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2009-10 YES National Event Highlights

About the 2009-10 Competition

Students from across the nation receive up to $50,000 in scholarship awards in the Seventh Annual YES Competition!

2009-10 YES National Finalists

Thirty nine high school seniors and 21 juniors arrived in Washington, D.C. April 23, 2010, to compete in the 2009-10 Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Competition. The 60 students were selected from more than 630 who submitted research papers applying epidemiological methods of analysis to examine a population-based health problem. All 60 students received college scholarships ranging from $2,000 to the top prize of $50,000.

Now in its seventh year, the YES Competition received submissions from students in 44 states plus the District of Columbia. The topics were equally as diverse-examining important issues such as teen perceptions of the risks of cigarette smoking, the health effects of environmental contamination, vaccination and the spread of H1N1, online social networking and the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, and body image dysfunction among adolescent girls.

Two high school juniors from Pennsylvania took top honors in the competition. Shoshanna Goldin , who attends Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, and Gazelle Zerafati from the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, were each awarded $50,000 in college scholarships.

Shoshanna's research focused on teen perceptions and consumption of energy drinks. She wondered if teens were aware of the potential health risks of these kinds of drinks. "Shoshanna investigated a problem that no one has previously paid much attention to and showed that the use of energy drinks with high amounts of stimulants is common among adolescents," said lead judge Lorna Thorpe, Ph.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor, Director, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Dept., City University of New York School of Public Health. "Teens are being exposed to a relatively new product marketed towards them for which the health ramifications are not well understood. She is asking what the long-term implications of these drinks are for children and adolescents."

For her research project Gazelle surveyed female high school students to determine the prevalence of migraines among teenage girls. Both she and her family suffer from migraines so this project was personal for her. "Gazelle looked at a health condition that is affecting teens, but hasn't been well described," said judge Jonathan Samet, M.D., M.S., Professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, and Director, University of Southern California Institute for Global Health. "She found that it is common, underdiagnosed, poorly recognized by the girls themselves, and substantially undertreated."

Read the YES press release.

Read about the 12 YES Finalist research projects.

The students also had the opportunity to hear from top epidemiologists and health officials including Dr. Richard Besser, Senior Health and Medical Editor, ABC News; Dr. Paula Braveman, Professor, Family and Community Medicine, Director, Center on Social Disparities in Health, University of California, San Francisco; Dr. Walter Orenstein, Deputy Director, Vaccine Delivery, Global Health Program, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Dr. Harvey Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Administered by the College Board, YES is America's leading public health competition for high school students. Since its inception the YES Competition has received more than 4,000 submissions and awarded over $3.2 million in college scholarships. "With the nation facing a potentially catastrophic shortage of public health professionals, it is critical that we cultivate the next generation of public health talent," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "These students' outstanding work demonstrates that the future of epidemiology holds great promise."

Meet all of the YES Finalists!

2009-10 YES Region 1 Finalists

Region 1

Back row: J.P. Mikhaiel, J. Lyonfields, P. Dutta, M. Warshauer, J. Wang

Front row: K. Keane, J. Kim, S. Suh, V. Kadiyala, K. Close


2009-10 YES Region 2 Finalists

Region 2

Back row: S. Li, K. Xu, M. Lam, J. DiCapua

Front row: R. Hellmich, P. Eftekharzadeh, K. Catalano, P. Chabra, A. Singh, J. Gong


2009-10 YES Region 3 Finalists

Region 3

Back row: A. Talbott, R. Billock, G. Zerafati, S. Goldin, M. Marar

Front row: A. Selick-Bottos, B. Heard, T. Jain, C. Monroe, S. Smith


2009-10 YES Region 4 Finalists

Region 4

Back row: A. Sood, A. Ganapathi, B. Burra, Z. Shi, G. Sharma

Front row: H. Shopp, S. Kramer, M. Forshag, D. Xu, C. Nist-Lund


2009-10 YES Region 5 Finalists

Region 5

Back row: S. Merrill, M. Ricks, C. Bujnowski, C. Bastable, O. Bushara

Front row: J. Hart, H. Borowsky, A. Kanwar, D. Smith, J. St. Peter


YES 2010-2011 Region 6 Finalists

Region 6

Back row: R. Doraiswami, M. Lehmann, A. Fang, A. Aspengren, D. DeVilbiss, R. Leong

Front row: S. Silverstein, G. Bhattacharya, M. Bharadwaj, M. Liu