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Student Research and Science Fair Awards Presented at the STEM Colloquium

The seventh annual STEM Colloquium showcased years of research from senior class recipients of the STEM Distinction, recognizing the students' passion, determination, perseverance, and achievement. 

Ben Persily ’23, Gouri Krishnan ’23, Yuriy Sandmeier ’23, Clare Liao ’23, and Eli Lowe ’23 discussed their capstone projects, many of which were completed through King School’s Advanced Science Program for Independent Research and Engineering (ASPIRE.) 

The ASPIRE program partners students with professionals in their area of study at leading research institutions.

Eli, who interned at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Chemical Biology division, presented his research to target and inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.

“The work done by me and my lab will help focus and narrow future searches to create more effective treatments,” Eli said.

Clare completed her project with the assistance of mathematics teacher Belinda Zheng. In her introduction, Director of Science Research Dr. Victoria Schulman noted Clare's exceptional performance in Math Team meets and her perfect score on the AP Computer Science A Exam, a feat only 365 students worldwide achieved.

Clare explored the importance of accurately utilizing mathematical probability in her presentation “An Investigation Into Unintuitive Probabilities.”

“Misusing probability can have large consequences,” she said, noting that some court cases have judged innocent persons guilty of crimes due to the misuse of probability.

Working at Yale University, Gouri Krishnan aimed to reduce direct energy loss through electrochromic smart windows and nanoscale computer modeling.

“I’m happy to announce that my contributions to this electrochromism project have been formally recognized,” she said at the end of her presentation. “I was recently listed as a co-author in a scientific publication on selective chromism work.”

Valedictorian and National Merit Scholarship winner Ben Persily presented his research on gene editing completed at the Stem Cell Facility at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. As he signed off, he encouraged incoming students to take advantage of King’s advanced science program.

“Please consider joining ASPIRE,” Ben said after his presentation. “It changed my life. If you love science, I think it can change yours too.”

Having recently returned from the International Science & Engineering Fair in Dallas, where his research aimed at combating tuberculosis infections earned third place, Yuriy was the final STEM distinction recipient to present. Echoing the sentiments of his peers, he thanked Dr. Schulman for her expertise and direction. Dr. Schulman reciprocated his gratitude.

“It has been an honor to work with all of you over the last few years and see you grow as young scientists,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what you will accomplish next in college and beyond.”

Following the student presentations, Dr. Schulman announced the winners of the Upper School Science Fair, which was held on May 10. Awards were presented to the following students and student teams:

Grade 9
Third Place - Leon Wang ’26
Second Place - Sophia Carrington ’26 and Gidon Genger ’26
First Place (tie)- Dillon Maltese ’26
First Place (tie)- Sowa Laryea-Adjei ’26

Grades 10-12
Third Place - Nicole Guido ’24
Second Place - Spencer Neckritz ’24
First Place - Max Krueger ’24
Top ASPIRE Project - Yuriy Sandmeier ’23
ASPIRE-ing Scientist Award - Ben Persily ’23

Honorable Mention
Grade 11 - Grant Dietz ’24
Grade 9 - Kyleigh Luther ’26
Grade 9 - Kayla Barta ’26 & Amelia Bley ’26
Grade 9 - Tal Medina ’26 & Tristan Ellis ’26
Grade 9 - Sienna Barlow ’26 and CeCe Campbell ’26

People’s Choice
Grade 9 - Henry Simon ’26 and AJ Trimboli ’26

The ASPIRE program is supported by the Advanced Mathematics and Science Study Program endowed fund established in 2018 by Margharet, Frank, Bea '15, and William '17 Nash to support select students with demonstrated ability and interest in achieving true excellence within science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics in global competition preparation, and/or laboratory research experiences. If you are interested in further supporting this opportunity for students, please contact Director of Development Barb Drayer to discuss how your gift can help.