Collage of four of the high school students


New York Tech Awards Mini-Research Grants to High School Students for Fifth Straight Year

February 10, 2022

Pictured from left: Andrew Whittingham, Dua Hanif, Isabel Chilpe, and Amanda Sanchez from Brentwood High School.

Underscoring its commitment to undergraduate research and to building a pipeline for students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, New York Institute of Technology has awarded 30 research projects from 20 high schools with New York Tech Mini-Research Grant Awards (MRGA). Now in its fifth year, the MRGA program received a total of 127 research project submissions in 2021.

The Mini-Research Grant Awards of $300, made possible through the support of Voya Foundation, are applied to expenses incurred by the high school researchers during new or continuing research in STEM and related disciplines in spring or fall 2022. The participants must have plans to compete in a science competition and present their work in person or remotely at New York Tech.

“Interest and submission quality were strong again this year, with students and teachers from high schools well beyond the local area continuing to apply,” notes Niharika Nath, Ph.D., professor of biological and chemical sciences, who oversees the MRGA program. “We’re proud that New York Tech’s commitment to undergraduate research and to diversifying the STEM pipeline at all academic and socioeconomic levels is encouraging research activity.”

The New York Tech MRGA review committee, comprising Nath along with Rosemary Gallagher, D.P.T., Ph.D., associate professor of physical therapy, Wenjia Li, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science, and Amy Bravo, senior director of Career Success and Experiential Education, selected one or more projects to be funded from local high schools including Bethpage, Brentwood, Cold Spring Harbor, Connetquot, North Shore, Roslyn, Sacred Heart, Stella K. Abraham, and Valley Stream North in Long Island; Midwood High School in Brooklyn; Queens High School for the Sciences at York College; Bergen County Academies, Bergen County Technical High School, Lakeland Regional High School, Pequannock Township High School, and Toms River High School North in New Jersey; and Norwich Technical in Connecticut. In addition, researchers from outside the New York metropolitan area representing St. Joseph’s Academy in St. Louis, Missouri, were selected to receive grants.

New York Tech undergraduate and graduate students assisted in the grant review process, including D.P.T. (physical therapy) students Aissa Beaton and Wilber Parada; biology majors Ajin Varghese and Dono Shodieva, and biomedical engineering student Mary Sanchez.

Some topics of research projects selected for MRGA funding include:

  • What is the Effect of Dietary Carbohydrate Intake on Performance in Female Endurance Athletes? (Valley Stream North High School)
  • Biodegradation of Polystyrene by Bacteria Found in The Gut of Tenebrio molitor Larvae (mealworm beetle) (Norwich Technical High School)
  • Developing a Hydroponic System with the Recycling of Greywater (Bethpage High School)
  • Combating Covid with an Electroceutical Plant-based Textile (Bergen County Academies)
  • Numeracy and the Communication of Medical Risk (North Shore High School)
  • The Effect of External Factors on the Perception and Taste of Food (Midwood High School) 
  • Effect of Organic Fertilizers vs. Synthetic Fertilizers on Cyanobacteria (St. Joseph’s Academy)
  • Investigating Factors that Could Alter the Genetic Impact of APOE on Alzheimer’s Disease (Connetquot High School)
  • Effect of Ionic Liquids on Perovskite Solar Cell Stability (Bergen County Academies)
  • The Impact of Eutrophication on the Ribbed Mussel (Geukensia demissa) and Their Host Plant Spartina alterniflora (Brentwood High School)
  • “The Crumb Rubber Conundrum:” The Effects of Heavy Metal Leaching on Terrestrial Invertebrates (Sacred Heart Academy)
  • Cost-Effective Air Quality Monitoring Using Readily Available Programming Interfaces (Brentwood High School)
  • Smart Mask Respiratory Protection, Air Quality Monitoring, and Reporting System (Stella K. Abraham Girls High School)
  • Effects of Plant Substances in Inhibiting Prominent Pathogenic Oral Bacteria (Toms River High School North)
  • RAMOSA3 Undergoes Liquid-liquid Phase Separation to Modulate Inflorescence Development in Maize (Cold Spring Harbor High School)

Applications for the sixth annual Mini-Research Grant Award for high school students will open in fall 2022.