Danielle Goldman of Astoria was named one of 40 finalists Wednesday in the Intel Science Talent Search competition, the first time a Queens resident has reached the finals since 2009.
The prestigious contest, often called the Nobel Prize of high school science excellence, will hold this year’s finals in Washington, DC on March 8 to 13. Danielle, 17, will compete with other students from across the country for $630,000 in scholarship funds. The top winner takes homes $100,000.
A senior at Bronx High School of Science, Danielle examined the role a single neurotransmitter in the brain plays in anxiety and depression in teens. She studied MRS brain scans from New York University’s Child Study Center.
She found evidence that the disorders are related, noting that previously they were never directly linked.
Busy with advanced placement mid-term exams, Danielle was nevertheless thrilled to be named a finalist, according to her mother, Ruth Goldman. “She was notified Tuesday afternoon and luckily she was at home because of the mid-terms and was there to get the call,” the happy mother said.
Although happy about the honor, Danielle was thinking about her other classmates who did not advance to the finals. “That’s the kind of girl she is, she always thinks about others and is not very into herself,” Goldman said. “Nor is she a geek.”
She described her daughter as always interested in helping people. Already accepted in early admittance to Columbia University, Danielle will study neuroscience and behavior there in the fall. She wants to go on to be a pediatric psychologist.
A graduate of PS 166 and PS/IS 122, all in Astoria, Danielle was especially happy to hear from her first-grade teacher and elementary school principal when she was named one of 300 semi-finalists two weeks ago. Both sent congratulatory emails.
Danielle has always worked hard throughout her schooling, according to her mother, and her busy schedule reflects that. This semester she is taking five AP courses. She spent at least part of three days a week at NYU while doing research for her project.
Ruth Goldman, a homemaker, and her husband, Gary, an art dealer, are extremely proud of their daughter, who is an only child. “She’s spoiled, but she doesn’t act it,” Ruth Goldman said.
As an Intel finalist, Danielle wins $7,500 plus a laptop. In addition, she earned $1,000 for herself and her school as a semi-finalist.
This year, Queens had eight semi-finalists, who all attend schools outside the borough at Bronx Science and Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. No Queens schools fielded a semi-finalist.
Last year, Queens had four semi-finalists. One attended Townsend Harris High School in Flushing, while the others went to schools outside the borough.