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2006-07 Winners

First Place Winners: $50,000 Scholarship

Megan M. Blewett

First Place: $50,000 Scholarship Madison High School Madison, New Jersey

A Space/Time Epidemiological Comparison of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

"What is so unique about the YES Competition is that everyone shares a genuine interest in improving public health. The focus among the finalists and judges is less on the competition and more on building a basis for a healthier world."

Megan first read about MS when she was in the sixth grade, and began mapping its distribution in the eighth grade. After hearing about the commonalities between MS and ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease), she decided to map both diseases to examine their distributions. Megan's research shows a common geographic pattern of MS and ALS in the United States. Active in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and a regular speaker at MS fundraising events, she believes her research may shed light on a common environmental factor or trigger for the two diseases.

Megan says that the YES Competition showed her the need for young people to pursue careers in medicine, and that solving the health problems of tomorrow will demand the efforts of today's brightest minds. Megan is fluent in Chinese, and her hobbies include playing the flute and piano, writing fiction, playing tennis, and running. She has participated in numerous science fairs and placed seventh in the Intel Science Talent Search this year. She hopes to continue researching MS and Lou Gehrig's disease until the causes and cures are found. Megan plans to earn an M.D. and Ph.D. to become both a researcher and a doctor.

A Space/Time Epidemiological Comparison of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common primary neurological disease among young adults. Signs of MS include neural inflammation and demyelination within the central nervous system (CNS). Amotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is also a demyelinating disease. This study applies a new paradigm in spatial statistics, called comparative space/time epidemiology, in order to compare the geographic distributions of MS and ALS. As recent studies have found that MS incidence has increased by nearly 50 percent since 1982, investigating this disease is of great importance to public health. In addition, growing evidence suggests that MS is influenced by an environmental agent. Thus, spatial statistics and epidemiology can provide insight into MS that more conventional methods cannot. This study uses three areas of statistics to investigate co-occurrence of MS and ALS: descriptive spatial statistics, nonspatial correlation/multiple regression, and comparative cluster analysis. The results show both a visual overlap between MS and ALS and highly significant co-occurrence (p<0.001). In addition, ALS correlates with latitude (p<0.001); previous studies in smaller geographic areas have found the opposite to be true. This study spans the entire United States, an area large enough for latitudinal investigation. Finally, cluster analysis reveals that both high and low clusters of MS and ALS coincide. High clusters are found primarily along the Eastern seaboard, around the lower Great Lakes, and along the northern Pacific coast. Two controls were used: viral hepatitis and external cause of death. Neither produced significant correlations with MS, and the clusters did not coincide. Therefore, MS and ALS co-occur across the United States; these results suggest MS and ALS are influenced by a common environmental agent.

William Slack

William Slack

First Place: $50,000 Scholarship Decatur High School Decatur, Georgia

Teen Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Use: A Social Network Examination

"I think many answers to questions in health can be found by doing a social examination into why people make the unhealthy choices they do, as well as why certain advertising is so effective, and how to counter the factors that make a population unhealthy."

Developing a highly innovative social networking analysis method, Will found that high school students' levels of alcohol use tend to be similar within the same group of friends and tend to take place in larger groups. Marijuana and tobacco use, however, tend to be more individualistic and appear to occur in smaller groups. Will believes his findings can be used to better understand teen substance abuse behaviors and shape future interventions around the issues of drugs and peer pressure.

Professionally, Will wants to look at how technology affects social relationships and health, and how scientific research and its ramifications can interact with the public. "I feel there is not a strong interface between science and the public, such that often clear science can be confused by those who oppose its conclusions." Will's hobbies include playing and composing on the piano, and keeping up to date with political news events. He is a member of the National Honor Society, is active in his church youth program, and is a mock trial captain and student body treasurer at his school. He has placed at the Georgia Governor's Honors Program in Chemistry. Will plans to attend Williams College and study sociology or political science.

Teen Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Use: A Social Network Examination


Substance use and abuse is a recurring problem in secondary schools. Alcohol use can lead to alcoholism and addiction, and driving under the influence of alcohol can be deadly. Marijuana (or cannabis) fundamentally alters the user's mental state and can act as a "gateway drug" to other more dangerous substances. Tobacco has a very high risk of dependency and contributes to multiple health problems, including cancer. Hard drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamines, have many harmful effects physically and psychologically and easily lead to addiction. The most common form of introduction of these to minors is through their peers. This study aimed to find if an analysis of usage through a secondary school social network was possible, and if so, how usage spread and manifested itself in such a network. Using a survey system for students from grades 9-12, usage and social connections were analyzed. The data showed that the usage was socially related and the usage of each substance was itself manifested differently within the context of the social network. The study showed that alcohol use is often homogenous within a peer group, that marijuana use exists often in small groups, that tobacco use exists most often in pairs of friends, and that hard drug use, while rare, is evident in all parts of the social network. This study suggests how drug, alcohol, and tobacco education can be targeted to the specific way that particular kind of usage spreads and manifests. With additional studies, more detailed conclusions can be found about usage, especially if those studies are within different schools. Each school can develop its own program to discourage substance abuse through programs for high school students and also in drug and alcohol education for younger children who have yet to reach middle school.

Second Place Winners: $35,000 Scholarship

Jessica Nussbaum

Jessica Nussbaum

Second Place: $35,000 Scholarship Roslyn High School Roslyn, New York

The Impact of Anti-Alcohol Presentations on Teens' Perceptions and Consumption of Alcohol

"I really enjoyed hearing about the work my peers have been doing and found some of the topics incredibly interesting. I am now seriously considering epidemiology as a career path."

Jessica first became interested in her topic when she found an article on social norms campaigns and how they have been used in college contexts. She was curious if the message would be effective in a high school setting. Jessica investigated the effectiveness of traditional, "fear-based" anti-alcohol messages, compared with messages based on actual student usage, finding the latter had a greater effect on decreasing teenage alcohol consumption. She also studied students' self-reported drinking behaviors and their perceptions of drinking behaviors of peers. Summarizing her findings, Jessica said, "My work indicates that social norms messages may be effective in deterring teen alcohol consumption but that some commonly used types of anti-alcohol messages might actually promote teens' use of alcohol."

Jessica belongs to local school and community based programs including Youth Against Cancer and the Principal's Advisory Council. She also contributes to the school's newspaper. Her hobbies include reading and exercising. Jessica will attend Cornell University in the fall and plans to major in policy analysis and management.

The Impact of Anti-Alcohol Presentations on Teens' Perceptions and Consumption of Alcohol


This study explored the relationship between students' alcohol use and their perceptions of their friends' and larger peer group's use. In addition, it investigated whether a social norms-based anti-alcohol message would be more effective in changing students' alcohol-related attitudes and behaviors, than a traditional approach that focuses simply on the dangers of alcohol or a message that urged students to resist peer pressure to drink. High school students in health classes were surveyed about their perceptions of alcohol consumption and personal drinking habits. They then viewed one of the three anti-alcohol PowerPoint presentations and took posttest surveys, immediately and 24 days after viewing the presentation. Participants' self-reported drinking behaviors were found to be more closely related to those of their close friends than to their peers. The first posttest showed that students who viewed the social norms presentation reported decreased perceptions of the number of peers who drink, while students in the other two groups experienced an increase of perceptions of these numbers. At the second posttest, the effect on perceptions of peers' drinking was similar, although smaller. In addition, students who viewed the social norms or control presentations perceptions of peers' drinking frequency decreased, while students in the resist pressure group's perceptions of peers' drinking frequency increased. The presentations did not significantly decrease participants' self-reported drinking behavior. Implications are discussed.

Julie Rechel

Julie Rechel

Second Place: $35,000 Scholarship Thomas Worthington High School Worthington, Ohio

A Comparison of Practice and Competition Related Injuries Among High School Athletes Participating in Nine Sports During the 2005-06 School Year

"My lifelong enjoyment of athletics inspired me to pursue a research project that could lead to a better understanding of athletic injuries with aims to decrease injury rates among my peer student-athletes."

A three-sport student athlete, who is ranked number four nationally as a junior elite triathlete, Julie studied the body site, severity, and diagnosis of sports injuries for athletes participating in nine leading high school sports. She says she chose her topic because she is passionate about both sports and epidemiology, so she found a project that would blend these two interests. As an athlete, she has noticed disparities between competition and practice related injuries and wanted to investigate these differences in more depth. Julie studied student athletes at 100 different schools, analyzing data from 4,350 injury reports, to compare the rate of competition injury versus practice injury. She believes her findings could be used by coaches and students to increase injury awareness and prevent potential sports injuries.

Julie has participated in a variety of science competitions earning awards in several state championships. Her hobbies include scrapbooking and scuba diving, and she is active in church based activities. Julie will attend the University of Richmond this fall and plans to major in biology, with a concentration in neuroscience.

A Comparison of Practice and Competition Related Injuries Among High School Athletes Participating in Nine Sports During the 2005-06 School Year.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to calculate rates and characterize the general epidemiology of body site, severity, and diagnosis, of injury in practice and competition related injuries in nine high school sports. Methods: Data on high school sports injuries collected over the 2005-06 school year via High School RIO™ were analyzed to calculate rates and describe patterns. Results: During the 2005-06 school year, 100 high schools submitted 4,350 injury reports resulting from football, boys' and girls' soccer, volleyball, boys' and girls' basketball, wrestling, baseball, and softball. The rate of injury per 1,000 athlete-exposures was higher in competition (4.63) compared to practice (1.69) (RR=2.73, 95% CI:2.58-2.90). Competition related injuries (17.7%) were more likely to be to the head/face/neck than practice related injuries (11.0%) (IPR=1.75; 95% CI: 1.73-1.76; p<0.01). Competition related injuries (12.0%) were more likely than practice related injuries (6.9%) to result in an end to the athlete's season or career (IPR=1.73; 95% CI: 1.36-2.21; p<0.01). Competition related injuries were more likely to result in concussions (IPR=2.02, 95% CI: 2.00-2.04, p<0.01) than practice related injuries, especially in boys' soccer (IPR=6.93, 95% CI: 6.64-7.24, p<0.01). Conclusions: With rising participation in high school sports, it is crucial to examine risk factors by exposure type in athletes to make suggestions for better injury prevention at the high school level. Both coaches and players should have increased awareness of the potential for athletic injuries in order to ensure more effective injury prevention.

Third Place Winners: $20,000 Scholarship

Sarah Silverstein

Sarah Silverstein

Third Place: $20,000 Scholarship Patrick Henry High School San Diego, California

A Longitudinal Study of Stress in First-Year Dental Students

"I meet many college students who are applying to dental school. While the application process is no doubt a stressful experience, I noticed that students seem stressed after they were accepted. This led me to do a project to examine the change in stress over time, and to see if the amount of stress students experience negatively affects their performance."

Sarah's project represents an investigation into a real-life problem. She feels that first-year dental students may be uniquely affected by stress. This is because they experience various life changes, such as the need to move, leave friends and family, and make new friends—as well as worry about finances and insecurities concerning their ability to do well in class. In her study of nearly 300 first-year dental students at four dental schools, Sarah found extremely high levels of stress. Sarah says that, "Knowledge of how stress affects performance and health, and how it changes over time, can be used by schools to counsel first-year students and to stimulate the implementation of stress-reduction programs."

Sara holds membership and leadership roles in numerous school and community based organizations, and has participated in multiple state and national science competitions. She has a variety of hobbies, including reading, photography, ceramics, swimming, and dancing. Sarah will be attending Nova Southeastern University in the fall. She is enrolling in the program for dentistry and will major in biology. Sarah plans to have a career as an orthodontist.

A Longitudinal Study of Stress in First-Year Dental Students


Objective: Life changes and daily hassles lead to stress. This longitudinal study tests the hypotheses that stress in first-year dental students will negatively affect performance and health, and that the amount and sources of stress will change over time. Methods: Twelve U.S. dental schools were contacted; 4 participated. Students completed the Dental Environment Stress (DES) scale, Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Stress Rating and demographic questions at the start of school (Time 1); 11.7 weeks later (Time 2); and 1 year later (Time 3), when first-year grade point average (GPA), illnesses, health ratings, and frequency of symptoms were also assessed. Results: Of 407 first-year students, 296 (186 men, 110 women) responded at Times 1 and 3; 205 responded all three times. Stress scores were negatively correlated with GPA (p=.006 for DES; p=.042 for PSS; p=.002 for stress rating) and with physical and emotional health ratings (ps .002), but positively associated with numbers of illnesses (p<.05), symptoms (p<.0001) and symptom frequency (ps<.05). Stress was higher at Time 3 than 1 (p<.0001 for DES; p=.0004 for PSS), and varied by school (p<.0001). Women (p<.01), younger (p<.003) and single students (p<.03) had higher stress scores at Time 1, but not Time 3. Ratings for DES items related to school work were high at Time 1 and increased at Time 3 (ps<.0001); items related to school atmosphere had low ratings at Time 1 but had large increases over time (ps<.0001). Conclusions: Stress increased over time and had detrimental effects on performance and health. Variation between schools may reflect different teaching methods. Changes in sources of stress may reflect the different contributions of anticipatory and situational stress. First-year dental students may benefit from stress reduction programs.

Paul Welle

Paul Welle

Third Place: $20,000 Scholarship Statesboro High School Statesboro, Georgia

A Study of the Effectiveness of Lifestyle Habits and Coping Strategies on Stress Tolerance in College Students by Race and Gender
A Study of the Effectiveness of Lifestyle Habits and Coping Strategies on Stress Tolerance in College Students by Race and Gender

"I really enjoyed meeting the surgeon general and getting to hear him speak. YES has shown me how to analyze problems from a scientific standpoint. I will retain this skill, even if I don't continue in health research."

Recognizing that college students, particularly college freshmen, face increased stress from new social situations and heavier academic workloads, Paul examined the differences in how male and female, and Caucasian and African American students, suffer from and cope with stress. Finding that gender and race do indeed affect how one deals with stress, Paul believes his research can help students better handle the day-to-day stresses they face.

Paul has competed in state science fairs and the Science Olympiad. He belongs to school and civic organizations, and his hobbies include running and reading. He will attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall and plans to major in chemistry, biology, or international affairs.

A Study of the Effectiveness of Lifestyle Habits and Coping Strategies on Stress Tolerance in College Students by Race and Gender


The purpose of this study was to determine if the effectiveness of certain lifestyle habits/coping strategies on stress tolerance differs by race and gender in young college students. College students, especially freshmen, are expected to handle a more difficult academic workload at a faster pace, while simultaneously adapting to a new social situation with little supervision or structure (Missouri AHEAD, 2007). This change undermines their current environment and removes most of their stress-coping mechanisms. Research has begun to suggest that stress responses might vary by gender and race (Taylor et al, 2000; Ulbrich,Warheit, & Zimmerman, 1989). This led this researcher to believe that these groups might employ different coping mechanisms, with varying effectiveness. To test this, 459 randomly chosen college students were given an instrument comprised of three established surveys of stressors and symptoms, 20 lifestyle habits/coping strategies, and demographics. Stress tolerance scores were calculated, and subjects divided into high and low stress tolerance groups, based upon scores. Statistical differences were determined by chi-square and odds ratio reported with 95% confidence intervals. Seven factors (out of 20) were significantly associated with high stress tolerance for males and 12 for females. Of these, five were commonly shared. One common factor was associated with low stress tolerance. Whites had 13 factors significantly associated with high stress tolerance and one with low. Blacks had only 3 factors significantly associated with high stress tolerance and one with low; 2 of these were shared by both race groups. Differences in frequencies, types, and relative importance of employed strategies strongly suggest that gender and race cope differently and that the current "one size fits all" stress intervention programs may not be effective.

Dalene Cook

Dalene Cook

National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship Seneca High School Seneca, Missouri

How Sweet It Is: The Influence of Taste Perception and Sensitivity on Food Choice Based on Taste Status
How Sweet It Is: The Influence of Taste Perception and Sensitivity on Food Choice Based on Taste Status

"I will never forget all the amazing people at the competition. After listening to the speakers and hearing what epidemiology is really about, I have an entirely new outlook on the world. I know that we can help the world and that we can do so much good."

Dalene, a confessed picky eater, investigated whether taste sensitivity to sweet and bitter was related to food choice and body mass index (BMI). She did some research, and found that people could be categorized into certain taste status categories. Then she wondered if a person's taste status could affect BMI and the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese. With this research, Dalene believes that food scientists and manufacturers will see that taste status does affect how sweeteners and foods are preferred by different types of tasters. This information can be used to make healthy foods more attractive to consumers.

Dalene has competed in state science fairs and is a member of the National Honor Society and her school's Student Council. She plays the saxophone and enjoys reading, volleyball, track, and spending time with her friends. Dalene plans to become a doctor and has not yet decided on which school she will attend when she graduates from high school next year.

How Sweet It Is: The Influence of Taste Perception and Sensitivity on Food Choice Based on Taste Status


Is taste sensitivity linked to the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes? Can taste screening be used as a diagnostic tool for determining a person's likelihood of becoming obese or diabetic? These questions were addressed in this research. In order to find the answers, 251 subjects—ranging in age from 11 to 62 years old—tasted seven different sugars and sweeteners, and rated them on a labeled magnitude scale (according to how bitter, metallic, and sweet they were) and ranked each for preference. Subjects' taste status as nontaster, taster or supertaster was determined by counting papillae on the tongue. A questionnaire determined the subjects' family history of type 2 diabetes. Subjects' body mass index (BMI) and percent body fat were measured to classify them as overweight or obese. Subjects were divided into various categories based on age, taste status, and weight. Statistical analyses were run to determine if there was a link between sweet preference, taste status, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Supertasters ranked sweetness intensity as higher for sucrose and fructose and could more acutely detect metallic and bitter tastes in sweeteners. Statistics showed there was no significant difference among the various tasters and sugar preference. Also there was no correlation between taster status and obesity or type 2 diabetes. With these findings, it can be concluded that taste status would not be a good tool to use when detecting the likelihood of becoming obese or developing type 2 diabetes.

Mio Frisk

Mio Frisk

National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship Menlo-Atherton High School Atherton, California

Examining the Correlation between Physical Activity, Body Mass Index, and Amenorrhea in Young Women

"There are many possible explanations for why a woman would miss her period, but it is often associated with a low body weight and high level of physical activity. My study found that young women with this condition do have a lower average body mass index and are more active than those who do not have amenorrhea."

Mio's topic is based on personal experience. She used to dance almost 25 hours per week, but has since had to stop because she was affected by amenorrhea. She thought it would be interesting to see if high activity level was really associated with amenorrhea, and then inform the public that exercise does come with some risks if taken to the extreme. Mio examined the impact of body weight and physical activity on young women's menstrual cycles. Surveying 200 girls at her high school, Mio found that high levels of physical activity and low body weight were associated with amenorrhea or missed periods. She hopes that potential health problems resulting from amenorrhea can be avoided if women are more informed about the risks of maintaining a low body weight and exercising excessively.

About her experience at the YES Competition, Mio says, "The whole experience was one of the most memorable I have ever had, but I mostly enjoyed meeting and presenting my research to both people my own age and professionals who had the same interests as me." Mio enjoys teaching dance classes and has taught English to students in Japan during her summer break. She plans to major in biology at Stanford University or the University of California, Berkeley, and will continue on to medical school.

Examining the Correlation Between Physical Activity, Body Mass Index, and Amenorrhea in Young Women


Excessive exercise and a low body weight are thought to be associated with amenorrhea. Surveys distributed to 202 sophomore, junior, and senior girls were analyzed in order to investigate the relationship between menstrual regularity, physical activity, and body mass index (BMI). However, the 22.77% of subjects who reported having taken oral contraceptives, and the 0.99% of subjects under 16 years of age and who reported that they had not begun menstruating, were removed from the final analysis to eliminate lurking variables. Of the remaining 154 subjects, 29.87% reported having irregular menstruation, while 14.94% have secondary amenorrhea. Subjects with irregular periods have a current mean BMI 1.13 points lower (p=0.024), and activity index 114.47 points higher (p=0.113) than those who report having regular periods. The difference in subjects with amenorrhea and subjects without amenorrhea is exaggerated with a current mean BMI 1.9 points lower (p=9.97*10-5) and activity index 217.11 points higher (p=0.037) in subjects with amenorrhea. When investigating these subjects' BMI and activity index at the time they missed their period, the difference in BMI was smaller (1.09 points), but the difference in activity index was greater (643.99 points). These results suggest that long and intense exercise and a low body weight can be disruptive to a young woman's menstrual cycle, indicating that students should be taught the risks of excessively high physical activity and low body weight.

Charles Hyman

Charles Hyman

National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship Bellaire Senior High School Bellaire, Texas

"All-you-can-eat" Buffets and Obesity

"Education programs to prevent obesity should include the risks of eating at all-you-can-eat buffets and legal regulation of all you can eat buffets should be considered."

Charles decided on his topic because he frequently eats at buffets and has noticed a significant amount of obese diners. His innovative and scientifically rigorous study compared patrons of all-you-can-eat buffets with those visiting sit-down restaurants in the same geographic regions and price ranges. He found that obesity was substantially more prevalent at all-you-can-eat buffets and that prevalence varied by ethnicity. Charles said his research could impact the messages in future anti-obesity health interventions.

The YES Competition has changed Charles's life in a variety of ways. "Now I always have epidemiology in the back of my mind," he says. "Whenever I hear someone say something causes something else, I always ask myself whether it is cause or correlation and think of possible confounders." Charles is a member of several organizations including the National Honor Society. His hobbies include basketball and football. Charles has not yet determined which school he will attend, but intends to major in biology and will keep epidemiology in his career plans.

"All-You-Can-Eat" Buffets and Obesity


Context: Obesity has become a major public health problem in the United States. Large portion sizes of fattening food in restaurants are a possible contributing factor. All-you-can-eat buffets have become common, but their role in obesity has not been studied in decades. Objective: Compare the rates of obesity in patrons of all-you-can-eat buffets to a control restaurant. Design, Setting, Subjects: All-you-can-eat buffets were enumerated in four adjacent zip codes. A nearby non-buffet restaurant was identified that had same cuisine type and price range. At similar times of day and day of week, all patrons in the restaurants were measured with a validated rating instrument, the figure rating scale (FRS). Four pairs of restaurants were studied. Across the pairs, a total of 408 persons were rated; 40% African American, 31% non-Hispanic white, and 23% Hispanic. Main Outcome Measure: Obesity, defined by body mass index (BMI) ?30, which correlates to ?5 on FRS. Results: Overall, there was a much higher prevalence of obesity in the buffets (p<0.001). The prevalence of obesity was from two to four times higher in the buffets, compared to their controls. When stratified by gender and race/ethnicity, the obesity remained much more common in buffets. The same was observed in every age strata, except the small number of subjects under the age of 20. Conclusions: Obese people patronize all-you-can-eat buffets. The role of buffets in causing or maintaining obesity warrants further study.

Seth Levine

Seth Levine

National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship William A. Shine Great Neck High School South Great Neck, New York

Fast-Food and Obesity in New York City Neighborhoods: A Statistical Approach

"The YES Competition was an unbelievable experience. The speakers' strong emphasis on prevention really changed my view on the world. This idea of prevention was stressed so much throughout the weekend and has really changed the way I look at situations."

Recognizing that obesity is a problem in today's society, Seth became interested in the relationship between fast-food and obesity after reading numerous newspaper articles relating the two. An active student-athlete, Seth investigated whether the presence of fast-food restaurants in New York City contributes to obesity, particularly in low-income and African-American neighborhoods. As part of his work, Seth mapped the distribution of fast-food restaurants in New York City neighborhoods. "There are many interrelated factors that contribute to an individual becoming obese," Seth said. "It is the interrelation of ethnicity, individual behavior, and environment." Seth thinks that it is important to identify what neighborhoods are most at risk, in order to develop a rational approach to combat obesity.

Regarding the YES Competition, Seth says, "I got to meet so many great people from all over the country. I never imagined I would be able to present my research to a full auditorium of people and professionals in the field. It was an exhilarating and inspiring experience that I will not forget. The whole weekend just being surrounded by motivated students and people was truly amazing." Seth has competed in several regional science competitions. He enjoys soccer, basketball, and track and is on the Math Team. Seth will attend the engineering school at the University of Pennsylvania and plans to combine his interests in science, math, public health, and business into a rewarding career.

Fast-Food and Obesity in New York City Neighborhoods: A Statistical Approach


Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in America. More than 30 percent of adults nationwide are now classified as obese. Environmental factors may contribute to the increasing prevalence of obesity. Over the last 20 years, America's dependence on fast-food restaurants has grown; the United States spends over $110 billion on fast-food per year and the number of fast-food restaurants now exceeds 280,000. This study examined the relationship between obesity and fast-food density, fast-food per capita, ethnicity, and poverty, in 22 neighborhoods in New York City. A greater fraction of the residents are overweight and obese in neighborhoods that are predominantly African American and have a high percentage of individuals living under the poverty level, than those in predominantly white and wealthier neighborhoods. There was also a greater fast-food presence per capita in predominantly African American neighborhoods. The percent of the population that is living under poverty and the percent that is African American are strong predictors for the occurrence of overweight and obesity rates. However, the inclusion of fast-food per capita improves the predictive power of the model. Interestingly, fast-food density (restaurants per square mile) was found to have no correlation with obesity or overweight rates in the 22 neighborhoods examined. There is no simple solution for obesity, but a better understanding of the environmental factors that are correlated with high rates of obesity provides a stronger basis for rational intervention to control this debilitating epidemic.

Kelsey Miller

Kelsey Miller

National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship Swink High School Swink, Colorado

A Study of Early-Morning Breakfast Habits of Teens and Their Midmorning Blood Sugar Levels

"The research results reinforced the importance of eating a healthy breakfast for many reasons including feeling better, optimizing learning opportunities in school, and improving health. If high school students and others can see in a concrete way the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast, then perhaps some will begin to make better breakfast choices. Our school cafeteria has started offering better breakfast options since the study."

After hearing that her school nurse saw an increase in the number of students complaining about headaches and an inability to concentrate mid-morning, Kelsey wanted to explore whether or not breakfast habits were related to these symptoms. She tested mid-morning blood sugar levels of students to examine the effects of students eating breakfast at home, at school, or not at all, respectively.

Her research found that eating a sugary, simple carbohydrate breakfast, or skipping breakfast, resulted in a wide range of mid-morning blood sugars. It was less beneficial to students' health than eating a complex carbohydrate, high-protein breakfast, which resulted in steady, normal mid-morning blood sugars. Kelsey developed an educational brochure for families that is now being used by the county health department and a local hospital.

Kelsey says that, "The YES Competition has opened my eyes to the scope of research that has been done and still needs to be done. I have learned so much through the whole experience, not only about research, but also public speaking and the field of medicine." Her hobbies include volleyball, basketball, and track. She is involved in numerous organizations and clubs. Kelsey plans on attending Colorado State University, where she will study biomedical sciences.

A Study of Early-Morning Breakfast Habits of Teens and Their Midmorning Blood Sugar Levels


In our small community, it was brought to my attention by the school nurse that students were complaining of headaches, tiredness, and an inability to concentrate midmorning. This poses quite a large problem since many of our tests (such as the Colorado Student Assessment Program and the ACT) are taken in the morning, as well as many of our more difficult educational classes. I decided to further research the effect that different breakfast choices have on adolescents' blood sugars in the midmorning hours. I used a participatory action research format, where 210 secondary students were surveyed and 30 voluntary students (varying by age and gender) were divided into three different study groups to monitor blood sugar. One group of 10 students ate a school breakfast every morning. Another group of 10 students ate a high protein, complex carbohydrate, breakfast at home. The last group of 10 students ate no breakfast. For 18 school days, five testers proceeded with the testing of blood sugar levels using glucometers. The study showed significant difference between the blood sugar levels of the school-breakfast-eaters and the no-breakfast-eaters, as well as the home-breakfast-eaters and the no-breakfast-eaters. I set out to prove that what students eat affects blood sugar, affecting the ability to focus and stay alert in those crucial midmorning hours. Our research proves that eating a healthy breakfast is indeed essential to maintaining a consistent midmorning blood sugar.

Justin Petrillo

Justin Petrillo

National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship Union County Magnet High School Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Personal and Ambient Concentrations of PM2.5 in Camden, New Jersey

"I wanted to study a particular air pollutant that hadn't been looked at much before. I also wanted to apply the statistics I had learned, in order to help people with health inequities."

Justin was very interested in the effects of pollution, especially PM2.5. He wanted to use scientific research to better the lives of people and reduce their health risks. Justin examined air pollution levels in and around Camden. More specifically, he detected the presence of dangerous air particles, PM2.5, in several area neighborhoods and explored their impact on health. He found that the Waterfront South area of Camden, an area with a high density of factories, was a "hotspot" for PM2.5 concentrations. Justin noted that the health effects of PM2.5 still are not well known, but his research has highlighted those parts of Camden that must be investigated further to reduce health threats.

Justin has participated in numerous science competitions and is a member of many clubs, including the Robotics, Calculus, and Business Clubs. He enjoys playing jazz guitar and piano, and reading about a variety of topics. Justin has been accepted at several institutions, but has not yet made a final decision on where he will attend college. He plans to major in math, physics, or economics and expects to make research his career path. Due to his experience at the YES Competition, Justin says, "I am now considering going into epidemiology, where I can use my mathematical abilities to help people."

Personal and Ambient Concentrations of PM2.5 in Camden, New Jersey


The purpose of this study was to measure the ambient concentrations and personal exposure levels of fine particles (PM2.5) in Camden, NJ. There are over 50 factory sources and a high concentration of diesel trucks within one kilometer (km) of the Waterfront South (WFS) area. It was believed that this area was a "hotspot" for PM2.5 concentrations, due to its proximity to the sources. Another area, Copewood/Davis Streets (CDS), located three kms from the local sources, was hypothesized to have lower ambient and personal concentrations. To test this, personal samplings were conducted using a sample population of 100 people. These personal and ambient measurements were sampled for 24 hours using active filters during two seasons (winter and summer), times of the week (weekend and weekday), and location (WFS and CDS). The relationship between personal exposures and ambient concentrations was identified, as well as the variations in season, time of the week, and location. A relationship between personal and ambient samples was evident during the summer. WFS proved to be a hotspot because it has a significantly higher ambient concentration than CDS. The local sources are thus the causes of the higher ambient concentrations. The personal exposures are the same in both locations, due to the dependence of personal exposure on activities, not necessarily on ambient concentrations. The personal exposures in WFS in the winter were higher than in the summer. There was no significant difference between weekend and weekday concentrations. Altogether, the residents of WFS have greater health risks, due to their higher personal and ambient concentrations.

2006-07 Regional Finalists

Congratulations to the 2006-07 Regional Finalists who competed in Washington, D.C. from April 13-16, 2007.


Aliko Carter, The College Prepatory School, Oakland, "Driving While Young: A Descriptive Analysis of Factors Associated with Compliance/Non Compliance with California's Driver's License Law"

Rebecca Chen, Mission San Jose High School, Fremont, "Epidemiological study of self-induced vomiting behaviors at Mission San Jose High School"

Mio Frisk, Menlo-Atherton High School, Atherton, "Examining the Correlation Between Physical Activity, Body Mass Index, and Amenorrhea in Young Women"

Jaye Kasper, Milken Community High School, Los Angeles, "The Religiosity, Parenting Self-Efficacy, Depression and Anxiety of HIV Positive Mothers and Their Children"

Sarah Silverstein, Patrick Henry High School, San Diego, "A Longitudinal Study of Stress in First Year Dental Students"

Sanghamitra Sinha, Beverly Hills High School, Beverly Hills, "Excess Antibiotic Usage in Early Childhood: Relationship to Health Status during Adolescence"

Elizabeth Wong, Modesto High School, Modesto, "A Survey Study of the Correlation Between the Severity of the Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis and Chronic Psychological Stress"

Brandon Woolsey, Chico Senior High School, Chico, "Application of the Moderation-Mediation Model to Explain the Relationship between Obesity and Depression in Adolescents"


Kelsey Miller, Swink High School, Swink, "A Study of Early-Morning Breakfast Habits of Teens and Their Mid-Morning Blood Sugar Levels"

Stacey Squatrito, Pine Creek High School, Colorado Springs, "Exercise as a Risk Factor for Developing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in High School Students"


Kerry Morrison, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, "Adolescent Sleep Deficits Invite Innovative Research: The Study of Circadian Phase Preference Delay"


Brian Clement, Lake Brantley High School, Altamonte Springs, "Prevalence and Characterization of Primary Drug Resistance in Individuals with Newly Diagnosed HIV Infection"

Chloe Golden, American Heritage, Plantation, "Driving Characteristics of Teenagers which affect Accident and Mortality Rates"


Frederic Lu, Joseph Wheeler High School, Marietta, "Prevalence of Human Boca Virus in the United States"

William Slack, Decatur High School, Decatur, "Teen Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Use: A Social Network Examination"

Paul Welle, Statesboro High School, Statesboro, "A Study of the Effectiveness of Lifestyle Habits and Coping Strategies on Stress Tolerance in College Students by Race and Gender"


Joshua Busse, Iolani School, Honolulu, "HPV and Cervical Cancer Prevention: A Comparative Generational Study Quantifying the Efficacy of an Informational Brochure at Improving Knowledge and an Analysis of how this Knowledge Affects HPV Vaccine Acceptance"


Cara Magnabosco, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, Indianapolis, "Predictors and Outcomes of Abnormal Pulmonary Tests in Subjects Awaiting Liver Transplantation"


Nisha Shah, Wichita High School East, Wichita, "Noncompliance in Adolescent Population for Taking Daily Medication"

Chantz Thomas, Smoky Valley High School, Lindsborg, "The Effects of the Use of Laparoscopic Technique on the Frequency of Surgical Site Infections in Patients Undergoing Cholecystectomies


Adharsh Ponnapakkam, Benjamin Franklin Senior High School, New Orleans, "Effects of Stress after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on Pubertal Disorders in Children"


Ashley Griswold, Walt Whitman High School, Bethesda, "Students Drink Knowing the Risk Factors"

Casey Jao, River Hill High School, Clarksville, "Developing Statistical Models to Predict Liver Fibrosis in HCV-Monoinfected and HCV-HIV-Coinfected Hemophiliacs"

Zhao Lan, Winston Churchill High School, Potomac, "Genetic variation in Catechol-O-Methyltransferase (COMT) and Obesity in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial"

Elizabeth Seaman, Saint Mary's High School, Annapolis, "Teen Drivers Knowledge about Actions in Emergency Driving Situations"


Riva Shah, Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center, Kalamazoo, "An Epidemiological Study of Depression-Awareness amongst High School Students and Teachers"

Sarah Veeck, Loy Norrix High School/ Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center, Kalamazoo, "Factors Affecting the Intent of Female Teenagers to Obtain the HPV Vaccine "


Alexander Ryu, Mayo High School, Rochester, "Impact of Body Mass Index on Hypertension Control in a Salvation Army Free Clinic Population"


Dalene Cook, Seneca High School, Seneca, "How Sweet It Is: The Influence of Taste Perception and Sensitivity on Food Choice Based on Taste Status"

North Carolina

Mark Draelos, The Early College at Guilford, Greensboro, "Does At-Risk Photobehavior Lead to Atypical Nevi in Adolescents and Young Adults?"

Bo Zhang, Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, "Playing Mahjong May Maintain the Cognitive Functioning of Aged Chinese Populations"


Keshav Rao, Brownell Talbot School, Omaha, "Location of Primary Residence as an Independent Risk Factor for Patient Survival after Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Hematologic Cancers"

Doyle Yuan, Millard West High School, Omaha, "Behavior and Vision of Modern Age Students"

New Jersey

Megan Blewett, Madison High School, Madison, "A Space/Time Epidemiological Comparison of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Laura Greco, Hunerdon Central Regional High School, Flemington, "The Effect of Exercise on Short-Term Memory"

Justin Petrillo, Union County Magnet High School, Scotch Plains, "Personal and Ambient Concentrations of PM2.5 in Camden, NJ"

Allison Tetreault, Moorestown High School, Moorestown, "Evaluating the Relationship Between Adolescent Sports Injury and School Performance"

New Mexico

Laura Glass, Albuquerque Public High School, Albuquerque, "Characterizing Social Contact Networks for the Spread of Pandemic Influenza"

New York

Jamie Forman, John F. Kennedy High School, Bellmore, "The Effect of Food Brand Labeling and Awareness on Intake at an Ad Libitum Test Meal in Lean and Overweight Children"

Seth Levine, William A. Shine Great Neck South High School, Great Neck, "Fast Food and Obesity in New York City Neighborhoods: A Statistical Approach"

Tina Liu, Ossining High School, Ossining, "The Impact of Vision-Related Behavioral Factors on Myopia Development across Levels of Parental Myopia"

Lauren Morrell, John Jay High School, Katonah, "Expression of Brain JARID2 mRNA Varies in Patients with Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia compared to Controls"

Jessica Nussbaum, Roslyn High School, Roslyn, "The Impact of Anti-Alcohol Presentations on Teens' Perceptions and Consumption of Alcohol"

Jennifer Schindler, Oceanside High School, Oceanside, "Gene Polymorphisms Associated with Mutant Biomarkers in Vinyl Chloride Factory Workers"

Michael Schneider, Roslyn High School, Roslyn, "Factors Influencing Students' Attitudes toward and Intentions to use Performance Enhancing Substances"

Mingyang Shan, Sanford H. Calhoun High School, Merrick, "A Comparison of the Prevalence of Alcohol use Disorders among Caucasians and Asians within Conditioned Light and Heavy Drinking Levels"

Rachel Stahl, Ossining High School, Ossining, "Self-Reported Peripheral Arterial Disease and Risk of Vascular Events"

Katherine van Hengel, Croton-Harmon High School, Croton-on-Hudson, "Progression of Disability in Multiple Sclerosis Based upon Early Symptoms"


Julie Rechel, Thomas Worthington High School, Worthington, "A Comparison of Practice and Competition Related Injuries among High School Athletes Participating in Nine Sports during the 2005-2006 School Year"

Junzi Shi, Rocky River High School, Rocky River, "Pandemic Preparedness"


Tom Tee, Sunset High School, Portland, "Measuring Oregon's Economic Loss of a 1918-Like Pandemic Occurring Today"


Natania Field, The Baldwin School, Bryn Mawr, "Nutty Reactions: The Co-Sensitivity Between Tree Nuts, Sesame Seeds and Soybeans"

Edward Kogan, Conistoga High School, Paoli, "Lyme Disease Awareness in A Southeastern Pennsylvania Community

Sangam Soi, Bishop McCort High School, Johnstown, "Awareness of and Attitudes towards Human Papillomavirus Vaccination in Adolescent Females"

South Carolina

Deborah Beihl, Forest Creek Academy Homeschool, Saluda, "Sleep Duration as a Novel Risk Factor for Incident Type 2 Diabetes in a Multiethnic Cohort


Zoe Durand, Maryville High School, Maryville, "Age of Onset of Obesity, Diabetes and Hypertension in Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia"


Anish Bavishi, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School, Houston, "From Halo to Pokemon: An Inquiry into the Effects of Video Games on Adolescent Males"

Charles Hyman, Bellaire High School, Bellaire, "All-you-can-eat" Buffets and Obesity"

Madeline Waggoner, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "Correlation between Extreme Food Allergies in Infancy and Learning Disabilities"


Sarah Coleman, Waynesboro High School, Waynesboro, "The Effects of Scented Female Products on the PH of the Vaginal Flora and the Growth of Bacteria"

2006-07 Regional Semifinalists

Congratulations to the 2006-07 Semifinalists who each receive a $1,000 scholarship.


Alisa Chard, East Anchorage High School, Anchorage, "Assessment of the Effects of Reducing Access to Unhealthy Foods on the Body Mass Index of High School Students"


Aditi Jain, Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, "Impact of Legalization of Hispanic Illegal Immigrants on Future Type 2 Diabetes Incidence through 2050"

Samantha Smiley, Notre Dame High School, Belmont, "Effectiveness of Passive Education on Public Health Concerns in High-School Aged Young Women"

Pavitra Viswanathan, University City High School, San Diego "Epidemiological Study of 2003 San Diego Wildfire on Human Health"

Vincent Yung, Edison High School, Fresno, "An Investigation on Changes in the Incidence of Thyroid Carcinoma in California"


Nicholas Greos, Cherry Creek High School, Greenwood Village, "Evaluation of Concussion Risks in Teen Sports"


Andrew Rizzo, Wilmington Friends School, Wilmington, "Research Informed Anxiety Management Strategies for Adolescents"


Shaina Kelly, A. W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, "There's Something in the Water? A Statistical Data Study Correlating Fluoride Levels and Arthritis Prevalence across the United States in Exploring the Possibility that Arthritis is Misdiagnosed as an early form of Skeletal Fluorosis"

Sarah Phillips, South Fork High School, Stuart, "Become More Involved for a Healthier BMI"


Patrick Dixon, Dunwoody High School, Dunwoody, "Are Parents Aware of Mercury's Potential Toxicity to their Children?"

Matthew Nanes, Dunwoody High School, Dunwoody, "Effectiveness of Flu Shots in Children"


Mahima Vijayaraghavan, Hinsdale Central High School, Hinsdale, "Water or Coke? An Analysis of Teenage Soda Consumption and Dental Health"


Julie Loza, Kouts High School, Kouts, "Can Light be Used to Detect Blood Glucose Levels in Vivo? Creating a Painless Glucometer."

Gautham Vaidyanathan, Penn High School, Mishawaka, "Sleep, Physical Activities, and Virtual Social Habits of Students Using Instant Messaging: Empirical Results from University Campus"


Kiana Weber, Chelsea High School, Chelsea, "Awareness and Public Opinion about Avian Influenza A (H5N1) in a High School Setting"


Melanie Subramanian, Marquette High School, Chesterfield, "Cardiovascular Disease and Adolescents: Comparing Students' and Parents' Awareness of Risks and Prevention"

North Carolina

Nadia Hoekstra, East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, "Chronic Functional Abdominal Pain in Adolescents"

New Jersey

Ethan Goldstein, Cherry Hill High School East, Cherry Hill, "Asthma Screening in a School Setting"

Ning-Jiun Jan, Freehold High School, Freehold, "The Effect of Education on Sun Safety Behavior"

Laura Tiedemann, Cresskill High School, Cresskill, "The Effects of Backpack Weight Upon Sophomore, Junior, and Senior High School Students"

New York

Theresa Apoznanski, Smithtown High School, West Smithtown, "Alcohol: The Beverage Choice of Athletes?"

Katelyn Burke, Eastchester High School, Eastchester, "Behavioral Interventions for Alzheimer's Disease"

Alicia Chionchio, Smithtown High School West, Smithtown, "Overall Wellness and the Correlation between Instant Messaging Participation upon Sociability, Relationship Quality, School, and Balance"

Michael Ding, Glen Cove High School, Glen Cove, "Hair-dye Product Usage of High School Students and Hazardous Effects of Hair Dyes on Health" Corinne Duffy, Midwood High School at Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, "Smoking and Other Risky Behavior within an Immigrant Group"

Alexander Federation, Greece Athena High School, Rochester, "An Analysis of Local Preparedness for an Outbreak of Avian Influenza in Monroe County, NY"

Samantha Fishbein, Roslyn High School, Roslyn, "America Runs on Dunkin': Factors that Predict Adolescent Caffeine Consumption"

Samantha Goldstein, Roslyn High School, Roslyn, "Are Schools Undermining Efforts to Feed Students Well?"

Julia Hellmich, Ossining High School, Ossining, "The Relationship between Ballet Instruction and an Individual's Audio and Visual Working Memory"

Jonathan Jacobs, Irvington High School, Irvington, "The Effect of Blood Sugar Levels, Measured by Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load, on Acne Vulgaris in Adolescents"

Chris Kostoulas, Manhasset High School, Manhasset, "Assessing the Effectiveness of Graduated Licensing Programs"

John Kucharczyk, Manhasset High School, Manhasset, "The Creation of a Computer Model to Determine the Optimal Pathogen and Location for a Bioterror Attack"

Alexandra Levy, Ossining High School, Ossining, "HIV Home-Testing: A Demographic Study of Students and their Parents"

Rose Liu, White Plains High School, White Plains, "Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors of Obstetrical Care Practitioners Regarding Influenza Vaccination during Pregnancy"

Leo McFarland, Tottenville High School, Staten Island, "Student CPR/AED Training in High Schools; Bridging a Gap in the Chain of Survival"

Mili Mehta,The Wheatley School, Old Westbury, "Identifying Depression in an Urban Dialysis Population"

Jordan Meltzer, Roslyn High School, Roslyn Heights, "The Annual Comprehensive Physical Examination: A Tool to Detect Disease at an Early Stage"

Brooke O'Hara, Westhampton Beach High School, Westhampton Beach, "The Effects of Oral Contraceptive Use on Knee Valgus Motion"

Maura Pavalow, John Jay High School, Cross River, "Environmental Versus Genetic Determinants of High Homocysteine Levels among Caribbean Hispanics

Philip Ramirez, Carmel High School, Carmel, "Correlation of Variables Affecting Women Hospitalized for Endometriosis Residing in Polluted Townships"

Erin Samplin, John F. Kennedy High School, Bellmore, "Dysbindin (DTNBP1) Haplotype, Family History of Psychiatric Illness, and Lifetime Severity of Negative Psychotic Symptoms in Patients with Schizophrenia"

Marc Sherwin, The Wheatley School, Old Westbury, "Analyzing Factors Influencing Women's Interest in the HPV Vaccine"

Di Shi, Riverdale Country School, Bronx, "Parametric Time Dependent Disease Spread SIR Model"

Christopher Shih, Great Neck South High School, Great Neck, "You've Got Mail?"

Nathalie Tadena, Ossining High School, Ossining, "Family Trends as Indicators of the Social and Behavioral Development of Siblings of Children with Autism "

Nathan Wald, Wellington C. Mepham High School, Bellmore, "A Strain on Society: Reducing the Incidence of Repetitive Strain Injuries"


Kristin Philip, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Cincinnati, "Race, Gender, and Single-Parent Families: What is their Impact on the Moods of Adolescents?"


Felix Zhang, Conestoga High School, Berwyn, "Gonadal Hormone Signaling Modulates Alzheimer Amyloid Beta Metabolism in Cultured Mouse Cells and Circulating Human Plasma "

Puerto Rico

Adriana Gata, Academia del Perpetuo Socorro, San Juan,"Childhood Obesity and Breast-Feeding Practices Profile in P.R.: Obesity Causes and Prevention"

South Carolina

Lauren Olasov, Academic Magnet High School, North Charleston, "The Effects of Adolescent Nutrition and Glycemic Index on the Onset of Type 2 Diabetes"


Ralph Burns, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "Effect of Media Exposure on Perceived Ideal Weight in Adolescent Girls"

Sarah Glazer, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "Assessment of the HPV Media Campaign and its Effects on the Rate of Vaccination against HPV among Adolescent Girls"

Sheeva Marvdashti, Humble High School, Humble, "Correlation of Exposure to Cigarette Smoke and Frequency of Acute Respiratory Illnesses in a High School Student Population"

Sumit Mehta, Clear Lake High School, Houston, "A Study of the Relationship between Perceived Parent Involvement in the Life of a Student and a Student's Involvement in Potentially Dangerous or Harmful Behaviors"


Madeleine Conger, Bayside High School, Virginia Beach, 'The Effect of Water Consumption on Self-Reported General Health and Well-Being"

Stephanie Kuo, Seton Home Study School, Front Royal, "Is there a Dietary Component to Asthma?"

Rachel Maki, Stuarts Draft High School, Stuarts Draft, "Local Incidence Rates of Community-Acquired Versus Hospital-Acquired Methicillin- Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Infections over Three Years"

Catelyn Nelson, Westfield High School, Chantilly, "An Explanation to and Effects of Stress on High School Students"


Jordan Gaeta, Conserve School, Land O Lakes, "An analysis of a High School Wellness Program and its Effect on Body Fat and Cardiovascular Health "

West Virginia

Emily Beckelhimer, Cabell Midland High School, Ona, "Unclean and Unsupplied Sanitation Facilities' Effect upon Health"

2006-07 YES Student Competition Judges

The nation's finest epidemiologists, public health officials, and teachers gathered to judge student presentations at the fourth annual YES Competition.

The students in this year's Regional and National Finals traveled from 26 states to participate in the YES Competition. The judges were yet again thrilled with the quality of the students' presentations. Patrick Remington, Ph.D., exclaimed, "Another great group of YES scholars! I showed several of the student topics to my grad students, and they were amazed!" Mona Baumgarten, Ph.D., pointed out that, "The competition was awesome, as usual. I think the kids were even more impressive this year, if that's possible." Barbara A. DeBuono, M.D., M.P.H. declared, "What a great group of young budding epidemiologists!"

Mona Baumgarten, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
University of Maryland

Lisa Berkman, Ph.D.
Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology
Harvard School of Public Health

Gilberto F. Chávez, M.D., M.P.H.
California State Epidemiologist /Medical Officer
California Department of Health Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Ralph Cordell, Ph.D.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

José F. Cordero, M.D., M.P.H.
Dean, Graduate School of Public Health
University of Puerto Rico

Barbara A. DeBuono, M.D., M.P.H.
Senior Medical Advisor, Public Health and Policy
Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Inc.

Ana V. Diez Roux, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
University of Michigan

David Fraser, M.D.
Freelance Epidemiologist

Wayne H. Giles, M.D., M.S.
Director, Division of Adult and Community Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Ruth B. Jiles, Ph.D.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Mark Kaelin, Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Health and Nutrition Sciences
Montclair State University

Jeff Killmer, M.A.
Math Teacher
Cary Academy

Denise Koo, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, Career Development Division
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Shiriki Kumanyika, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Cheryl A. Lindeman, Ed.D.
Executive Director
National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science & Technology

Nicole Lurie, M.D., M.S.P.H.
Senior Natural Scientist and Paul O'Neill Alcoa Professor of Policy Analysis
RAND Corporation

Felicia McCrary, M.Ed.
The Galloway School

Chris Olsen, Ph.D.
Statistics Teacher
Thomas Jefferson High School

Gianfranco Pezzino, M.D., M.P.H.
Director of Public Health Studies
Kansas Health Institute

Patrick Remington, M.D., M.P.H.
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Lee Riley, M.D.
Professor of Epidemiology
University of California, Berkeley

Ian Rockett, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Epidemiology
West Virginia University School of Medicine

Jonathan Samet, M.D., M.S.
Professor and Chairman, Department of Epidemiology
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Sharon Schwartz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University

Sally Goetz Shuler, M.S.
Executive Director
National Science Resources Center

Diane Marie St. George, Ph.D.
Chair, M.P.H. Program
Walden University

S. Leonard Syme, Ph.D.
Professor of Epidemiology
University of California, Berkeley

Steven Teutsch, M.D., M.P.H.
Executive Director, Outcomes Research
Merck & Co., Inc.

Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Robin Taylor Wilson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Penn State College of Medicine