Two Scarsdale Seniors Named Semifinalists In Science Talent Search

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SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Scarsdale High School will once again be well represented in the annual Intel Science Talent Search, as a pair of seniors have been named semifinalists in the science competition.

Archana Ram and Zubin Koticha were among 300 students selected from among 1,794 entrants by Intel Science Talent Search Committee. Each received a $1,000 reward – along with the Scarsdale School District - for their research, and will now compete to become one, or two, of 40 finalists.

Under the guise of science research teacher Beth Schoenbrun, both Ram and Koticha have worked for years compiling their research and putting together their projects.

Koticha’s project, “Monetary Risk Preferences as Influenced by Source of Money and Salience,” examines the risk involved in one managing their own money, other peoples’ money and money that has been borrowed.

During his research, the senior determined that “the way the financial system is set up lends itself to extreme risk taking in good economic times, and excessive risk aversion in bad economic times.”

“Allegedly, the financial crisis was catalyzed by an excessive amount of risk taken on the part of money managers,” he continued. “I aimed to determine whether this was true from the perspective of psychology.”

Ram took a more traditional scientific approach, researching heart muscle cells in her project, titled: “Cyclin A2 Mediates Dedifferentiation and Subsequent Mitosis in Postnatal Cardiomyocytes.”

“My work supports the notion that heart muscle cells, under the influence of a protein called cyclin A2, become younger, like ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ and are able to divide,” she said. “This lets them repair the cellular damage caused by heart attacks.”

The Scarsdale seniors were among 14 Westchester County students to be named semifinalists. The 40 finalists will attend the Intel Science Talent Institute in Washington, D.C. in March to compete for an additional $630,000 in awards.

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