OSSINING, N.Y. -- Ossining High School senior Adam Illowsky took first place in the New York State Junior Science Humanities Symposium.
The victory for Illowsky marked the second year in a row that an Ossining High School student won the event. Ossining is the only high school in the state that will send two finalists to the national competition in Washington D.C., school officials said.
Illowsky placed first in the competition and senior Ben Ross placed fifth. Ossining's Daniel Scanteianu in the Physical Sciences category and Claudia Guinansaca-Aguilar in the Behavioral Sciences category received honors at the symposium. And Maria Walsh-Regotti received high honors in the Poster competition, officials said.
"Illowsky, who was also an Intel Semifinalist, was the first researcher to look at whether there was a genetic component to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease affecting people who have suffered multiple concussions," school officials said. "Working with a researcher, Illowsky was able to study postmortem brain slices from diseased football players."
Illowsky said he was drawn to the topic because of the concussion epidemic in sports today, according to a release.
“I just want to do all I can to help increase our understanding of head trauma not just in professional sports but in high school and kids’ sports as well,” Illowsky said, adding that he hoped to someday work in the legal or business arena to improve safeguards against head injuries in sports, according to the release.
Ross said he was interested in studying the environment, according to the release.
“I plan to major in architecture in college and one of my interests is to integrate sustainable technology,” Ross said. “So this project fit in pretty well with my future plans.”
The success of the Ossining research students can be credited to the collaboration among all of the teachers, staff and students in Ossining High School combined with parental support, said Ossining High School Science Research program co-teachers Angelo Piccirillo and Valerie Holmes.
“You take that and add superior students and professional researchers, you have a winning formula,” said Holmes. “Our philosophy is simply to create an environment that puts all of our students in the best position possible to succeed. Then it is up to them to take advantage of the opportunity.”