Commack Schools News: Two ISEF Finalists at Commack High School

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ISEF Regeneron Finalists Announced


Two Commack High School science research students, Jordan Walsh and Ethan Sontarp, are finalists in the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), sponsored by Regeneron (formerly INTEL). Finalists were chosen regionally in this year’s virtual fair, and our student’s projects were among more than 450 submissions rated and analyzed by the judges. Our two finalists were among only 15 chosen in all of New York State. 

Commack High School also had five projects move on to the lightening round (semifinalists). Ethan and Jordan’s projects were included, and congratulations and semifinalist status goes to Kimberly Liao, Rohan Surana, and Candance Arneaud and Izza Maillik (team). Each student will receive a monetary award for his or her accomplishment. Only 40 projects moved on to the lightening round and these five young scientists represent 50% of our Commack projects that were entered into the fair.   

The students worked very hard and succeeded in winning at local and state-wide competitions to earn a spot at ISEF. Ethan was also a finalist at last year’s ISEF. His project this year is titled, “Modeling Uranium Uptake in Fossilized Teeth and Bones: Insight into Potential for Long-Term Uranium Waste Storage in Phosphates.” Ethan developed a model based on examination of fossilized enamel to determine isotopic ratios which served two purposes. His work will help to predict the age of fossilization for samples whose origin is unknown and could also lead to a new method of remediation of high concentrations of uranium waste.  There is the potential for the storage of uranium in porous materials that would hold the radioactive substance for millions of year and even be able to withstand destructive geological conditions.

Jordan’s project was, “Human Activity Recognition using Wi-Fi Channel State Information (CSI).“  The purpose of Jordan’s project was to utilize Channel State Information to distinguish between three cases: (1) the absence of human activity within a room, (2) a stationary human standing in the middle of a room, and (3) a human continuously walking throughout a room. Presently used detection methods require specialized equipment to be installed but Jordan developed a methodology for detection using existing Wi-Fi infrastructure already present in homes, schools, and public areas. The accuracy of the data was very high for the first two cases and although lower for the third, has potential for great improvement with some adjustments. His research could revolutionize our ability to manage hostile situations within a building in the near future!

“Our science research teachers spend countless hours working with our students to develop their project ideas, conduct their research, and polish their presentations and project display boards for science competitions,” said Director of Science, Dr. Alison Offerman-Celentano. Ms. Jeanette Collette, Dr. Daniel Kramer, and Mrs. Andrea Beatty are the core of the program that consistently produces winners at the national and international levels each year. Commack residents and volunteers Drs. Barbara and Fred Kruger and Mr. John Mruz were also instrumental in helping all five of our semifinalists and finalists prepare for competition. Our Commack students are among the top young scientists in the country and we could not be prouder of all that they have accomplished.” 

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