colon are two of 27 finalists citywide competing for the grand prize offered to three winners who will be announced in June – a free trip to Stockholm, Sweden for the Nobel Prize ceremony and celebratory festivities in December. “The ceremony would be a good experience – a life-changing ceremony. If I win, that would be very nice,” said Kirsten Mimberg, a student at Midwood High School. “That would be awesome. I’m really excited,” agreed Michael Vishnevetsky, also a student at Midwood. “I’ve been to Europe several times. I went with my mother to Italy for two weeks and before that I went to Spain. The year before that I went to Paris, Amsterdam and London. I enjoy traveling so it would be great.” Open to juniors enrolled at public, private and parochial schools, the contest – which is administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, the city Department of Education and the City University of New York in collaboration with the Consulate General of Sweden in New York and www.nobelprize.org, the official website of the Nobel Foundation – required students to write an essay about a Nobel laureate who made accomplishments in the fields of physics, chemistry or physiology and medicine. To select the three winners, all of the finalists will have to undergo interviews and present their papers to a panel of scientific luminaries and journalists. “I’m nervous. I would like very much to go to Stockholm,” said 16-year-old Regina Pynn. A student at Bishop Kearney High School, Pynn selected Marie Curie, who discovered radium, as her essay subject. “I picked her because she was one of the first prominent female scientists of the 20th century. She was the first individual to win two Nobel Prizes. I thought she was a well-rounded person to do my project on,” the Windsor Terrace resident explained. For her essay, Mimberg, 16, detailed the research of Kary Mullis and his discovery of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which is way of replicating specific components of DNA. “I do research at a lab in NYU,” explained Mimberg, who resides in Midwood and hopes to become an ophthalmologist. “I perform PCR at my lab all the time…I worked hard on the paper.” Colon, 17, “wrote about the replications of HIV viruses and other viruses.” “I’m very interested in science. We were in my AP class and our teacher was talking about the replications of viruses and I got interested in it,” the Cypress Hills resident said. Coney Island resident Vishnevetsky, who wants to become a doctor, wrote about the work of Günter Blobel. “He discovered the process of how proteins are synthesized within a cell and how they get to their cellular locations,” the 16-year-old said. “He found that proteins have proteins attached to them, which are called signal peptides…It’s very big for the diagnosis of diseases and to basically discover how diseases work.” For her paper, Coney Island resident Melamed wrote about Dennis Gabor and his invention of “the concept of holography, which is a [still] image in three dimensions…Instead of taking pictures in two dimensions, you can see around.” Although she is excited about the opportunity to visit Sweden, Colon is just grateful she made it to the final stages of the contest. “I’m happy,” she said. “I want to get into a good college so I think this will be a good thing for college applications.” Like Mimberg, Colon wants to become a doctor. “Since I was little, I always wanted to be a doctor,” she said. “I want to be a dermatologist. I just like helping people.” With plans to become an engineer, Pynn said the essay contest was the perfect venue for her to showcase her talents. “I’m very interested in science but I’m also very much into creative writing and essay writing,” she said. “When I found something that combined two of my great passions it was fabulous for me.”

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