Two Belmont Hill seniors, Renny Gong and Jake Pappo, were among the 300 scholars named in the Society for Science & the Public’s Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS). The competition is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.
Renny Gong’s project is entitled “Differences in Cannabis Perception and Belief Updating Between Adults and Adolescents.” Challenging the phenomenon of "optimism bias," Renny designed the study, collected survey data via Facebook, and analyzed the data using statistical software that he taught himself how to use. Renny's work took place at MIT in the lab of Dr. John Gabrieli. The Gabrieli Lab works to understand how the human brain empowers learning, thinking, and feeling, and to use that understanding to help people live happier and more productive lives.
Jake Pappo’s project is entitled “Molecular Beacon-based Real-time Diagnostic for Glioma.” Jake's project sought to find a new means to diagnose brain tumors; current techniques lack specificity in targeting and are risky to the patients' health. Jake developed and tested an alternative diagnostic technique with molecular beacons, that might flag cancerous cells. Jake completed his work at Mass General Hospital in the lab of Dr. Bob Carter, a Belmont Hill parent. The Carter Lab conducts cancer research on brain tumors and their respective mutations.
“We have been lucky to have seven STS Scholars from Belmont Hill in as many years, which is quite remarkable,” said Mr. Courtney who leads the Advanced Science Research (ASR) program at Belmont Hill. Click here to read more about Belmont Hill’s ASR program, which offers juniors and seniors the unique opportunity to conduct independent scientific research in a university, hospital, or professional laboratory.
The Regeneron competition provides students a national stage to present original research and celebrates the hard work and discoveries of young scientists who are bringing a fresh perspective to significant global challenges. The 300 students and their schools will be awarded $2,000 each. The scholars were selected from 1,993 students attending 659 high schools across 49 states. Students were chosen based on their exceptional research skills, commitment to academics, innovative thinking, and promise as scientists.