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No Queens science winners this year

Four of Queens’ brightest students finished just short of perfection at the regional finals of the Siemens High School Competition in Math, Science and Technology.
Three of the four students, Shabitri Dasgupta, James Leung and Rebecca Long attend Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows. The fourth, Tiffany Yau, goes to Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. Together, they are the only four New York City students to reach the regional finals, held last week at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.
Currently in its ninth year, the Siemens competition awards the top winner a $100,000 scholarship. As runners-up, Dasgupta, Leung, Long and Yau all received $3,000 scholarships each, while their respective schools receive $2,000 grants for each submitted project.
Francis Lewis High School Principal Jeffrey Scherr said he is proud of his students, and felt their advancements indicated the strength of his school’s science curricula.
“I think their success is a great testimony to the entire instructional program at Francis Lewis High School,” Scherr said.
“Our science program provides an accelerated climate where our students can benefit from extra opportunities other high school students do not have when it comes to the natural sciences,” he said.
In addition to rigorous biology, chemistry and physics courses, Francis Lewis also provides a research component to each course, giving students the opportunity to study the sciences for an extra period everyday.
A fifth student from Queens, Daniel Stemp of Jamaica Estates, took part in the California team regional finals, because his partner goes to school in California.
Annually awarding millions of dollars in scholarships, the Siemens competition boasted a record number of participants this year, with 1,641 students across America vying for the top spot. Dasgupta, Leung, Long and Yau are four of only 95 students in the country to advance to the regional finals.
Valerie Francois, the Senior Program and Educational Outreach Manager at Siemens, expressed happiness and confidence in science students in the United States after learning of the large number of contest entries submitted.
Long, a 17-year-old senior at Francis Lewis, is a resident of Fresh Meadows and was the only individual participant to advance from her school. Her project used ESR dating to evaluate ancient mammal teeth in determining how once moist marshes and riverbeds in Egypt became dry and uninhabitable.
The regional finalist team from Queens consisted of Dasgupta, a 16-year-old junior from Woodside, Leung, a 17-year-old senior from Fresh Meadows and Yau, a 16-year-old junior from Bayside. Together, they used ESR technologies to date horse teeth and better understand Neanderthal migration patterns in Europe.
Whereas Dasgupta and Leung hope to become physicians, Long wants to become a history professor and Yau is pursuing a career in dentistry.
Scherr and Francois both agreed that students like Dasgupta, Leung, Long and Yau give both parents and teachers hope that schools like Francis Lewis and Stuyvesant are doing the community a service by fostering great scientific environments for young minds.
“To have three of our students in the regional finals, hopefully shows how much our school tries to prepare today’s kids to be tomorrow’s leaders,” Scherr said.
“They’re right on track with helping the next generation of science engineers,” Francois said of the students’ respective schools. “It proves we’re on the right track in this country, in terms of scientific innovation and quality research.”
The winners of the six individual and team regional finals will meet at New York University from November 30 through December 3, when a panel of nationally renowned scientists and mathematicians will pick the national winners.

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