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Brentwood Student Scientists Flex Their M.U.S.C.L.E.

Student scientists at Brentwood High School showed off their progress on the scientific tool they are developing called the “Marsh Multi-unit Sensor for Climate and Ecological Monitoring,” or M.U.S.C.L.E., at their mid-year technical review on March 2.

Modeled after the mollusks known as mussels—a water-quality indicator species—the high school researchers are developing the M.U.S.C.L.E. as a cost-effective ecological monitoring device under the guidance of Dr. Rebecca Grella and Jacob Mulderig. Additionally, the team received $10,000 in funding from the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam program.

Built with off-the-shelf technology, the M.U.S.C.L.E. is intended to be placed in salt-water marshes across Long Island to monitor their degradation due to pollution and other environmental stressors, and cost a fraction of what an equivalent device does today. As part of the project, the students are also developing a website for citizen scientists to record the data collected from their own M.U.S.C.L.E. devices.

At their mid-year technical review, members of the various teams on the project explained their respective roles and provided updates on the status of the device. The team members are:

  • Administration
    • Jonathan Tavarez
  • Technical
    • Kevin Leal
    • Kevin Durand
    • Ever Hernandez
    • Nicole Olekanma
  • Research
    • Javed Chowdhury
    • Jonathan Tavarez
  • Sustainability
    • Minnahil Tariq
    • David Ramirez
  • Communication
    • Raja Deonanan
    • Rachel Jean Charles
  • Finance
    • Joel Perez

“I’m frequently amazed at the level of science these student researchers are already performing,” said Superintendent of Schools Richard Loeschner. “Even at the high-school level, the work they’re doing here will have real-world implications.”

“We talk a lot about project-based learning, but this is a terrific example the district’s commitment to kids doing something to benefit their community here on Long Island,” said Dr. Vincent Leone Coordinator of Funded Programs. “That’s what we’re committed to at Brentwood; providing authentic experiences, and this is a great example.”

“One of the things that we want to do for our students is to give them market-value assets,” said Wanda Ortiz-Rivera, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education and Bilingual Education. “That’s what we’re giving them here so that when they graduate, they already have skills that they can apply in their careers.”

In addition to showcasing the young inventors’ success, the event also demonstrated use of the Brentwood Research Lab’s new scanning electron microscope (SEM) that was brought into the lab through a partnership with the Hitachi Inspire program. Brentwood’s SEM is one of 13 instruments globally deployed by Hitachi for the INSPIRE program.

Suffolk County legislators Sam Gonzalez and Kara Hahn, as well as Islip Town Councilmember Jorge Guadron also visited the presentation.

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