NEW YORK, NY–The research of 11th graders Israt Ahmed and Xiao (Cathy) Zhou of Francis Lewis High School and Stuyvesant High School student Stephanie Chen helped them place third this past week at the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. The team will split a $40,000 scholarship for their work, which is thought to prove hominids migrated from Africa to Eurasia 200,000 years before scientists had previously estimated.
The teens made their discovery studying samples of teeth and tools found in France and Russia. The studentsâ€™ findings have implications in the field of evolution and in climate change research.
The students devoted months of hard workâ€”over 800 hours apiece, their advisor saidâ€”to their project, spending summer days, vacations, and weekends in the lab. Their research culminated in an 18-page research paper and a presentation at the Siemens competition.
â€œTheyâ€™re going to rewrite the history textbooks that we use in school,â€ their faculty supervisor, Dr. Bonnie Blackwell, said. â€œThese students have done a fabulous job.â€
Ahmed lists English, physics, world history, government and biology as his favorite subjects in school. His interest in government and history is evidenced by his participation in AP Government and his leadership role as President of his schoolâ€™s Global Warming Awareness Club. He is a member of the RFK Science Research Institute. He hopes to one day become both a geneticist and a neurologist in order to use the potential of stem cells to help cure diseases. In his free time he plays tennis and is involved with video editing and production. He was born in Bangladesh and speaks Bengali, Japanese, Spanish, Hindi and Latin.