Top Tech Tips for the Class of 2022

June is quickly approaching, and with that comes the impending break of summer that most students look forward to. But it’ll only be two months until the start of school, and with that comes a new class of freshmen at Staten Island Tech.

Being a freshman at Tech may seem daunting at first from the new classes, a new environment, and new standards that are set for you. However, with a few simple tips, it’s easy to get into the swing of things at Staten Island Tech!

Now, without further ado, here are some of my top tips for your freshman year at Tech!

Don’t procrastinate. This is probably the biggest piece of advice that any Tech student can give you. Staying on top of your homework and classes can leave you with enough time to pursue other extracurriculars, like sports, clubs, or volunteering. Try keeping track of homework; there are lots of tutoring services and resources available at the Tech library. Allotting your time earlier in freshman year helps you deal with tougher classes in junior and senior year!
Try joining an activity. Freshman year is a time for trying out new things to find out what you really want to put your time into. At Tech, there’s tons of opportunities that cater to all sorts of different people. There’s lots of sports teams, clubs like the JSA, Key Club, and the various multicultural clubs. There’s also major events like SING and Spring Musical, and Spirit Week which the whole school takes part of and enjoys. There’s also activities such as Student Organization, the Science Engineering Research Program, and Math Team that can help you find other people with similar interests!
Find your way around. Tech can be a bit confusing when you first try to navigate its hallways, especially when you get your schedule for the first time. Don’t be afraid to ask teachers for directions, or fellow upperclassmen. Get a feel of the hallways of the school- it will definitely pay off later.
Think about what comes next. Freshman year is still fairly early to think about colleges and the SATs and the ACT, but it never hurts to venture into the area. Your guidance counselor is a great source of information for this. You can also get in touch with them later to talk about class choices and any thoughts on your mind. It always pays off to have an idea of what you want to do later. But remember…
Don’t worry. Tech is a great place to find opportunities tailored to certain career choices and opportunities. But it can be easy to get overwhelmed with so many choices and thoughts about what to do next. In freshman year, don’t let these decisions weigh heavily on your mind- just try to get adapted to Tech first.

Hopefully these tips help you out with your first year at Tech! Remember, it’s a time to adjust and adapt, which comes first. With that in mind, I hope to see you next fall at Tech!

Showcase Assembly (6/1/18)

On Friday, June 1st, Staten Island Technical High School held its 17th annual student showcase. Students hurried to the Salvatore Eretto Auditorium, buzzing with excitement and eager to watch their peers perform. On the way to the auditorium, they were immediately met with the sound of the opening band consisting of William Albee, Tyler Almquist, Daniel Donnelly, and Justine Molinari, who played passionately as the students filed into their seats.

There were many different acts over the course of the showcase, with students displaying talents such as dancing, singing, spinning flags, and playing instruments.

Some of the day’s performances included renditions of “What’s Up” by students Tess Lynch, Ivy Fan, and Felix Mastropasqua, “This is Me” by Katie Schermerhorn, Ivan Bourov, and Mike Albdewi, and “You and I” by Jess Liu. In each of these performances, students sang, and, in “What’s Up” and “You and I” students played instruments to accompany the vocals. Each of these performances were met with great praise from the audience; viewers clapped and cheered for their peers.

Tech senior Felix Mastropasqua, who was in multiple performances, reflected on his experience with the showcase: “It can be nerve-wracking to put on a performance, but I was motivated to make my last show at Tech as memorable as possible.”

Students involved in different school activities also performed in the showcase. Glee Club sang “Some Nights”, the Dance Team danced to “The Greatest Show”, Dance Gym students danced to various Rihanna songs, and the Color Guard showed off their skills to “Confident”.

Rachel Kneitel, a Tech senior in Dance Gym, said of the performance, “Giving your all during practices is worth it in the end when you see the crowd focusing only on the performance.”

The audience truly did focus on the performance, captivated by the many dancers on the stage. In fact, the audience was thrilled by each performance, encouraging the performers with their energy and enthusiasm towards all of the acts. Towards the conclusion of the show, Xenia Rudchenko and Anton Logochniak sang an incredible duet of the song “Stay”, wowing the audience as they walked down the sides of the auditorium, then onto the stage, singing.

To wrap up the showcase, the final act was Anton Logochniak’s rendition of “My Way”. As he sang, photographs of the senior class were projected onto the stage as a tribute to the graduating Class of 2018.

Overall, the students in the showcase gave remarkable performances, a testimony to the many talents of students at Staten Island Technical High School.

 

SAT Book Review of The Month: The College Panda

The SAT is a source of anxiety for hundreds of thousands of students around the United States. Touted as one of the most important tests of a student’s life, the pressure some students feel to perform well leads to their preparation starting as early as their freshman year, loading up on books and finding the best tutors to get them through this test.

I am a firm believer in the fact that most people can perform well on standardized tests- all one needs is practice and the right tools. In my own preparation for the exam, I examined many different sources and reviews to find the most effective books. This knowledge, in addition to my observations within the tutoring company I work for, has led to my discovery of several lesser-known resources that I believe could be beneficial for those looking to prepare for the SAT.

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The College Panda by Nelson Phu

In my opinion, the College Panda Math books are suitable for anyone looking to bring their math score up into the 700s. The College Panda SAT Math Advanced Guide and Workbook,  broken down into 27 different overarching topics, covers every concept you could see on test day, providing tips and techniques I have yet to come across in any other book. The book includes easy to follow explanations in a conversational tone and provides ample practice, with dozens of chapter questions following each topic.

To supplement his workbook, Nelson Phu captures the art of SAT questions in his 10 Practice Tests for the SAT Math book. Each test, structured similarly to the actual SAT, allows you to practice the math section under test conditions, preparing you for your actual test. Furthermore, his questions, while realistic, are slightly more difficult than the actual SAT, leaving you over prepared.

From personal experience, using Phu’s book helped me work faster and prepared me for the types of questions I saw during the real test. Because he tests each concept in a variety of different scenarios, I learned to identify exactly what the question wanted from me in a matter of seconds, allowing me more time to check my work. He also provides numerous shortcuts that helped me avoid silly algebra mistakes by simplifying my work. While many people gloss over this book in favor of more well-known companies, such as Princeton, I believe that this book is well worth the $30 price tag. Whether you struggle with the basic concepts of mathematics or are simply looking to get more efficient at answering SAT math questions, the book is likely to change the way you view the SAT math section.

Disclaimer: this is my own personal experience with the book and may be subject to bias. I do not promote the purchase of this book over others and would actually recommend taking this book out from the library or borrowing from a friend to save money.

CHEMISTRY REVIEW: Atomic Model Timeline

Philosophical Atom Model

The first model of an atom dates back to the times of the ancient Greeks, when Leucippus, a Greek philosopher, first used the word “atom” (The History of the Atom, 2016). Leucippus’s model just stated that an atom is something that is indivisible and that atoms can form different kinds of elements and compounds (2016) . This idea stemmed from theoretical and philosophical thinking, with no scientific basis; therefore, this concept was not embraced until the 19th century when scientists began examining this model more closely (Atomic Structure Timeline).

Dalton Model

John Dalton was an English physicist and chemist in the 18th century that built upon of the theory made by the Greek philosophers (2016). In 1803, Dalton created the Dalton Model of the atom, also known as the Solid Sphere Model (2016). This model claimed that atoms were indivisible and identical between all elements (2016). The Solid Sphere Model also stated that atoms can combine to make more complex structures (Models of the Atom). Although now we know how flawed Dalton’s model is, it was the first truly scientific model of the atom at the time.resized_image2_82baeb3eea64ade049b4f13d3777667c

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Plum Pudding Model

The next influential model of the atom came 101 years after John Dalton’s model, in 1904 (Models of the Atom). This new model was the Plum Pudding Model, created by J.J. Thomson (Models of the Atom). He expanded on Dalton’s model by recognizing the charges in the atom, stating that atoms are mostly positive charges with smaller negative charges throughout them called electrons (2016). In his model, the atom is a spherical structure which itself is completely positive but has electrons embedded in it, thus resulting in a model that looks like plum pudding (Models of the Atom).

plum-pudding-modelJ.J_Thomson

 

Rutherford Model

The following model of the atom comes from New Zealand born-British physicist, Ernest Rutherford (2016). Rutherford performed the gold foil experiment, in which he shot alpha particles (which have a positive charge) at a gold foil and recorded the result (Atomic Structure Timeline). In his data, he found that most of the particles actually passed completely through the atom, with a few being deflected at great angles and some not passing through the atom at all (2016). These results did not make sense with respect to the Plum Pudding Model; therefore, Rutherford created his own model of the atom in 1911 (2016). This model showed the atom as mostly consisting of empty space, with a positively charged nucleus in the center and much smaller electrons around the nucleus (Models of the Atom). This was a breakthrough in the atom model, but it did not explain the movement of electrons in the atom.

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Bohr Model

Years later Danish physicist Niels Bohr modified the Rutherford Model in order to explain the movement of electrons within the atom (Atomic Structure Timeline). This model was called the Bohr Model, which is also known as the planetary model (2016). In this model, the electrons moved in orbits of fixed sizes and energies around the nucleus (Models of the Atom). This explained the emissions of spectra in some elements; however, this model did not quite make sense in respect to heavier atoms because electrons could not collapse into the nucleus in this model, despite doing so in actual atoms (2016).

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Schrödinger Model

The currently accepted model of the atom was created by Erwin Schrodinger many years later, known as the Schrodinger Model (or the Wave Mechanical Model), it states that electrons do not move in orbits around the nucleus; rather, they move in random waves in a “cloud” (Atomic Structure Timeline). This means that while it is impossible to ever know the exact location of the electron, we do know the probability of the electron being in that cloud (2016). To this day, the Wave Mechanical model of the atom is widely accepted as the closest model to an actual atom, with great evidence to support it.

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References:

  • “The History of the Atom – Theories and Models.” Compound Interest, Compound Interest, 16 Oct. 2016, www.compoundchem.com/2016/10/13/atomicmodels/.
  • Atomic Structure Timeline, atomictimeline.net/
  • “Models Of The Atom.” Properties Of Light: Revision | Geometrical Optics | Siyavula, www.siyavula.com/read/science/grade-10/the-atom/04-the-atom-02.

Microsoft DigiGirlz Trip

From May 18th to May 19th, Microsoft held another DigiGirlz event, offering an opportunity for girls to learn more about careers for women in the field of technology, interact with other inspiring women, and gain hands-on experience with different tools and new high-tech products.

The trip was divided into two different days:

On the first day of the trip, excited Tech students gathered at the Microsoft office and took part in different workshops. They were shown some of the new and impressive technology that Microsoft has developed.

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A scene from the DigiGirlz trip.

The girls also took part in a coding workshop, which encouraged them to empower themselves with the language of computers. Fun activities allowed students to explore with code and gave them a base to develop the rest of their coding superpowers on.

The last workshop was a personal learning experience, where girls were divided into smaller groups to work with professional women in a male-dominated field. They learned how to pitch themselves later in their professional career, and practiced with each other several times as well. The experience was eye-opening and helpful for the soon-to-be college students and working women.

The meeting ended with a Q&A session in which students asked all of their personal questions and curiosities to a panel of professionals who were eager to respond and encourage them. Students came out of many of the sessions inspired and motivated.

On the second day, DigiGirlz met at the Microsoft Store and were able to experience the VIP tour of the building and newest technologies and innovations as well as meet staff. Some of the experiences included playing in a new gaming room filled with equipment worth thousands of dollars, watching a 3D film in a small theater, learning about LinkedIn and how to create a professional social network, and trying out the Halolens – a new holographic computer which utilizes augmented reality.

Why Some Cancers are Hard to Treat

In mass media, we are frequently informed about treatments to diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, and Crohn’s. But rarely do we hear: “We found a cure to cancer!” So, one may wonder: what makes curing cancer such a seemingly impossible task, and what distinguishes it from other diseases?

There is one fundamental reason why cancers are difficult to eradicate: these cells adapt and evolve in response to treatment (Fodale, Pierobon, Liotta & Petricoin, 2011). Thus, even if a treatment is initially effective, its impact starts to dwindle, since the biological components that it blocks eventually “re-wire” themselves to circumvent the treatment (2011).

Chemotherapy – a method of using drugs to attack malignant (harmful) cells – is performed on 67% of all cancer patients (“Chemotherapy,” 2014). Yet, these

Figure 1. According to the diagram, tumor blood vessels have a squiggly or nonlinear path, unlike normal blood vessels, which is evidence of their highly abnormal tumor vasculature. In addition, the lack of the orange patches at the edge of the vessel represents the lack of supporting cells, caused by its hyperpermeable structure (Wilson & Brown, 2004).

drugs can be resisted by cancer cells (“House call: What is metastasis?,” 2016). For example, studies conducted by a group of scientists at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, which participates in therapeutic clinical research exploring novel treatments for cancer, show that cancer cells can travel to different parts of the human body, known as metastasis (2016). This makes it especially difficult to track down cancer cells and prevent them from spreading (2016). However, scientists have found that cancer cells use a protein called PGC-1a, which helps form new mitochondria, used to harness energy (Tan etal., 2016). Using this energy, they metastasize to different parts of the body and find a new home to live in, making it hard for scientists to track them down (2016).

Tumor cell expansion is further proliferated by its uncontrolled growth (Eales, Hollinshead & Tennant, 2016). Scientists have found that the deformed tumor blood vessels cause regions of hypoxia or oxygen-deprived conditions (2016). Hypoxia – a condition in which the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply – arises in tumors through the rapid proliferation of cancer cells, which causes the tumor to exhaust the nutrient and oxygen supply from the normal blood vessels (2016). However, the tumor-proliferating effects of hypoxia cannot be generalized because they can either have detrimental or beneficial effects depending on severity, duration, and context (2016).   

Yet there are even more ways that cancer cells can adapt: they manipulate an enzyme called PKM2 (Prescott, 2011). By keeping PKM2 levels low, the cancer cells channel incoming glucose to metabolic pathways that generate antioxidants, thereby surviving oxidative stress, the imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract their harmful effects (2011). Thus, it is hard for scientists to investigate PKM2 manipulation by cancer cells (2011).

Despite the adaptive nature of cancer, oncologists are continually learning more about cancer cells (Evan, 2014). For example, professor Gerard Evan, head of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, is studying the genes that drive the development and growth of cancer, called oncogenes (2014). To combat the disease, Evan uses genetically engineered mice, which enable him to toggle on and off tumor suppressor genes (2014). This allowed scientists to identify the most effective therapeutic targets and employ a range of molecular biology technologies to address roles played by key oncogene signaling pathways in the genesis and progression of cancers (2014). These technological advancements help develop effective treatments to combat the adaptive nature of cancer in the future.

References

 

How Did Life End Up on Earth?

By Ashley Indictor

Is Earth the only planet in the universe that contains life? Scientists and philosophers for millennia have debated how life developed on Earth, coming up with several hypotheses and theories. One possible explanation is the theory of panspermia, in which a comet or other celestial body brought life to Earth (Hardy, 2014).

Figure 2. Microscopic view of a tardigrade (Pickett, 2015)

As far as we know, no other moon or planet in our solar system (i.e., the Sun, its planets, their moons, and all asteroids, comets, and rocks) has life on it. Although moons like Titan and Enceladus could harbor life (simple organic life forms), and Mars is theorized to have once supported life, Earth is the only planet in the Solar System we can call “living” (NASA, 2017). About 4 billion years ago, Earth underwent a period of heavy bombardment where it was barraged with asteroids and comets (Kaufman, 2017). The earliest evidence of life on Earth dates back 3.83 billion years, coinciding with the period of such violent event (2017). One explanation for this eerie overlap is that one or more of these millions of comets and asteroids carried life from somewhere else and brought it to Earth when it crashed on the surface (2017).

It is not too far-fetched to believe that these lifeforms survived space’s harsh climate. After all, some organisms on Earth can survive temperatures as low as -18°C and as high as 113°C, even after being preserved in liquid nitrogen at -196°C (Joshi, 2008). Tardigrades (see Figure 2), for instance, can live in these extreme temperatures, and can even survive many days at low Earth orbit while being exposed to a space vacuum and harmful radiation (Bradford, 2017). Tardigrades are living proof that life can be carried across space and survive until it reaches a celestial body. This further indicates the possibility of life coming from somewhere else.

Figure 3. Bacterial spore (National Academy of Sciences, 2018)

An additional consideration is that bacteria could have entered Earth through bacterial spores [see Figure 3], as they can survive without nutrients (Joshi, 2008). Bacterial spores have protective bodies that allow bacteria to carry DNA while withstanding conditions that would normally kill them (Cornell, n.d.). Furthermore, bacteria are famous for their ability to survive in extreme conditions and even campuses about one-third of Earth’s biomass (total mass of organisms on Earth) (Joshi, 2008). The German Aerospace Centre found that it is possible bacterial spores can travel within comets or meteorites (2008).

Overall, we still do not know the true origin of life. While the theory of panspermia is possible, more research must be conducted to reach an answer. Perhaps it will take another thousand years before we figure it out.

 

References:

  • Bradford, A. (2017). Facts about tardigrades. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from https://www.livescience.com/57985-tardigrade-facts.html
  • Cornell. Bacterial endospores. (n.d.). Cornell University. Retrieved February 17, 2018, from https://micro.cornell.edu/research/epulopiscium/bacterial-endospores
  • Hardy, D. A., [digital image]. (2014). The Late Heavy Bombardment ends: Impact events. Retrieved April 30, 2018, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/earth/earth_timeline/late_heavy_bombardment
  • Joshi, S. (2008). Northwestern University. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from https://helix.northwestern.edu/article/origin-life-panspermia-theory
  • NASA astrobiology. (n.d.). NASA. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/news/in-search-of-panspermia/
  • Pickett, R. [digital image] (2015). National Geographic. What the world’s toughest animal is
  • really made of. Retrieved May 14, 2018, from https://news.nationalgeographic com/2015/11/151128-animals-tardigrades-water-bears-science-dna/
  • Smith, C. [digital image] (2017). National Geographic. These ‘indestructible’ animals would survive a planet-wide apocalypse. Retrieved April 30, 2018, from https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/tardigrades-water-bears-extinction-earth-science
  • National Academy of Sciences. [digital image] (2017). National Academy of Sciences Retrieved on April 30, 2018, from http://m.pnas.org/content/106/46/19334/F1.expansion.html
  • Solar System exploration: In depth. (2017). Nasa.gov. Retrieved from https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/moons/saturn-moons/in-depth/

Tips For Maintaining Good Mental Health

Maintaining good mental health is an integral component to a person’s overall health. There is often a negative stigma associated with mental health, but it is an incredibly important topic, especially in a stressful environment like observed in many high schools across the country.

Mental health includes a person’s psychological, emotional, and social well-being and can affect how someone acts and feels (What Is Mental Health?). Maintaining positive mental health allows a person to be productive and make positive contributions, big or small, to the world around them.

Here’s a list of ways to help you maintain good mental health:

1. Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep plays a critical role in good mental health. Sleeping too little can impair one’s ability to think and can increase the risk for various mental health disorders. Studies have shown that when your body goes into REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, it helps with learning and can contribute positively to emotional health (Sleep and Mental Health). This makes sleep a crucial part of maintaining strong mental health.

2. Manage Your Stress

Stress is the feeling of being under pressure and can be detrimental to your mental well-being. While some stress is good and can help with motivation, too much stress can trigger a variety of symptoms (How to Manage and Reduce Stress). For these reasons, it is important to figure out what is causing the stress and take action. In a lot of situations for high schoolers, this stress can be caused by schoolwork. This can be managed by staying organized and finding a good way to manage your time.

3. Take Time For Yourself

Even when you’re busy, it is important to take some time for yourself. Find what makes you happy and relaxed—whether that be reading a book, drawing, or riding your bike—and make sure you have time set aside once in a while to do only that. Sometimes you just need time to take care of yourself and do something you enjoy.

4. Meditate

According to Mental Health America, “Meditation can benefit people who have mental health conditions, as well as those who do not. Studies show it can also reduce depression and anxiety, and help people manage chronic pain.” Meditation is greatly beneficial to relaxation and reducing stress, so this is a good way to improve your overall mental health

5. Exercise

Exercise can have positive effects on a person’s mood. Studies have shown that a person’s mood can be enhanced just five minutes after moderate exercise (The Exercise Effect). This helps improve a person’s overall mental health and specifically can alleviate stress.

 

References:

  1. “What Is Mental Health?” Depression | MentalHealth.gov, www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/ what-is-mental-health.
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. “Sleep and Mental Health – Harvard Health.” Harvard Health Blog, www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health.
  3. “How to Manage and Reduce Stress.” Mental Health Foundation, 4 May 2018, www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-manage-and-reduce-stress.
  4. “Meditation.” Mental Health America, 4 Oct. 2016, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/meditation.
  5. “The Exercise Effect” APA, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx.

How Can Students Effectively Use Their Summers?

A common advice for underclassmen this time of year from seniors is, “Start preparing for it early.”

Take this advice to heart, underclassmen.

For students who seek experience in a specific field or the working field itself, there are many available opportunities that you cannot miss!

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For starters, students can take advantage of the Backpacks To Briefcases (B2B) meetings that are available during lunch periods, as they provide useful information for the many students who don’t have a good idea of what career or field they want to pursue and for students who may have a good idea of the major they intend to study. Asking questions and getting advice or a realistic idea of what the future holds for you is a great idea – especially with something as important as your career. B2Bs can also give you an idea of what type of schedule you may have as a clinical psychiatrist or established attorney. Perhaps you may find that being a teacher requires a lot more patience than you thought, or that you might not enjoy the lifestyle a typical dentist may live. It’s always a good idea to explore before tying yourself down to one career path. For more information on B2Bs, you can see Mr. Levine in the Room 139.

Secondly, summer is a great time to get involved in some activities without pressuring yourself to maintain academics and extracurricular activities. For example, many students take advantage of the school summer programs, the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and Ladders for Leaders, that allow students to gain work experience. These opportunities are limited to a certain number of students via lottery, which means that a seat is not guaranteed. However, there are other external programs that students can apply to if they are not selected for the school programs.

Other great opportunities include extensive programs designed for students like you: involved and eager students wanting to learn and experience a specific field. There are an incredible amount of available programs, and a great source for finding some of these programs can be your teachers! Otherwise, a little internet research can also help you find a school or organization offering opportunities for students to get involved.

Another opportunity can be in research. By reaching out to school professors or even by talking to some of your school teachers, you can find places to gain experience through lab work, research, and other involvements. Of course, internships are also a great source for experience, even if the work involves simple shadowing or paperwork. Learning about the job by watching the experts work is a great source of information that confirms your passion for a specific line of work. SERP is also a notable opportunity for students interested in research during the school year.

Image result for high school internship

These experiences are clearly wonderful opportunities for learning, but they are also great for improving social skills or communication, which means the experience can go a long way to prepare you for your future as part of the workforce even if the working experience is not specifically in your line of future career interests. Networking is a great advantage of working as well, and having connections will never hurt, especially making connections with professors capable of giving you a recommendation for college.

Lastly, don’t forget to check your school email, because any available opportunities may be shared with students by email. Activities like Science Olympiad, MakerSpace, Newspaper Committee, and Literary Magazine can also help develop interests during the school year, so check them out!

 

Russian Olympiada State Finals

What are you usually doing at 4:45 AM? On April 25th, while most of us were still sleeping, 20 dedicated students were just arriving at Tech. Why, you may ask? These students were selected to compete in the state Russian Olympiada: a yearly competition held at SUNY Albany. Competitors are separated into levels 1 through 5 based on their experience with Russian, and are further divided into native and non-native speakers. On their respective level, they must be able to answer questions about themselves, talk about Russian culture, recite poetry and speak about a story.

Competitors Kelly Chan and Rida Akhlaq getting their final moments of studying before the Olympiada begun.

As the bus left Tech bound for Albany, you’d expect many competitors to doze off and await arrival. However, nerves and excitement kept most awake as they reviewed study materials and made final preparations for the competition later that day. Sophomore Kelly Chan was reviewing the stories she could be questioned about; the end of a study process that first began in February. Kelly remarked: “For preparation I studied a little each day. There have been days when I was really tired but studying for 5 minutes is better than not studying at all. Practice is key.” With the amount of energy in the air, the three-and-a-half hour journey seemed to pass in mere minutes and soon enough, Tech’s delegation to the Russian Olympiad arrived in Albany, ready to compete.

Shortly after arriving, the competition began. Competitors waited for an event to be called for their level. They would then walk in, and complete one section of the competition: oral, civilization or reading. This process repeated itself until every student had completed every event. The environment was fast-paced and hectic, as competitors tried to fit in last moments of studying before running to compete in their event. Competitors ran in and out of rooms, letting others know if the judges were fair and what kinds of questions they’d been asked. Even though everyone was competing against each other, they all helped and supported one another as one team.

Competitors Kelly Chen and Iandra Ramos before entering the competition.

After an hour, nearly everyone was finished competing. I caught up with Kelly shortly after she completed her last event. When asked how she thought she did, she noted: “The actual process took only a few minutes. In the testing room I was polite and cheerful. It’s always important to have a good impression with anyone really, especially the judges. I think I did alright, but I guess I’ll see later”. Many shared that sentiment: at this point, there was nothing to do but wait.

At 1:00 PM, results were announced. Tech placed and won at every level we competed in.

On Level 1, Philip Dulas won first place and Jasky Karem won second

On Level 2 non-native, Kelly Chen came in first place and Scott Rappaport came in second. In Level 2 native, Andrei Klepach came in first place.

On Level 3 non-native, Jerry Li won first place and Evan Rubenstein came in second. In the heritage category, Elizabeth Nikolaeva came in first place.

At Level 4 heritage, Sophia Kobzarenko came in first place, and at Level 5 Heritage Timur Ibragimov came in first place.