Seven Half Hollow Hills Students Named Semifinalists in Siemens Competition

Most Semifinalists Of Any District On Long Island And In New York

Seven students in the Half Hollow Hills Central School District have been named 2017 semifinalists in the prestigious Siemens Competition, the nation’s premier competition in math, science and technology for high school students. This makes Half Hollow Hills the district with the most semifinalists represented for 2017 on Long Island and in New York state.

Every year, students submit innovative individual and team research projects to regional and national levels of competition as they vie for college scholarships ranging from $1,000 up to $100,000. This year out of the more than 1860 projects submitted, 491 students are being recognized as semi-finalists.

“We are very proud of our 2017 semifinalists in the Siemens Competition, which honors the best and brightest students for their accomplishments in math and science – students who are changing the world for the better,” said Dr. Patrick Harrigan, superintendent of schools for Half Hollow Hills.


Congratulations to the HHH students who were recognized:

  • Arooba Ahmed, Junior at Half Hollow Hills High School East
  • Jiachen Lee, Junior at Half Hollow Hills High School East
  • Danielle Luntz, Senior at Half Hollow Hills High School East
  • Jillian Parker, Junior at Half Hollow Hills High School West
  • Kavya Rao, Junior at Half Hollow Hills High School East
  • Kasim Waqar, Senior at Half Hollow Hills High School East
  • Tong Ye, Sophomore at Half Hollow Hills High School East

These students are part of three team projects, two of which are composed entirely of Half Hollow Hills students: (Ahmed, Lee, and Parker) and (Luntz, Rao, and Waqar). Tong is part of a 3-person team with students from St. Anthony’s and North Shore Hebrew Academy.

Their three projects tackled unique scientific problems including finding a cost-effective environmentally friendly way to replace stainless steel in heat transfer applications, demonstrating a pathway to respond to environmental stressors commonly being introduced to marine ecosystems, and discovering an entirely new function for a protein in human cell division that hadn’t been previously identified and has potential ramifications in fighting cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and the spread of viruses.


“These students work very hard and sacrifice many hours outside of the classroom and even over the summer to complete these projects,” said Dr. Michael Lake, the academic research director at Half Hollow Hills.

This select group of semifinalist students and their notable projects are judged to determine who advances on to six regional competitions held in November. Individual and team winners of the regional contests earn the opportunity to compete in the National Finals held at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in December where $500,000 in scholarships will be awarded, including two top prizes of $100,000.

The prize, launched by the Siemens Foundation in 1999, was established to increase access to higher education for students who are gifted in STEM and is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens.  This competition seeks to recognize and build a strong pipeline for the nation’s most promising scientists, engineers and mathematicians.

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