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Virtual Science Research Symposium 2021

Welcome to the Archbishop Molloy Science Research Symposium 2021! We thank you for taking the time to look at our students’ work. Science Research is a three-year program where students learn about and conduct original research. In sophomore year, our students explore scientific literature; their projects are presentations of scientific journal articles. The juniors are presenting their project designs, while the seniors are reporting the findings of their original scientific investigations. Many of our students work side by side with researchers in labs in the New York City metropolitan area. When the pandemic hit and many labs closed, the students were forced to look elsewhere-- projects were created using the resources at Molloy. The students produced amazing results. Research completed by seniors Samantha Lydon, Sabrina Piekarski, Anthony Trevino, Estefany Valdez, and Marriam Zaky were accepted into The Terra New York City Stem Fair. We are proud of all the science research students’ accomplishments and hope you enjoy viewing their presentations. - Ms. Mary Mallia


Senior Research Presentations


The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 required billions of individuals to quarantine in their homes and practice social distancing to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. The quarantine lasted longer than people expected, and most people rarely left the house for months at a time; even then, the interaction with other individuals was kept at an absolute minimum. According to our survey, 29.4% of Molloy students spent more than 10 hours per day in one single room during quarantine. Any kind of physical contact like handshakes or hugs was strictly prohibited; in fact, it was rare to interact with people who did not live in the same building. These conditions were necessary, but isolation can be hard on students. Likewise, prisoners in solitary confinement complain that they rarely speak to others, rarely see others, and can’t talk to someone else without being under strict supervision. Inmates are often required to stay in one singular room for 23-24 hours a day. In interviews with psychiatrists, they have detailed the deep psychological effects of their isolation. This study seeks to identify if both students in quarantine and prisoners in solitary confinement are experiencing the same symptoms of depression and anxiety. 



     The unconscious mind is a sponge of information that defines ourselves: our behavior , our future goals, and how we react to things. The unconscious mind works everyday, it’s the things we don’t have to think about: our personality, what influences the decisions we make, and things we do automatically without thinking about like riding a bike. It acts like a sponge because it retains information well, once you’ve learned to ride a bike you know how, and how your personality is established by your environment. The conscious mind is our active thought process throughout the day.  We don’t usually get to see the inner workings of our minds, but sometimes we do in dreams. Using a survey I will try and determine if certain aspects of our dreams relay information about how we perceive ourselves through our unconscious. In dreams we see ourselves in a distorted way which I hypothesize could be revealing of some qualities we didn’t know we have. Could the way we perceive ourselves in dreams be a reflection of how we perceive ourselves, or how we think other people perceive us? Can our reactions to actions in our dreams perhaps show us why we do the things we do? These are a few of the questions I hope to answer to get a better understanding of the connection between the conscious and unconscious mind.



Social interactions are essential for human intellectual growth and development.  They form the foundation upon which a society can flourish.  Communicating with each other and having meaningful conversations connects us to one another. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has severely impacted human interaction. Maintaining 6-feet separation from others and limiting physical contact with others have become the norm to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. Social media platforms, such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook provide a way to connect with others from all over the world and is prevalent among adolescents today. This study examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescents' social media usage and social interactions.  We surveyed high school students, ranging in age from 13-19 years old, evaluated, and compared their responses on their social media interactions during pre-pandemic and pandemic time periods.  Our preliminary conclusions have found that the pandemic has affected the tonality of conversation, social media usage and connectivity between family and friends.This research hopes to provide a better understanding of teenage communication behavior during extreme circumstances.


Human life came to a standstill as many countries began to shut down due to the coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19). All industries and activities were stopped. In various articles, it has been stated that the increased industrialization and anthropogenic activities in the last two decades have polluted the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Since the main causes for pollution have been halted, it is expected to see some improvement in the conditions in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. 

By using the National Buoy Website, I was able to collect data in terms of temperature and suspended particulate matter (SPM). The estimated SPM concentration at Station 41001 (34°43’27” N 72°19’0” W) during lockdown decreased by 15.9% on average compared with the pre-lockdown period. When compared with previous years, the percentage decrease of SPM for March 2020 is up to 34% from the previous years.  This decrease correlates to the decreased activity during the pandemic. 



Long Island has many species of bird. These species differ in different areas of the island. For my research, I compared the species of Caumsett State Park and Fire Island National Seashore. Caumsett is on the North Shore of Long Island, and Fire Island is off the South Shore. I compared the species by their commonality in the parks, and noted differences in their status across the parks. The American Kestrel, Merlin, and Sharp-Shinned Hawk are rare in Caumsett, but common in Fire Island. American Oystercatchers, Cooper’s Hawks, Least Terns, Ospreys, and Piping Plovers are common in Caumsett, but rare on Fire Island. The Common Tern is common in both parks. Bald Eagles, Northern Goshawks, Northern Harriers, Peregrine Falcons, and Roseate Terns are rare in both Caumsett and Fire Island. From the results, I determined that predators tend to be more rare than any other type of bird. This is because predators need a large supply of prey to support them, and there has to be a lot more prey than predators to have a stable ecosystem. Generalist birds tend to be more common, and live in a greater variety of ecosystems.

During this pandemic, high school students are at the cusp of adulthood while living through an unprecedented time in world history. Not only facing a virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions around the world, but grappling with these facts in the face of an interconnected world that has forever changed. The age of technology defines our generation, and there are constant, conflicting pieces of information seen in various media sources. In a time where public health is essential for survival, students are tasked with interpreting news and social media content to determine what is the most reliable information and the best course of action to take for their health and the health of their loved ones. Through this study, we analyzed how students have been working with the facts and news they receive on a daily basis and how factual that information is. This presents the prediction of media and its correlation to adolescents at a high school in Queens, New York, and how the perceived impact may affect COVID-related pandemic behaviors. The ages of the participants range between 14 - 18 years of age, in which 82.5% are female, 15.8% male, and 1.7% identified as other. The large majority of students at 51.7%, were noted to be in frequent contact with a high-risk individual, meanwhile, 48.3% were not in contact with individuals of high-risk for COVID-19 complications. Students also noted at 87.5% that COVID-19 can severely impact people with pre-existing conditions, and 12.5% did not believe comorbid conditions would have any correlation to COVID-19. A large majority of students selected news sources with inaccurate information primarily within Fox News at 65%, and Social Media Sources at 66.7% inaccurate. There were more than 115 students who participated in the survey, and each survey was completed within the boundary of Queens, New York. The results indicated that their thoughts and actions corresponded with the information filtered within media sources, and that the vast majority of students, more than 71%, indicated the importance to check the validity of these media sources.
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Junior Research Presentations

Values are beliefs that guide our thoughts and actions.  They affect both our short-term and long-term decisions.  These values fall into four categories:  openness to change;  conservation;  self-transcendence;  and self-enhancement.  Openness to change is the motivation to follow one’s own intellectual and emotional interests.  Conservation is the desire to preserve the status quo.  Self-transcendence is the concern for others, while self-enhancement is the concern for one’s own welfare.  Previous studies show that values affect career choice, and what we value most differs based on our career choice.  This project proposes to find out how our values affect the reasons we consider or choose certain careers.  A survey will be conducted to high school students ranging from ninth through twelfth grades and will be analyzed using Excel and SPSS.

The purpose of this research is to create a deep learning model to detect neoantigens, which can potentially be used in cancer immunotherapy.  This will be done by utilizing a convolutional neural network and using an integrated pipeline that can help scientists detect biomarkers. We will not only train a neural network to detect biomarkers in lung cancer but also find possible treatments for lung cancer and other types of cancers. In addition, this deep learning model can improve cancer diagnosis tremendously as it can be more cost-effective and accurate, potentially saving many lives.

Beyond the pandemic, we must consider the practices that we have collectively adopted during quarantine. Researchers have considered adopting new technologies into standard medical practice. The ongoing practice of telemedicine is one such model that has sparked debate among policymakers, doctors, and patients. The practice of telemedicine began years ago and saw a dramatic growth as the pandemic escalated. Telemedicine is a convenient and popular alternative to in-person checkups and overcrowded medical facilities. In this research, I propose the use of quantum computing algorithms to further advance and revolutionize the healthcare field. In this project, I will develop a web application and test the effectiveness of the influence of quantum computing algorithms on the system and build a computer vision system to effectively test the model.

COVID-19 and the global lockdown had caused tremendous effects on daily life. Due to quarantine, our schedules, routines, and habits have been disrupted. Among these are our eating habits and diets. Being at home most of the day and unable to eat out, eating habits of different types of people have changed. It has changed for the better, worse, or little to not at all. We believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected our eating habits. Various factors such as isolation, stress, or body dissatisfaction can significantly impact one’s eating habits. Our project plan features previous research on this topic and outlines our plan for a survey. This survey will be conducted on a student population regarding how their eating habits have changed throughout the pandemic.

Traditional homeschooling in 2019 comprised only 3-4% of children in grades K-12 in America. Now, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, this number has grown to almost 10%. Nearly 93% of households with school age children report some form of distance-learning during the pandemic according to the census bureau. How this has affected retention level in combination with academic achievement, however, has yet to be determined. Based on this research, it is hypothesized that the results will yield academics that will be higher than pre-COVID, but retention of information will be worse. The study will consist of 200 students from Archbishop Molloy High School, both male and female, ranging in age from 13-18 years old. After all results are collected, the data will be analyzed and observed for any statistical correlation. Once completed, this research may be able to show what specific subject areas distance learning has hindered. Once results are analyzed, different approaches may be applied to those areas in high schools throughout the country.

Adolescents suffer from sleep deprivation, which can lead to adverse effects such as depression, anxiety, inability to concentrate, etc. The research on adolescent sleep patterns has shown a decrease in overall quality and amount of sleep. Since the beginning of the pandemic, everyday life has been disrupted. Studies have shown that there was an increase in levels of anxiety and depression, which disrupt the human sleep patterns. Also, there was a significant increase in insomnia, a sleep disorder that involves problems falling and staying asleep. Through this project plan, I am going to analyze the sleep patterns of adolescents pre-quarantine and during quarantine. Before compiling the data, I hypothesize that at the beginning of quarantine, students' sleep amounts increased. However, as the pandemic continued, teens obtained less than average sleep. The students will be given an IRB approved survey and given the choice to take it. All collected data will be completely anonymous excluding the ages of the students. Afterwards, the results will be further analyzed to find a correlation in the sleep patterns. 

Over the course of time, technology has become very prevalent in our everyday lives. Because of this, there has been an increase in blue light exposure. In previous studies done with adults, excessive exposure to blue light has been known to distort the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is responsible for many of the body’s functions, specifically the sleep and wake cycle and the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that induces the body to sleep. These previous studies show how exposure to blue light has been linked to a decrease in melatonin in adults which, in turn, disrupts their sleep and wake balance. However, circadian rhythms and response to light exposure are different in adolescents. The purpose of this project is to find the correlation between blue light exposure and adolescent sleep and to test if blue light exposure has an overall negative effect on adolescents. Data will be collected from an anonymous survey that adolescent volunteers will fill out, and from the results a correlation between exposure and sleep will be made.

With the COVID - 19 pandemic and most schools switching to remote learning, blue light is becoming more of a prevalent concern. Blue light can have many different effects on people including retina damage, increased risk of developing ocular diseases, disruption of circular rhythm and sleep patterns, and mood changes. The goal of this study is to research if adolescents have reported an increased use of screens (therefore resulting in an increased exposure to blue light) and to see how this has affected their ocular and regular health. I hypothesize that students have experienced an increased use of blue light emitting devices during the pandemic compared to pre pandemic. This will most likely result in students reporting ocular symptoms like eye strain, blurred vision, eye fatigue, and changes in sleep habits like bad sleep quality and quantity, changes in mood, and decreased alertness. This project will also investigate the different factors that may result in these symptoms like time outdoors (exposure to natural blue light), foods that are eaten (antioxidants promote eye health), screen proximity, and taking breaks from the screen. This project should reveal useful information about adolescents, their exposure to blue light, their sleep habits, and their ocular health. This information can be used to raise more awareness about blue light and its effects and to promote ocular health.

Modern electronic devices have been shown to cause depression and other mental health disorders. Research has also shown that eating disorders are caused by the same neurotransmitters as the aforementioned conditions. This experiment seeks to conduct a survey to determine if there is a correlation between students who frequently utilize technology and those who have poor eating habits.

Personality is the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual's distinctive character. These characteristics are created from genetic and environmental factors, however the genetic factors cause the most effect on a person’s personality. Within multiple child families, personalities of each child have a stigma, based on the position the child holds in the family. It is thought that the eldest child takes on a more parental role, while the youngest child is spoiled, and middle children are neglected. Our study plans to focus on the presence of twins within the family; to determine if there is an established trend in the personality of an individual based on their placement within a family, and if this trend differs with the presence of twins in the family. Our survey will be distributed to student participants at a high school, and will assess their personalities and positions within the family structure.

Background music is a crucial factor when studying the academic success of high school students because many individuals listen to music during their studies. Despite the importance of how background music affects students, much of the research is dated and only examines primary school students and special needs children. The purpose of this research is to determine whether listening to music while studying affects musicians and nonmusicians differently based on their grades in their classes, and whether their ability to learn is affected when listening to background music. The participants will be high school students who will be asked to take a survey.  Before the students take the survey, they will be asked to sign a consent form stating their identity and information will be kept anonymous.

Scalpel blades have been made with a variety of different materials, including diamond, obsidian, and effective steel variants. However, no scalpels have been made from a precious mineral with an organic polymer. This experiment utilizes the effectiveness of corundum as a blade and the effectiveness of lignin as a binding agent to create a strong, effective replacement for current scalpel blades.

Sophomore Research Projects