Friday, 01 June 2012 00:00
Roslyn High School seniors Benjamin Kornick and Kevin Sherwin both won Grand Awards at this year’s INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair held recently in Pittsburgh, PA.
More than 1,500 students from about 70 countries, states, and territories spent the week in Pittsburgh vying for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and prizes. Only the top 25 percent of competitors received Grand Awards.
“I’m so proud of both Ben and Kevin,” said Dr. Allyson Weseley, Roslyn’s coordinator of secondary research, who accompanied the boys to Pittsburgh. “They’ve both worked so hard, and it’s gratifying to see them receive this well-earned recognition.”
Ben garnered the highest honor in the behavioral science category for his work on the relationship between various parenting behaviors and the risk behaviors teens exhibit on -and offline.
Ben conducted his research at Roslyn High School with the help of Dr. Weseley. In his study, “OMG: Look Who Joined Facebook! The Relationship between Parenting and Adolescent Risk Behaviors,” Ben found that parents who solicit information from their children about the children’s involvement in risk activities have children more likely to engage in such risky behaviors. “It’s possible that such questioning encourages teens to rebel,” explained Ben. On the other hand, in terms of offline risk, Ben found that parental knowledge obtained via closeness and/or control was linked to teens’ involvement in fewer risk behaviors.
Ben received $3,000 for being amongst the first-place winners in behavioral science and another $5,000 for being named the Best in Category. In addition, Ben won two other awards at the fair. The American Psychological Association presented him with a third-place award and the National Institute on Drug Abuse gave him a second-place award and has invited him to Washington, DC to visit their offices and present his research this summer.
Kevin, who competed in the mathematical sciences category, earned a fourth-place award for his project “Classifying Generic Smooth Curves in the Projective Plane Related to Algebraic Curves of Degree 5.” Kevin’s work took a set of established mathematical rules called the Arnold Invariants and applied them to a novel set of curves. Interestingly, the Arnold Invariants were ineffective in distinguishing between degree 5 curves, a finding that Kevin says has ramifications in fields from quantum computing to circuitry. Kevin was mentored by Dr. Oleg Viro of Stony Brook University.