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Albany High junior wins state science prize

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 27, 2018) – Albany High School junior Othman Othman’s research took the top prize at a statewide science and technology conference on Sunday and may help police labs better analyze the chemical makeup of drugs they seize.

 

Othman’s research poster won first place at the 20th annual STEP Statewide Student Conference, which ran Friday through Sunday in Colonie and hosted some 450 students from throughout New York.

 

STEP is the Science and Technology Entry Program, a statewide initiative made up of colleges and universities. STEP provides middle- and high-school students throughout the state with practical experience in science, technology and health-related fields.

 

Othman participates in STEP at the University at Albany, where he ran his experiments in the high-tech chemistry labs there. 

 

Working with a forensic scientist mentor from the New York State Police, Othman studied two ways of detecting pseudoephedrine -- which is similar in its chemical makeup to methamphetamine -- in a drug substance.

 

He hypothesized that a basic extraction technique that uses a high concentration of sodium hydroxide would detect the drug more effectively than a methanol extraction technique.

 

“As a forensic scientist, my job is to analyze the drug found and see if it contains a legal or illegal drug,” he said.

 

His research did just that and proved his hypothesis sound. That means law enforcement has a better way to determine the presence of methamphetamines in drugs seized.

 

Othman plans to continue to collect data on the pseudoephedrine project. He intends to continue studying in college, as well.

 

“I want to become a doctor – a surgeon. That’s my goal,” he said.

 

Othman hopes to attend the Siena-Albany Medical College Program, taking the same path as his sister Assalah (Albany High Class of 2017), who started the pre-med program in September.

    

Congrats to Othman on his efforts!     

      

The mission of the City School District of Albany is to work in partnership with our diverse community to engage every learner in a robust educational program designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for success. The district serves around 9,600 students in 18 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.

         
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