Irvington and Ossining students named among Regeneron finalists

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Two Westchester students are among 40 national finalists in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search.

Brooke Dunefsky of Irvington High School and Nyasha Nyoni of Ossining High School will get to participate in a finals competition from March 9-16, with more than $1.8 million in awards. Finalists were announced today.

All finalists are awarded at least $25,000, with the top 10 awards ranging from $40,000 to $250,000.

Brooke Dunefsky of Irvington High School, left, and Nyasha Nyoni of Ossining High School are finalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.
Brooke Dunefsky of Irvington High School, left, and Nyasha Nyoni of Ossining High School are finalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.

More than 1,800 students submitted original research to this year's competition, and 300 semifinalists were named earlier this month.

Dunefsky invented a biomedical device to speed the recovery of stroke patients with upper limb impairment.

Brooke Dunefsky of Irvington High School is a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.
Brooke Dunefsky of Irvington High School is a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.

"Her patented device applies the principles of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to create new pathways when others are damaged, by having the patient make specific, repetitive arm movements of variable intensity," Regeneron said in its announcement. "She made it for under $100."

Nyoni analyzed food and drink endorsements by celebrities and “relatable influencers” on Instagram.

"She showed that influencers posted more unhealthy products and more products overall than celebrities," Regeneron said. "Her findings may encourage regulation of social media marketing to underage consumers."

Ossining High School has one of the strongest science research programs in the state and has seen several students become finalists, but Nyoni is the school's first African-American finalist.

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Nyasha Nyoni of Ossining High School is a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.
Nyasha Nyoni of Ossining High School is a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.

The national finals were held annually in Washington, D.C., before the pandemic. As of Thursday, it was not yet decided whether this year's competition will take place in person or remotely.

Twenty five of this year's semifinalists came from Westchester high schools, including five from Ossining High School, four from Byram Hills High School, three from Harrison High School, two from Eastchester and Pelham Memorial high schools, and one each from Horace Greeley in Chappaqua, Edgemont, Hastings, Irvington, Mamaroneck, North Salem, Rye, Scarsdale and Somers.

Carmel High School also had one finalist.

Gary Stern is an editor/writer covering K-12 education in the Hudson Valley. Reach him at gstern@lohud.com. Twitter: @garysternNY. Click here for his latest.

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Irvington, Ossining students among Regeneron science finalists

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