Young Researchers Advance in NYC Contest

Six Yeshiva University High School for Girls Students Named Finalists in City-Wide Science Competition

Six students at the Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls (YUHSG) have been named finalists in the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF), the largest high school research competition in the city. Under the guidance of Ruth Fried, chairperson of YUHSG’s science department, the students conducted research projects over the summer and wrote up their findings in original scientific papers; five of the aspiring scientists did their research at the Garcia Institute at Stony Brook University, while one worked in a lab at the Cooper Union.

(L-R) Sonenberg, Shenas, Bachiry, Abelow, Shapiro, Rose and Fried.

From left: Sonenberg, Shenas, Bachiry, Abelow, Shapiro, Rose and Fried.

The six finalists—Ayelet Abelow, Zohar Bachiry, Bracha Rose, Sara Shenas, Rachel Shapiro and Helene Sonenberg—comprised the largest contingent from any yeshiva, and their projects were part of the 150 chosen to advance, out of the 550 that were presented. The next round of the competition is scheduled for March 29, at the Museum of Natural History. There, the projects will be whittled down even further, and the top 20 students will go on to represent New York City at the 2011 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May in Los Angeles.

“I was motivated to do this project to gain first-hand insight into what scientific and engineering professions are about,” Shenas said. “I wanted to understand the logistics of engineering such as writing a technical paper, analyzing results using a computer and presenting the research to experts in the field of chemical engineering.”

Shenas’ personal connection to science through Judaism also played a role in her involvement. “I see G-d in science and in all the tiny intricacies in the world [He] has made,” she said. “Everything from the smallest particle to a galaxy in this universe has an imprint of G-d in them, and this is what Torah Umadda teaches.”

As part of YUHSG’s Science Institute, headed by Fried, several of the NYCSEF finalists have been taking advanced science courses since their freshman year, in addition to being placed in summer internships at the YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine and at Stony Brook.

“The reason we have such a large group of finalists this year is because of the effort and diligence that they put in, and they’ve been working towards this goal for so long,” Fried explained. “They’ve been working since the summer on their research projects and this is already the third competition that some of the girls are entering.”

Three of the NYCSEF finalists—Abelow, Sonenberg and Shapiro—were also named semi-finalists in the Siemens Science and Technology competition this past October.

To learn more about Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls visit


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