In early January 2013, Mark Moretto was named a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search (STS), the only Briarcliff student in two years awarded this honor.
After three years of dedication and time in the laboratory, Mark’s work definitely paid off. He also earned $1,000
as a financial reward for this accomplishment. Intel STS is the single biggest competition for students in the Briarcliff Manor Science Research Program. The magnitude of this contest’s prestige is shown in that the research program is colloquially known as “Intel.” The aim of the competition is to support high school students conduct independent research in science, math, engineering, and medicine. Three hundred students are selected as semifinalists, with 40 finalists then invited to Washington, DC to compete for the ultimate title.
Mark’s project, in the realm of space and astronomy, studied what caused outbursts (large increases in brightness) due to a growth in activity. Working with scientists Dr. Michael A’Hearn and Dr. Lori Feaga at the University of Maryland, he used a spectrometer on the Deep Impact space craft to gather data. Mark concluded that outbursts are driven by carbon dioxide, rather than carbon monoxide, as was previously believed.
Reflecting on the accomplishment, Mark said, “It was nice that someone I don’t know looks highly on my research.” In addition, he noted that “the [Intel] application was long, but it was worth it.” Mark has yet to decide where he will attend college, but he plans on continuing research, wherever it may be.