Prep Honors Our Intel Science Talent Search Semi – Finalist: Aishvarya Arora
By: Emily Grasso ’13
Science research student Aishvarya Arora '13, has given St Francis Prep a reason to be proud this month. She is the school's only semi-finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search. St Francis Prep is the only school in Queens to have a student to reach this level of the competition. There are 1,700 entrants each year, from all over the country. Only 300 are chosen as semi-finalists.
"I've had teachers stay after school and come in on weekends to work with me on this," Aishvarya said. "To be able to have all of their work and my work come into fruition means so much. They believed in me, and it wasn't for nothing."
The science research program begins in sophomore year. Students choose a topic; Aishvarya's topic is body dysmorphic disorder in teenagers. They do extensive research under the guidance of Ms Spicijaric, Mr Boylan, and Ms Sullivan. Aishvarya also worked with a mentor, Sony Khemlani-Patel, a psychologist at the Bio Behavioral Institute in Great Neck.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a psychological disorder in which a person becomes obsessed with imagined or perceived flaws in their physical appearance. Aishvarya's 23-page study found that teens who suffer from this disorder show the same social cues as adults who are affected. In order to come to this conclusion, Aishvarya created a ten page survey and polled 120 students in the school. She analyzed the data collected, and found that both groups perceive defects in their body images.
"I think she did such a great job. The level of competition is so intense," Ms. Spicijaric said.
"To be able to watch her evolve and grow over the past four years has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever experienced in my whole life. There's no one that's more deserving than her," said Mr Boylan.
Aishvarya plans to attend Wesleyan University, Brown University, or Vassar College next year, and will double major in psychology and English.