During winter break this year, while most students were taking needed breaks from their studies, a few dozen Long Island high school students were putting the finishing touches on their psychology research projects for the Long Island High School Psychology Fair that took place on Jan. 7.
Four of those students, from Roslyn High School — where the fair this year was held — presented their winning projects to the Roslyn Board of Education on Thursday night.
“It was a great fair, the guys did a great job,” said Allyson Weseley, coordinator of secondary research at Roslyn High School, in introducing the students. “They worked hard to prepare. It’s a tough deadline coming right after vacation and new years. They did a great job pulling their presentations together.”
The psychology fair, which is in its ninth year, is an opportunity for high school students to conduct research in a chosen field of psychology — ranging from educational to social — and present their projects, either individually or in a team of two, to an audience of judges and peers.
Weseley, whose educational background is in psychology, now leads Roslyn High School’s research program, though she used to teach psychology in the classroom and actually started the Advanced Placement class at the school.
Weseley has seen interest in the fair grow substantially since its inception in 2008, she said, when it first began with just her and a few other teachers.
This year, 12 to 15 schools on Long Island were represented at the fair and they got roughly 60 to 80 student applicants, about 30 of which were accepted to participate.
Two of those participants were Roslyn juniors, Kamyar Ghiam and Anuj Gupta, who presented their project on the relationship between parental pressure, self-competitiveness and high school achievement.
The duo walked away with best in category in educational psychology.
Gupta, for whom the psychology fair was his first time competing in any educational fair, said it was an eye-opening experience.
“When we do our research, we only see what we do, but when you go to these competitions you see what all these other kids are doing and it’s really eye-opening,” said Gupta, who is looking forward to applying again next year.
For two high school seniors, Daniel Chai and Nicolas Furci, the fair was a great way to continue to have focus once all of their college applications had already been sent out and the waiting began, Chai said.
“It’s nice to have this competition because it’s after applications and it’s something to do so we’re not just sitting around doing nothing,” he said.
Chai, whose first place project in social psychology was on the discrimination of Asian-American students in the college admissions process, said that as an Asian-American male who is in the midst of the process himself, he wanted to take a closer look and speak with college admissions officers to examine the bias.
“It’s nice to have a competition to really express my passion and what I’ve worked on for the past year,” Chai said.
Furci, who said he plans on studying psychology in college and hopes to become a clinical psychologist, received honorable mention in the interdisciplinary room for his project on countering the low-risk perception of driving under the influence of marijuana.
“It’s really nice to have an outlet to show what you’re passionate about and why you chose this line of research to pursue, why you chose this specific project and why you think it’s interesting,” Furci said. “And hopefully other people will think it’s interesting also.”