ARDSLEY, N.Y. -- An idea for curing Alzheimers, a way to harness energy from walking across your kitchen floor, a patent on a newfangled mountain bike...such are some of the concepts dreamed up by -- and scientifically proven by -- a group of high school students participating in the Acorda Scientific Excellence Award .
Entering its third season, the program up till now was offered to students engaged in independent STEM research (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) in more than 100 public and private schools in Westchester and Putnam County, N.Y. , along with those that are homeschooled. Now the program is being expanded to Fairfield County, Conn.
The ASEA is sponsored by Acorda Therapeutics , a biotechnology company based in Ardsley, NY, in association with Greenwich-based Radio Host Lisa Wexler, who interviews the winners on WGCH-AM 1490, giving them the chance to explain the significance of their work to the general public.
The program is popular and growing at a rapid rate. In its first year in operation, 33 applications were received, with 23 students awarded. Last year, that number jumped to 79 applications, with 33 winners. (There is one winner a week; all of which are reviewed by a committee of Acorda scientists, outside educators, a Westchester County government representative and Wexler.)
And it all came about from a chance meeting between Wexler and Acorda CEO Ron Cohen. Wexler was at an event where Cohen was speaking and was so impressed with his enthusiasm, she asked him on her show.
"It was a wonderful serendipitous intersection of a handful of committed people looking to do the same thing at the same time. And we couldn't have gotten off the ground as quickly as we did without the assistance of Michael Blueglass, the founder of the WESEF science fair," said Wexler.
Now, Wexler said she feels like she's interviewing future Nobel Prize winners. "I guarantee some of these kids will grow to be very prominent in their fields, and it will be fun to travel back to when they were l7 and l8-years-old. In a way, they will have their own time capsule," she said.
For information, go to www.acorda.com/ScientificAward.aspx/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications are free and evaluated on a rolling admissions basis. All Westchester and Fairfield County high schoolers are eligible to apply.
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