Winners Announced In The Wistar Institute's Annual High School Biology Essay Contest And Fellowship Program

June 03, 1998

PHILADELPHIA, Penn. -- Each year, The Wistar Institute invites Philadelphia School District high school students to submit essays on current issues in medical science for the Institute's annual High School Biology Essay Contest. Essays are judged and winners chosen by Wistar's world-renowned scientists.

This year's grand prize essay contest winner was Frank Berardocco for his essay, The Clinical Applications for the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Phosphorous Spectroscopy in Tumor Research. Frank was given $250 and Central High School, where is a sophomore, received a $500 gift certificate for the purchase of laboratory and teaching supplies.

Andrew Read, a 9th grade student at Julia R. Masterman High School, was the second prize winner of $100 for his essay, Human Cloning. Honorable mentions, with prizes of $50 each, went to: Robyn L. Bacon, George Washington Carver High School, for Cloning; Kelly Gravuer, Central High School, for Fetal Tissue Transplants: A Controversial Miracle; Marlon Sammy, Olney High School, for Extremophiles and Extremozymes; Their Possibilities for Biomedical Research; and Deborah L. Quinn, Franklin Learning Center High School, for AIDS: The Epidemic.

Julia R. Masterman High School, which had the most essays submitted by any Philadelphia public school, was given a special award of $250 for the purchase of classroom science equipment.

Wistar's high school program also includes eight-week summer fellowships, open to both students and teachers in the Philadelphia School District. Winners of this year's summer fellowships were: Shawn Alexander, Strawberry Mansion High School; Jaime La-Verne Alford, Parkway High School; Rasheen Barber, Germantown High School; Franco Fiorini, Girard Academic Music Program; Victoria Lautman, Philadelphia High School for Girls; Feng-Yen Li, Central High School; Linda Oh, Julia R. Masterman High School; Sapna Patel, Philadelphia High School for Girls. Jon Rueckert, a teacher from West Philadelphia High School, was the recipient of the teacher fellowship.

To be considered for a fellowship, students must be in good academic standing and be recommended by their high school science teachers. Teachers must obtain the recommendation of their science department chair.

Under the supervision of experienced scientists, fellowship winners are expected to work roughly 30 hours per week in one of Wistar's research laboratories. The goal of the fellowship program is to help students and teachers connect what happens in the classroom with what occurs in a scientific research laboratory. Wistar's goal is to encourage students to pursue careers in medical research by stimulating their interest in science.

Essay contest and fellowship awards were presented at a special award ceremony by the Honorable James R. Roebuck, Representative of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's 188th District. Following the program, which featured a presentation by grand prize winner, Frank Berardocco, a reception was held in Wistar's 100 year-old atrium.

The Wistar Institute's High School Program is made possible by The Hassel Foundation, a private Philadelphia-based foundation established in 1961 by Morris Hassel. Mr. Hassel, who died in 1967, was a businessman with a desire to provide support for medical and education purposes. Trustees of The Hassel Foundation include: Ms. Andrea G. Cohen, Ms. Barbara M. Cohen, Ms. Elizabeth J. Cohen, Ms. Ellen M. Cohen, Dr. Sarle Cohen, Mr. Michael Goldberg, Mr. Andrew Goldberg, Mr. Jay L. Goldberg, Ms. Maxine Goldberg, Mr. David Khoury, Ms. Lisa Khoury, Dr. Marilyn Khoury, Michael H. Krekstein, Esquire, Dr. Ephrain H. Royfe, and Merle A. Wolfson, Esquire.

The Wistar Institute, established in 1892, was the first independent medical research facility in the country. For more than 100 years, Wistar scientists have been making history and improving world health through their development of vaccines for diseases that include rabies, German measles, infantile gastroenteritis (rotavirus), and cytomegalovirus; discovery of molecules like interleukin-12, which are helping the immune system fight bacteria, parasites, viruses and cancer; and location of genes that contribute to the development of diseases like breast, lung and prostate cancer. Wistar is a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center.

The Wistar Institute

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