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Mineola School District BOE Commends Intel Semi-Finalist

MHS Student Honored at Board Meeting

Mineola High School senior Bethanne Bartscherer was recently named an Intel Semi-Finalist, a first in the Mineola School District. The board of education and high school principal Ed Escobar commended Bartscherer at the Jan. 20 meeting at the Willis Avenue School.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler joked that he had no idea what her project was about and needed an abstract in English just to get the basic concept. He stated that it has been the district’s goal to produce an Intel semi-finalist for three years.

With the science research program only fully established in the last three years, it is extraordinary for Mineola to already have a student acknowledged in this way. The district entered three students this year.

“In the past we have had students attend ivy league colleges as well as had National merit semi-finalists and finalists, but the one quality indicator that eluded us was an Intel semi-finalist,” Nagler said, also offering thanks to science research teacher Dr. Ellen McGlade-McCulloh. “I still don’t know what you did, but it sounds really good,” Nagler said to Bartscherer.

“This is a credit to the entire school community, especially Ellen, Bethanne and her parents,” said Principal Escobar. “This was a goal of the Board of Education. They gave us the resources and we met the challenge.”

Bartscherer is one of only 300 students from 175 high schools nationwide to be named a semi-finalist in the competition and was selected from over 1,700 entrants. As a semi-finalist, Bartscherer will receive $1,000 from the Intel Foundation, with an additional $1,000 being given to the high school to further its science research program.

The Intel Science Talent Search is one of the oldest competitions for pre-college science students in the country. Bethanne’s project, entitled “Comparing Novel Cholinergic Agonists Potency in Inhibiting Cytokine Production,” is a study on proteins and immunology.

Her project tested the potency of newly created compounds in inhibiting the production of cytokines, which are proteins released from cells as part of the inflammatory response. Bartscherer, who wants to be a surgeon, has studied the past two summers at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at North Shore-LIJ.

Bethanne conducted research on proteins and immunology under the supervision of Dr. Christine Metz. She is also a member of the Mineola High School’s science research class with advisor Dr. Ellen McGlade-McCulloh.

Bartscherer was also named one of the Top 10 students in the Class of 2011. Members of the board of education congratulated Bethanne on her accomplishment.

“We’re so proud of you,” Board President Terence Hale said. “You are to be applauded and recognized. I hope that other students follow in your footsteps in years to come.”

“This is a first for Mineola,” Nagler stated. “I hope that it’s a first of many to come. It’s a tribute to her hard work. What we try to do is put things in place for students to challenge themselves and it’s all about them and their work. I can’t say enough about it.”

Board Vice President Christine Napolitano said she’s enormously excited and “proud of [Bethanne]. This is something that I’ve wanted to see happen for the district since even when my children were little.”

Trustee John McGrath agreed with Napolitano’s sentiments. He said that it’s always been his contention that Mineola students “are no different from students anywhere else. I’m happy to see that Bethanne is leading the charge and I fully expect that we won’t see the last of Mineola students qualifying for this great achievement.”