3 LI students take top prize in Siemens Competition

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WOODBURY -

Three Suffolk County high school students have taken the top prize in the prestigious Siemens Competition in math, science and technology.

"I was so excited and so overwhelmed with emotions that I started crying," said Jillian Parker. "And then afterwards I realized, wow, I can't believe we actually did this accomplishment."

Parker, a junior at Half Hollow Hills High School West, and Arooba Ahmed and Jaichen Lee, both juniors at Half Hollow Hills High School East, worked to identify a key protein that plays an important role in cell division. The discovery could now help researchers better understand a wide range of incurable diseases.

"This could have implications in cancer, viruses and in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's, ALS, schizophrenia and frontal temporal dementia," Lee said.

The trio will spit a $100,000 scholarship prize. They beat out more than 2,000 other competitors to reach the finals Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

"To just make it past the original stage and make it here is completely amazing and unbelievable," Ahmed said.

Following the win, the rising stars in science say they will continue their vital research.

All three say they hope to pursue careers in science, medicine or medical research.

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