The Pelham Public Schools is thrilled to announce that Pelham Memorial High School seniors Katie Brandler, Leah Sherbansky and Emma Van Praagh have been named among the top 300 scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition by the Society for Science. This marks the first time that Pelham Memorial High School has had three students named STS semifinalists. It is the second year in a row that at least two PMHS students were listed among the nation’s best.
“I am incredibly proud of Katie, Leah and Emma and their remarkable accomplishment,” said PMHS Principal Mark Berkowitz. “To have three students honored as part of the Regeneron Science Talent Search is a tremendous accomplishment. It is a true reflection of academic excellence in our district. I also want to congratulate and thank our Science Research teachers Steven Beltecas and Joe DiBello, who have worked tirelessly to guide our students, as well as Dr. Tom Callahan, Director of Math and Science, who continues to be instrumental in building and supporting the entire research program.”
The top 300 scholars were selected from 1,949 applications from 627 high schools across 48 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and four other countries. Scholars were chosen based on their outstanding research, leadership skills, community involvement, commitment to academics, creativity in asking scientific questions and exceptional promise as STEM leaders demonstrated through the submission of their original, independent research projects, essays and recommendations. Each scholar will be awarded $2,000 and their schools will also be awarded $2,000 per enrolled scholar.
The students’ projects are as follows:
Katie Brandler: “The First Report of Marine Debris as a Dispersal Vector for Native and Introduced Species in the Temperate Northwest Atlantic Ocean”
Leah Sherbansky: “Exploring the Relationship of SSTR2 Immunohistochemical and Textural Features to Neuroendocrine Tumor Grade”
Emma Van Praagh: “Project Title: Investigating Connections Between Sensorimotor Impairment and Resting-State Functional MRI of the Spinal Cord in Multiple Sclerosis”
Scholars were chosen based on their outstanding research, leadership skills, community involvement, commitment to academics, creativity in asking scientific questions and exceptional promise as STEM leaders demonstrated through the submission of their original, independent research projects, essays and recommendations. The 300 scholars hail from 194 American and international high schools in 35 states and China.
The three PMHS students’ success is the latest in a long string of accolades for the PMHS Science Research program.
“We are so proud of all of our seniors,” said Steve Beltecas, Director of the PMHS Science Research Program. “As a program and science department, we have put a huge emphasis on writing under the guidance of Dr. Callahan. Throughout his years here, he has challenged and supported us in increasing the level in which all of our students write in our science department. This is a huge accomplishment and honor for our students!”
More About the Regeneron Science Talent Search
The Regeneron Science Talent Search recognizes and empowers our nation’s most promising young scientists who are generating innovative solutions to solve significant global challenges through rigorous research and discoveries. It provides students with a national stage to present new ideas and challenge conventional ways of thinking. Now in its one hundred and first year, Society for Science has played a significant role in educating the public about scientific discoveries as well as in identifying future leaders in science, technology, engineering and math. Regeneron has sponsored the Science Talent Search since 2017 as part of its deep commitment to STEM education and to supporting young scientists.
This year, research projects cover topics from analyzing the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war, to developing eco-friendly biofuel, and improving methods used to detect diseases and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, bladder cancer, monkeypox, autism and more. Other students chose to focus on social issues, such as exploring ways to reduce social media-induced emotional distress and violence, as well as studying how mask mandates impact how accurately people can recognize emotion on others’ faces. With a total of 21 research categories, the top 5 categories among scholars’ projects this year include:
More About the PMHS Science Research Program
The PMHS Science Research program is taught by Steven Beltecas and Joe DiBello. Students work with professional mentors in a variety of fields ranging from environmental and behavioral sciences to cancer research, among others. The students are able to work together and often review each other's work, providing feedback and honing their presentation and public speaking skills. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive program and look to encourage any student willing to work hard and pursue their passions!