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Back in March, senior Georja Fotiu made Townsend Harris history by being the first Townsend Harris student to make it to the Intel ISEF, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
To get there, Georja presented her project on the reasons behind the self-segregation of students of NYC public high schools among social groups at the NYCSEF, the New York City Science and Engineering Fair. She recalled, “I chose this topic through background research finding how segregated NYC public high schools really are; and then I chose to test if participation in sports teams or clubs affected that due to my own friendships becoming more diverse due to sports teams.”
During the NYCSEF, Georja and her classmates competed against students from across the five boroughs of New York City. The participants presented their research to expert judges in hopes of winning prizes and awards and, most importantly, entry into the Intel ISEF. Georja remarked, “I was not expecting this [to win] because I was the first THHS social science research student to get chosen… It was so hard to qualify.”
To add to her thrill concerning her advancement, Georja also won an award from the American Psychological Association for her outstanding research in the category of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
During Intel ISEF Week, Georja went to Los Angeles, California to further present her project. She remembered, “They closed out all of Universal Studios for us and included unlimited food and drinks from 6 to 12 [PM].”
On a more sentimental note, Georja described her experience, saying, “ISEF was great because I was able to see how dedicated to science and learning many students are, and through this experience I was able to make friendships with students who have such similar interests as I do.”
Georja expressed her project’s importance, saying “I hope that students in THHS will realize how lucky we are to have such a racially diverse school that still has students who have similar interests and likes as us.”