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William Floyd High School Senior Named Intel Science Competition Semifinalist

Shannon Beattie, a senior at William Floyd High School, was named one of 300 semifinalists from across the nation in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search (STS), the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition.

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Shannon Beattie, a senior at William Floyd High School, named semifinalist in 2016 Intel Science Talent Search.

Photo by: WFSD.

Mastic Beach, NY - January 6, 2016 - Shannon Beattie, a senior at William Floyd High School, was named one of 300 semifinalists from across the nation in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search (STS), the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition. Shannon, 18, of Mastic, is the first student from William Floyd High School ever to enter any of the national science competitions in the three-and-a-half-year history of the fledgling William Floyd High School Research Program and the first to be selected as a semifinalist.

Shannon’s project, “Determining the Age and Provenance of Glacial Erratics on the North Shore of Long Island Based on XRF Geochronology of the Mineral Monazite to Better Understand Glacial History,” was designed to calculate the mineral’s age of crystallization of boulder samples from Wildwood and Caumsett State Parks on the north shore of Long Island. Samples were tested at the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s National Synchrotron Light Source and compared to published* ages of similar basement rock from Connecticut, where it was determined that they originated from approximately 40 miles to the north. (*Geologic Society of America Bulletin)

Video of Shannon finding out she's a semifinalist.

Shannon was extremely excited about being selected as a semifinalist and her hard work throughout her academic career has paid off. Her love for nature began when she was young going on camping trips with her family. One particular visit to the Columbia Icefield in Canada when she was 7-years old left quite the impression on her. Then when she returned 10 years later, she was alarmed by significant recession of the glacier. As a result of these experiences and her research, she hopes to pursue a college and career path in environmental science.

“I am incredibly proud of Shannon and her hard work,” said Victoria D’Ambrosia, William Floyd High School Research teacher and one of Shannon’s mentors. “Her innate critical-thinking abilities, determination, and intrinsic motivation are evident in her becoming William Floyd High School's first Intel semifinalist. I could not be more excited for her and this accomplishment.”    

Shannon’s other mentors include Dr. Antonio Lanzirotti, a geochemist from the University of Chicago, and Robert Mozer, CPG, a William Floyd Middle School science teacher.

“The William Floyd School District is exceedingly proud of Shannon for this amazing accomplishment,” said Kevin M. Coster, Superintendent of Schools, William Floyd School District. “As the first in William Floyd’s history to become an Intel semifinalist, she is blazing a trail for other students to follow. The William Floyd Science Research Program is just one of many great opportunities that we offer to our students and I look forward to seeing more great things in the future out of this wonderful program.”

The Intel Science Talent Search is the nation’s longest-running science research program for high school students with 75 years in existence. Alumni of the program include 12 Nobel Laureates, 11 National Medal of Science recipients, two Fields Medal honorees and 18 MacArthur Foundation Fellows.

For becoming a semifinalist, Shannon receives a $1,000 scholarship for herself and $1,000 for her school, as well as a chance to be one of 40 finalists selected to go to Washington D.C. to participate in final judging, displaying their work to the public and meeting with notable scientists and government leaders. Each year, Intel STS semifinalists and finalists compete for $1.6 million in awards. Finalists will be announced on Wednesday, January 20.