Learn more about the winning proposals associated with Quality of Life INNOVATIONS.
The 2019 First Place award was presented to Elizabeth Vesialou and Winona Lu from Staten Island Technical School for “The Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Memory and Mood.” They conducted a study that examined the impact of stress on short-term memory and daily mood. The team led four meditation sessions which showed improvement in students’ moods and an increase in memory. Elizabeth and Vesialou developed a portable mediation kit for staff and students and posted mindful quotes on televisions around their school. The group received $10,000 for their winning proposal.
The Second Place award was presented to Xiurong Yu and Wei Zheng from the High School of Telecommunications Arts and Technology for “Bridging the Divide: Increasing Parental School Engagement to Improve Student Outcomes.” Their research revealed that 66% of the respondents claimed that they never or rarely participate in their children’s school activities. Yet, parental involvement in education remains a critical part of early childhood education. To solve the issue, Xiurong and Wei developed a resource website, created a raffle prize system, introduced a CareMonkey app as a support system for parents, and proposed a government tax credit based on parent involvement. The pair was awarded $5,000 in scholarship money.
The Third Place award was presented to Jennifer Alva, Chahinaz Bouflah and Jana Pineda from Forest Hills High School for “Helping Students Find Locations and Rooms: Dora, Where’s the map?” The team found that millions of New York City students struggled to find offices and classrooms due to a lack of visual aids. In order to address this issue, they created maps and guides for various schools. The group proposed the widespread adoption of these visual aids to direct students and ease the stress of being lost for other New York City schools. The team received $3,000 in scholarship money.
The Fourth Place award was presented to Mohammed Hossain and Rahat Mazhar from the High School of Telecommunications Arts and Technology for “Your Nutrition Label Is Trying To Tell You Something.” The pair surveyed students and realized that the majority of youth rarely or never read the nutrition labels on food. To combat an increase in unhealthy eating and the rate of child obesity, the group created a website to raise awareness, taught lessons about eating healthy at their school and promoted a week of action for healthy eating with daily public announcements. The team was awarded $1,000 in scholarship money from the United Federation of Teachers.
The 2018 First Place award was presented to Samantha SaintJour from James Madison High School for “Virtual Care Package.” Samantha’s close friend, Rebecca, had to leave her life behind when she turned 18 and aged out of the foster care system. Seeing that her friend lost financial, emotional, and social support, Samantha created an app and website called Virtual Care that provides foster youth with access to information and resources regarding aging out of the system, as well as an adult mentor. She received $15,000 for her winning proposal.
Two teams tied for the Second Place Award: Pridha Kumar from Townsend Harris High School for “Save a Life: Educating NYC Public High School Students in Basic First Aid Knowledge.” She proposed implementing a first aid training program in all NYC public high schools. She trained 700 students in hands-only CPR, AED use, Heimlich maneuver, bleeding control, and limb immobilization and reached an agreement to integrate the training into the core health curriculum at her school; Jonathan Bar-On, Benjamin Bergerson and Jeffrey Rodriguez from the Bronx High School of Science for “Ending the Stagnation of ESL Education.” The team addressed the need to improve education for English Language Leaners (ELLs) in New York. Using California’s ESL education as a model, the team augmented the NY curriculum Blueprint and are working with experts in the field to present the model to TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) executives. Both groups were awarded $8,000 in scholarship money.
The Third Place award was presented to Omar Elmogazy, Daniel Indictor and Dominick Villamor from Staten Island Technical High School for “Keyboard Design and Risky Postural Behavior when Typing.” The team found that extensive computer usage has been linked to the development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) relating to the hands, wrists, and arms. To combat these disorders, they constructed a specialized keyboard to reduce risky posture. They proposed the widespread adoption of the alternative keyboard to improve the posture of users and help them avoid behaviors that may lead to the onset of MSDs. The team split $5,000 in scholarship money.
The 2017 First Place award was presented to Tomer Poole-Dayan and Nicholas Tarr from Bronx High School of Science for “Overflowing Litter Baskets.” The pair created a map of litter baskets and their fullness between 10th Street and 22nd Street on five different avenues and found that the average wire basket had a fullness index of 2.41, while the average deluxe garbage can had a fullness index of only 1.91. To address the issue, the students proposed installing more BigBelly solar trash compactors. The pair split $15,000 in scholarship money.
The Second Place award was presented to Daiana Chen and Yerim Lee from Staten Island Technical High School for “Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) Awareness.” The team raised awareness of NIHL throughout their school, secured approval for the incorporation of a lesson on NIHL in their school’s health classes and plan to work with their school’s MakerSpace program to construct “Jolene the Mannequin” (a decibel measuring tool), using a manual provided by the organization Dangerous Decibels. The pair were awarded $8,000 in scholarship money.
The Third Place award was presented to Eliseo Nesci from Edward R. Murrow High School for his proposal “Community Health and Waste Management Solutions.” Nesci found that Gravesend Bay has been environmentally exploited over the years and proposed that Southwest Brooklyn be granted a Superfund to ensure its protection and the purification of toxic wastes from the bay’s sediments. He also proposed that the real solution to NYC’s recycling woes lies in increasing incentives for citizens, private businesses and haulers to recycle. He received $6,000 for his winning proposal.
The First Place award was presented to Eli Bacher-Chong, a senior at the High School of Telecommunications, Arts, & Technology, for his proposal “Heat It Up: Joining the Fight Against Plastic Bag Pollution with Solar Powered Recycling.” Mr. Bacher-Chong designed a solar oven that converts disposable plastic bags into more durable and sustainable reusable bags. He received $15,000 in scholarship money to attend the University of Vermont.
The Second Place award was presented to Kemal Aziz and Jakub Goclon, sophomores at Staten Island Technical High School, for their proposal “Reducing Human Exposure to PM2.5.” The pair developed an air filter to reduce exposure to PM2.5 and were awarded $8,000 in scholarship money. They also received the Implementation Award and earned an additional $2,500 in scholarship money.
The Third Place award was presented to Olesya Burmistrova, a senior at James Madison High School, for her proposal “Out of the darkness: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness.” Ms. Burmistrova proposed holding informative presentations for students given by representatives from the National Alliance of Mental Illnesses. She received $6,000 for her winning proposal to attend Queens College-CUNY.
The First Place award was presented to Hafsa Khan, a senior from Townsend Harris High School in Queens, NY for her research project “Reducing Food Waste in NYC Public Schools through the Implementation of Composting Programs.” Through the Saving Planet Earth Club at Townsend Harris High School, Hafsa plans to run a composting program to reduce the amount of food waste that makes up landfills as a pilot program in her high school that will ultimately expand to other high schools in NYC.
Tied for second place, were Sophie Shnaidman and Natalie Williams from Staten Island Technical High School in Staten Island, NY and Sapphire Brown from James Madison High School in Brooklyn, NY.
Sophie and Natalie’s proposal, “HPV and Chlamydia: An Assessment of High School Student Awareness and Need for Curriculum Supplement in the Health Curriculum,” tackled the issue of awareness of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Chlamydia in their high school. They proposed raising awareness about these diseases within their high school and implementing a long-term HPV and Chlamydia supplement to the existing health curriculum as a means of ultimately reducing the risks associated with sexual intercourse.
Sapphire’s proposal, “Ladies of Substance: Building the Confidence of Future Women,” addressed the problem of low self-esteem in young girls and proposed an after-school club that provides a safe-haven for girls to express themselves openly and where they will not be judged.