By Rebecca Henely
Astoria teenager Danielle Goldman said she was feeling great after learning last week she was one of three New York City students and the only one from Queens to advance from Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist to finalist.
“It did come as a surprise, because I know that so many people who did become semifinalists really deserved it,” Goldman said.
As a finalist, Goldman will be able to travel to Washington, D.C., in March to meet the 39 other finalists who placed in the prestigious science contest. The finalists will go through a final judging there and compete for a collective $1.25 million in scholarship money. The grand prize is $100,000.
“I feel like it’s going to be even more of an opportunity now that I can meet the other finalists and see what they’re passionate about,” Goldman said.
Taking part in the Intel contest has been a longtime goal for Goldman, who attended Bronx High School of Science due to its reputation for its students getting into the contest. Like all contestants, she has been working on research since her sophomore year.
Goldman worked with Dr. Vilma Gabbay, a research child psychiatrist at the New York University School of Medicine and director of the Anita Saltz Institute for Anxiety, to analyze the role of GABA, a neurotransmitter, in major depressive and generalized anxiety disorders in adolescents. From a sample of 40 of Gabbay’s patients, they found that lower levels of GABA correlated to higher levels of anxiety.
“I hope that I can continue research in college and further beyond that,” Goldman said. “I really want to pursue finding new things that do expand on this topic or other areas of neuroscience that can really better the community.”
Goldman was the only winner from Bronx Science this year. The other two New York City students, Huihui Fan and Mimi Yen, attend Stuyvesant High School. Goldman said she had not met them yet, but had corresponded with them through the Intel finalists’ Facebook group.
“They seemed so nice, so down to earth,” she said.
Goldman said she did not expect to win, as she read articles written about the other semifinalists and found them to be very involved in their projects. She said she wished there could have been more finalists in the contest.
“I am excited for just meeting them and seeing what D.C. has to hold,” she said.
Until then, Goldman has been celebrating her victory. She said her parents took her out to dinner last week and her friends are planning to throw her a party.
“I know now I’ll get to go shopping for everything I need, so I can go break the bank,” she said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.