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Science Students Lauded at Research Symposium

Scientific knowledge was on the menu in the Massapequa High School cafeteria on May 22, as board of education trustees, administrators, teachers, students and parents gathered for the annual Science Research Symposium.

The evening event began in the auditorium where select high school students talked about their research topics and findings. Then it was off to the cafeteria, where students from the high school, Ames Campus and Berner Middle School science research classes displayed their posterboard presentations.

This year’s symposium featured 52 unique research projects and represented the hard work of more than 100 students, as they could work either independently or in a team. Research topics spanned numerous scientific fields and concepts, and reflected personal areas of interest for the students.

“The symposium is an opportunity for the community to come together and marvel at the work that our students are doing, under the guidance of their talented science research teachers,” said Daniel Mezzafonte, the 6-12 supervisor of science.

Mr. Mezzafonte noted that for many students, particularly those in the upper-level research classes at the high school, their projects represented several years of work. He commended them on their confidence and poise as they discussed their projects with guests at the symposium.

“They have such a command of very technical information,” he said. 

Several of the projects also reflected the district’s partnerships with scientific agencies, including Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Many scientists from those labs served as expert mentors for Massapequa students.

Students completed their research under the guidance of science research teachers Dr. Paul Hesleitner at the high school, August Eberling at Ames and Karen Calabrese at Berner.

Senior Krish Patel, a five-year member of the science research program, had high praise for his teachers, whose guidance helped him narrow broader areas of interest to specific research topics. Over the years, he worked on projects in the areas of biology, chemistry and psychology.

“I liked completing a variety of science experiments,” he said of his involvement in the research program. “I love science, so this opportunity to explore all different fields was important to me.”