Ward Melville High School juniors Eric Hu and Eric Zhang were among the nearly 300 top Long Island high school students to participate in the 4th Annual Long Island Youth Summit at Dowling College. As participants of the Summit, the two were chosen to present their collective essay that discussed a possible solution to a topical problem Long Islanders face.

The students’ original research project focused on the impact of Hurricane Sandy, in particular addressing the need for short- and long-term planning in the event of such a future weather occurrence, the need for increased communication, alternative energy sources and the effects of global warming. At the end of the program, the students were named one of the Best Project winners in the category of the “Impact of Hurricane Sandy” and were presented with Dowling scholarships.

Along with sharing their project, the students also had the chance to work with top experts to explore solutions for Long Island, taking part in some of the program’s nine topical workshops that covered environmental, socio-medical and community issues. They also heard from keynote speaker Donald Monti, president and CEO of Renaissance Downtowns. Mr. Monti spoke to students about the importance of becoming leaders and being active in building the social and economic future of Long Island through investment in Smart Growth-type planning, as well as building communities that will allow for economic growth and environmental preservation.

The Summit is a public-private partnership between Dowling College, the North Shore-LIJ Health System, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Vision Long Island and participating high school districts on Long Island, with students from 21 school districts in both Suffolk and Nassau counties submitting original research projects to the Summit Winner Selection Committee. On the day of the conference, winners received awards in every Summit topical category. In addition, students received awards for best science research paper, best original video, best original art, best original photo art, and the overall top prize of Best Project.

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