Somers Student Advances in National Science Competition

Somers High School senior Mark Worsley and science research teacher William Maelia Credits: Brian Marschhauser
An example of a wind turbine designed by Worsley Credits: William Maelia

SOMERS, N.Y. – Out of 1,700 applicants from 527 high schools in 46 states and seven international schools, Somers’ own Mark Worsley has been selected as one of 300 semifinalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.

In a project that science research teacher William Maelia describes as “simple, yet profound,” Worsley set out to design quieter wind turbines. Though wind turbines are seen as a crucial supplier of renewable energy, Worsley said there is a stigma attached to them because of the loud noise they produce. Significantly reducing this noise, he said, would likely increase their use.

Worsley, who worked at a 3D printing shop in Yorktown, printed many different models and tested them in the classroom. He designed the blades using qualities found in owls, forest canopies and whales. This is called biomimicry, Worlsey explained, which is the science of imitating nature to solve human problems.

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“He developed it from the ground up,” Maelia said. “He came up with the idea, he developed all the models and he printed them himself.”

Worsley first became familiar with the loud noise of wind turbines while on a ski trip. Looking to get away from the crowd, Worsley suddenly realized why those other areas at the resort were devoid of skiers.

“You can hear [the wind turbine] first before you can see it,” he said.

This noise, Worsley said, “really limits the amount of wind turbines that can be built.”

“Wind turbines are the best green energy producer we have available right now,” Worsley said.

For his accomplishment so far, Worsley, a senior, will receive a $2,000 award. The Somers Science Research Program will also receive $2,000.

“I was very excited because I didn’t expect at all to be selected for this,” Worsley said.

From the pool of 300 semifinalists, 40 students will be selected as finalists and be invited to Washington, D.C., in March to meet the president of the United States, meet with notable scientists and compete for more than $1.8 million dollars in the final judging.

Maelia said there have only been roughly a half-dozen semifinalists from Somers in the competition’s history. Considered one of most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. the competition began in 1942 in partnership with Westinghouse, then with Intel 1998-2016, and now with Regeneron.

“One of the unique things about this competition is it looks at the whole student,” Maelia said. “It takes into account test scores, GPA and transcripts. It looks at their promise as a future scientist.”

Worsley, who said he plans on studying engineering in college, will find out if he has advanced in the competition on Jan. 24.

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