"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Here in Switzerland there are so many opportunities to go to school. There are many different directions you can go and still be successful which I think is very important and helpful. Most kids don‘t know right away what they want to become so this gives them time to think and fulfill their dreams. Girls and boys can get education where i'm from, unlike other places around the world. Your gender shouldn’t determine wether you get an education. I am so thankful for what I can do here in Switzerland. There are many families coming from poor lands to Switzerland. I love helping these kids learning the language. I have been learning the language for 4 years now and it’s still difficult for me. Everyone has a chance to learn here which I think is life changing for children who weren’t able to earlier. Everyone should deserve a chance to have a book in his/her hand and learn something new. A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work."
Control of Varroa destructor Infestation with a Dual-Function, Thymol Emitting Honey Bee Hive Entranceway
In the last decade, one-third of all honey-bee colonies have vanished, in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Recent literature provides that varroa mites are the single greatest threat to the honey bee population worldwide. In Raina’s research, she created an entranceway with holes, that is coated with a chemical called thymol, which is repellent towards varroa mites. As bees pass through the entranceway, the thymol is deposited, by contact, onto the body of the bee where ultimately the LC50 (or lethal concentration which will kill the varroa mite) is reached, causing the varroa mite to disengage and die, guaranteeing the death of the varroa mite. This device is also dual function, continuously releasing gaseous thymol within the hive automatically controlling the parasite population specifically on the eggs (or larvae), as they do not exhibit the contact release as foraging bees would. The device is temperature independent, does not contaminate the eggs or honey, and also does not disrupt the natural bee behavior, unlike all other commonly used varroacides. Raina is currently working with her mentor, Andy Bramante, to distribute this product for commercial use on a larger scale.
Magnetically Induced, Visual Detection for Trace Arsenic Contaminants in Water Using Fe3O4 Photonic Crystal Structures
Arsenic, a highly toxic metal contaminant commonly found in our drinking water, is responsible for the 6th non-accidental leading cause of death in the world. Currently, the only visual arsenic detection system is tedious, and can only detect arsenic concentrations of 250ppb or more, well above the EPA 10ppb water-action-level. To combat arsenic drinking water contamination, a sensitive, inexpensive, portable, and easily-visualized detection system is needed, and was developed in Raina’s research. Photonic crystal structures are Fe3O4 nanoparticles that are coated in poly acrylic acid that is negatively charged. In the presence of a magnetic field, these nanoparticles undergo simultaneous magnetic attraction (due to the iron oxide), and repulsion (due to the negatively charged acid). This competition of electrostatic attraction and repulsion creates a photonic band gap that allows only a certain wavelength of light to pass through. By changing the strength of the magnetic field, the photonic band gap changes as well, there for emitting a different color of light which is visible with eyes. Raina discovered that arsenic forms a arsenic-oxygen bond with these nanoparticles, completely reversing the color response. She also discovered that the color changes with increasing concentrations of arsenic. Raina then created a color using this response that correlates a certain concentration of arsenic in the water, to a color. Using this device, all the user needs to do is take 10mL of their suspect water, 2mL of the photonic nanoparticles, mix it up, place an 80 Gauss magnetic next to the solution, and match the color to the color code which will instantly reveal the concentration of arsenic in the water, in a matter of seconds, for just $2.
“I want to make a change in our community because there are problems everywhere. Girls are a force that are much stronger together, and with this force, change can be made.”
"I believe that girls have immense potential to shape the world when given the education and tools do so."
"Girls EmpowHERment provides an international platform to give girls a voice. When we all come together as one our voices are heard and change is created."
"I am passionate about girls empowerment because as women we have to support each other and help each other navigate through life."
"Girls empowerment is important to be because I believe that girls everywhere should receive the same opportunities so that they too can feel safe where they are and confident in their abilities."
Emma Burstiner- Contributor
Below, one of our contributors Emma Burstiner will be discussing the importance of diversity. At her school, the Diversity Awareness Club organizes an interactive week of presentations, activities, and more.
Every year the Diversity Awareness Club at my school works hard to put together a week filled with events from both student and outside organizations. These events bring culture, outside perspectives, and people of diverse backgrounds to GHS. Discussions, speakers, performances, and art illustrate the world’s diversity of thought and ethnicity.
The week started on Monday, February 25, with a thought-provoking discussion on the film Hidden Figures. This event was led by student Tiffany Zheng. Later that day, a presentation was given by the Girls Empowerment Club. Charlotte Hallisey (junior), Amy Barratt (junior), Emma Burstiner (junior), Raina Jain (junior), and Jody Bell (senior) spoke about projects they have accomplished to better their communities. Each girl worked towards the unifying message, as put by Barratt, “when we all come together as one, our voices are heard and change is created.” Finally, to end the first day of Diversity Week, the Pender Keady School of Irish dance performed. This is a favorite performance of students.
Following this powerful kickoff, Tuesday was filled with even more inspirational events. The Stonewall Speakers spoke on identity and finding oneself. This was followed by a discussion surrounding “LGBT Around the World” led by the School Gay Straight Alliance Club. The day ended with a moving performance by the New York City Opera. Students were impressed with this performance.
Wednesday and Thursday were equally successful. On these two days, students learned about topics including undocumented immigrants, leadership skills, ways to transform the world, and art from Epic Uno.
One student, senior Lindsey Smiles, attended the presentation from Michael Hernandez and the Center for Immigration. She explained that it was extremely educational and interesting as students were taught the proper vernacular when speaking about illegal immigrants. It was explained that “no person is illegal” as all are “human beings,” so people should say “undocumented immigrants instead.
To finish the powerful week, Friday’s events highlighted cultural diversity and service to others. The New York Chinese Traditional Art Center’s Opera Troupe, for example, performed in the auditorium. Junior Anika Gupta attended the show and stated, “it was an enriching cultural experience, and I am excited that I had the opportunity to attend.” Speakers from organizations such as Unified Sports also presented. Speaker Erin Randall from Unified Sports explained the importance of inclusion extending to everyone in the sports arena.
The finale for the week was the Alvin Ailey dance performance. This world renowned dance company started as an African American group and has expanded greatly. They are well known for their dance “Revelations” as well as other contemporary dances.
When talking with Emma, it was obvious that Diversity Awareness Week makes a lasting impact on all students in her school. She says that by having a week devoted to this subject, the school in general becomes more aware of the uniqueness of other students, and diversity as a whole. We encourage other schools to participate in weeks such as theses to create a more aware and diverse school community.
Protest marches embody the good of democracy and the beauty of freedom of speech coinciding with the right to assemble. It promotes the passion that individuals may feel towards a particular issue and recognizes voices– that have been looking to scream from the rooftops– while also educating and raising awareness. But my favorite part about these marches, specifically the political ones that spotlight sexism, is that it no longer has to remain an individual issue– there, it morphs into a sea of like-minded people. Uniting people who fight the same fight, who have felt alone in this increasingly unjust world? A beautiful concept in itself. You are one, surrounded by a mass of strong women, unified by your shared experiences, struggles, and the predisposed expectations burdened on many.
the Women’s March is an event for the history books; it offers an opportunity for people everywhere to progress a feminist movement that the brave women that came before us begun. In New York City that memorable January 19, 2019 day, you are powerful and strong, feeling not only capable, but compelled to be the best person you can be– how I believe women should feel everyday, regardless if it’s an official day to celebrate themselves.
The very fact that women’s marches occur is due to the combined history of oppression, deficit in opportunities, and limiting stereotypes that have over the course of time, and of course ranging in severity, continued to set up girls to be second to boys. Being at that march, I could look at the people around me, suddenly feeling like all of my daily battles and belittling encounters I’d run into were not only validated, but a reason to be upset. Those were people who know what it’s like to be treated delicately, like real opinions could break you. What it’s like to be judged or thought excessive for believing girls deserve equal rights to boys. How it feels to be subtly discouraged from masculine traits or manly paths. How the weight of double standards cripples the shoulders of women of all ages. Individuals who have dealt with equally-infuriating people who continue to deny injustice out of the comfort of their own privilege. What it feels like to be on the losing end time and time again, trying to catch up to people who had a head start. How stressful it is to balance academic expectations without threatening others’ own capability. Instead, what you can learn from an experience such as the women’s march is that if your potential is intimidating to people it doesn’t concern, this is a problem of their own insecurity.
half of the world population, that assembles instant family-like connections. Therefore it’s a funny but great thing, then, that women gain strength from the mistreatment that has since been confining or debilitating. This here is the power of the girl– taking oppression and turning it into opportunity to grow. I think this is one of the most important takeaways I got from the Women’s March. It’s important to note that closed-mindedness goes beyond seeing just the misogynistic values behind the words, but what caused these values to form.
Keep in mind that almost everyone is a product of outside influences and the buildup of gender conditioning taking its forceful toll; very few are able to consciously resist the urge of the status quo since it is prevalent in many to all situations. It is for people like above– who don’t know any better so simply regurgitate what their parents think, or what the media says, or the things their friends believe– that I march, and for all the girls alike to me– the ones I know and the ones on the other side of the world– who have yet to discover the superpower in being apart of the uprising gender.