Photo: Town of Islip
Island Hopping

National STEM Challenge champions from Brentwood HS honored by town

Brentwood Stem 1
Photo: Town of Islip

Two talented Brentwood High School seniors were recognized at an Islip Town Board meeting for their outstanding achievements in the National STEM Challenge.

Alisha Ahsan, a 17-year-old from Bay Shore, and Stephanie Pizano, an 18-year-old from Brentwood, devised innovative solutions to the pressing issue of nitrogen pollution in Long Island waters, earning them each places among the 125 champions of the prestigious competition, which honors students in grades 6-12 who have developed projects that bring about positive change to their communities or the planet.

“We are so proud of the outstanding work being done by Brentwood High School’s students and educators, and we congratulate them on their continued success,” Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said in a written statement.

Ahsan proposed a novel approach to restoring eelgrass growth in Long Island’s marine ecosystem — a method that involves gluing seeds onto live shellfish. Her project has also earned her an opportunity to present her research at the Long Island Sound Summit.

Pizano invented a groundbreaking filter designed to reduce nitrogen pollution from fertilizer runoff and septic waste. Her innovative solution not only has the potential to positively impact the water quality of Long Island’s bays and harbors, it has earned her a chance to compete in the International Science & Engineering Fair in Los Angeles as well.

The research program at Brentwood High School, led by educator and scientist Rebecca Grella, has consistently produced high-achieving students who have gone on to make significant contributions to the field of science. An ecology and evolutionary biologist with a Ph.D. from Stony Brook University, Grella has taught in Brentwood since 2002, according to her website.

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