All-Female Student STEM Team From Elwood-John H. Glenn HS Wins Annual Feinstein Institutes Science Competition

Local high schoolers addressed vaccination debate in Medical Marvels competition

Medical Marvels winning team from Elwood-John H. Glenn High School (Credit: The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research)

MANHASSET, N.Y.--()--The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and Northwell Health’s Center for Workforce Readiness gave top honors to Elwood-John H. Glenn High School in Suffolk County as the winner of its eighth annual Medical Marvels competition. The Medical Marvels program encourages regional high school students in 9th and 10th grades to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

More than 135 students from 29 schools and three New York counties were asked to address the theme of vaccinations. Participants were required to include a technological/engineering component, a scientific research assessment, and public policy (public health and communication) strategy in their final presentations.

A panel of scientists, clinicians and health care administrators evaluated each proposal using the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant 9-point scale scoring criteria to determine each projects’ Impact Score. The applications were judged for qualities such as innovation, approach and significance.

“Every year, we challenge Long Island’s brightest students to tackle some of the most pressing medical and scientific issues,” said Cheryl Davidson, senior director of Northwell Health’s Center for Workforce Readiness. “This unique competition opens up a free-flowing dialogue between Feinstein Institutes researchers and our nation’s future leaders in the STEM field.”

Answering a hypothetical challenge, competitors had to research the vaccination debate and put themselves in the shoes of the New York State Commissioner of Education. They were asked to imagine a measles outbreak in their school districts and tasked to develop a strategy to address vaccine hesitancy and increase the immunization rate across the state.

The all-female team from Elwood-John H. Glenn High School proposed developing an organization called ProVax that would decrease vaccine hesitancy through public outreach using social media and partnering with the school system, physicians, and prominent leaders to educate the community. The proposed organization would also work to promote research and development to create genetically modified methods of immunity and utilize precise tracking and monitoring of vaccination rates.

“The future health and security of the United States is in the hands of today’s STEM students,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes. “The Feinstein Institutes is happy to help shape young minds that one day may advance scientific achievements.”

Chaminade High School students placed second while Commack High School finished third in this year’s competition. Presentation awards were granted to Massapequa High School, Lawrence High School, and Elwood-John H. Glenn High School.

About the Feinstein Institutes

The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York State. Home to 50 research labs, 2,500 clinical research studies and 5,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes raises the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral science, bioelectronic medicine, cancer, health innovations and outcomes, and molecular medicine. We make breakthroughs in genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and are the global scientific leader in bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we produce knowledge to cure disease, visit

About Medical Marvels

An annual STEM competition for ninth and tenth grade high school students, The Medical Marvels program believes in the academic promise of all students, and that by investing in their ideas, the future health and well-being of our community will be served. They also believe that by investing in youth and giving them a sense of place and responsibility for problem solving in the community, a community ensures that it will have bright and capable future leaders for STEM careers. Any New York State-accredited educational institution in Nassau, Suffolk, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, or Westchester is eligible to participate. Medical Marvels was established in 2013 by the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and Northwell Health’s Center for Workforce Readiness.


Matthew Libassi


Matthew Libassi