Huntington students competed in a science fair at Molloy College (1)

Huntington Challenged at Molloy College Science Fair

Huntington students competed in a science fair at Molloy College.

April 26, 2018

The Kathy Belton Science Fair at Molloy College in Rockville Centre has been posing a tough challenge to Huntington High School science research program students for many years. The most recent competition continued this long tradition.

Huntington High School’s science research program and research club have attracted dozens of students on every grade level who work individually or collaboratively on high-level academic pursuits.

Huntington freshman Andrew McKenzie holds his award certificate.
Huntington freshman Andrew McKenzie holds his award certificate.

Huntington students have been presenting their research findings at numerous contests this spring. It’s been a fun, but pressure-filled experience for the teenagers. After many months of research, it’s enjoyable to finally be able to create a project display board and settle upon a polished presentation for judges. But answering pointed questions, explaining research protocols and being challenged on findings can lead to some stressful situations.

The Huntington contingent that travelled to Molloy College included some veterans of the science research program mixed with many newcomers. Students from more than 30 Long Island schools were on hand with their projects.

The group from Huntington included Kevin Aparicio, Chaohan Yang, Josh Bailin, Mia Brown, Cat Jamison, Cole Pillion, Peyton Kalb, Patrick Langton, Andrew McKenzie, John Segreti, Ricardo Romero-Cisneros, Joseph Tonjes, Timmeree Koepele, Ainsley Lumpe, Charlotte Maggio and Eliana Ng.

Messrs. McKenzie and Segreti won an award for their project: The Effect of Magnetic Flux Density on the Behavioral Responses of Drosophila melanogaster. 

The duo are newcomers to Huntington’s science research program, but they are already embracing all the opportunities it offers. “We wanted to test electromagnetic radiation by testing the movement of fruit fly larvae in correlation to the radiation,” Mr. Segreti said. The project obviously impressed the judges.

“The judges were very nice and were very interested in the project,” Mr. McKenzie said. The research partners are already developing plans for next year. They hope to continue refining their current project and perhaps branch off into other areas of electromagnetic radiation.

The Molloy College science fair has always drawn well-presented projects and the 16th annual edition was no different. Projects covered chemistry, physics, ecology, biology and environmental sciences.

By the end of the long day every Huntington participant had presented their project to at least three judges, showcasing their work and explaining their findings.

Underclassmen in Huntington’s science research program are now turning their attention to future projects during remaining class time. Students are looking to broaden their interests and delve into new scientific areas. They are evaluating research opportunities and in some cases forming research teams. Some plan to engage in research over the summer.

Here’s an abstract of Messrs. McKenzie and Segreti’s project:

The Effect of Magnetic Flux Density on the
Behavioral Responses of Drosophila melanogaster

From the cell phones in your pocket to the very lights in a room, almost all modern devices emit some level of electromagnetic radiation. In this experiment we will test the effect of electromagnetic radiation on Drosophila melanogaster. If the Drosophila melanogaster is exposed to radiation, then they will behave differently than the drosophila that is not. A petri dish was prepared with small graph in which the Drosophila were placed on. The radiation source is placed at the top most part of the y-axis. With the radiation source turned on, the flies are placed on the origin of the graph and are observed for one minute as they move, after one minute the final position was recorded. The same is repeated for the control except the radiation source is removed.

The data was put into a scatter plot graph format to show where all of the flies ended up going after the minute. On the graph, it shows that the majority of the experimental larvae moved toward the negative part of the y-axis whereas the control larvae were relatively evenly spread throughout the graph. The data showed that the larvae had negative taxis towards the radiation. This means that the hypothesis was accepted due to these results. This research proved that Drosophila melanogaster exhibited behavioral trends when exposed to radiation. Further research could be done to determine if other organisms show similar trends, thus showing that electromagnetic fields in the environment could be hazardous.

(Huntington senior Nolan Piccola, an intern in the high school science research program, contributed reporting to this story.)

Huntigton freshman Andrew McKenzie.
Huntigton freshman Andrew McKenzie.
Huntington sophomore John Segreti.
Huntington sophomore John Segreti.