Of the 40 finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search, four have been mentored by the Stony Brook University faculty, including Smithtown High School East's Michael Zhang.
“Stony Brook University consistently mentors and develops some of the top high school research talent in the nation,” Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, President of Stony Brook University said in a statement Friday. “This continued success is a testament to the vast opportunities provided by Stony Brook and the quality of research, education and discovery that happens here every day.”
Zhang was one of the four students who participated in the Simons Summer Research Program at the university, where they worked in labs with faculty and graduate students.
Zhang, 17, of St. James, worked with Dr. Gregory Zelinsky from the university's psychology department on his project, Role-Inducted Perspective Visual Behavior during Scene Free-Viewing.
“Michael has all the makings of a fine scientist – intelligence, carefulness, and refreshing creativity. The fact that Michael came up with the idea for his project largely on his own is evidence for all of these qualities," said Zelinsky.
Since 1997, 47 of the Intel finalists have been mentored at Stony Brook.
“I am especially proud that, year after year, Stony Brook University continues to be an incubator for developing young scientists, especially in the nationally critical STEM disciplines,” Dennis N. Assanis, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs said in a statement Friday. “I would also like to thank the faculty mentors in our Simons Summer Research Program who worked with four out of 40, or 10 percent, of this year’s Intel finalists."
Zhang is one of the 40 finalists selected out of the 300 semifinalists throughout the country. He now has the opportunity to go to Washington, DC in March for a final round of judging on her work, meet some of today's top scientists, and compete for $630,000 in awards. The top award of the competition is $100,000.