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SU STEP team wins 2009 Regional Science Bowl

February 04, 2009

Patrick Farrell
(315) 443-5421

Patrick Farrell

A team of high school students from the Syracuse University Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) won the 2009 Science & Technology Entry Program Regional Science Bowl, held Jan. 31 at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

STEP teamTeam captain Nour Sahraoui (senior, Jamesville DeWitt High School) and team members Melquea Smith (freshman, Syracuse Academy of Science High School), Hadjer Sahraoui (freshman, Jamesville DeWitt High School), Iryonna Scruggs (junior, Liverpool High School), Iledeja Yancy (freshman, Henninger High School) and DeVante Watson (freshman, Nottingham High School) prepared for the event by practicing after school twice a week for three weeks. Team coach Sarah Sahraoui, a 2008 SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry graduate in biotechnology and STEP teacher, worked with team members to prepare for the challenge.

"This was our first Science Bowl experience," says Leonese Nelson, director of SU STEP and research assistant professor in SU's School of Education. "I just wanted our students to have a good time and to get a feel for what the bowl was about. Their win was simply amazing."

The SU team competed against 24 teams from across New York state, including teams sponsored by RIT, RPI, Union College and the University at Albany. In addition to STEP, participating programs included Upward Bound, the Program for Rochester to Interest Students in Science and Math (PRIS2M) and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.

As winners of the regional Science Bowl, the SU STEP team earned an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., at the end of April to represent New York state in the National Science Bowl Finals.

SU STEP provides academic support services and enrichment activities to students in grades 7-12. Students acquire the skills necessary for entry into pre-professional degree programs in scientific, technical and health-related fields through hands-on activities that have real-life implications. The STEP Saturday Learning Academy/Enrichment Program offers advising, counseling, math and science academic instruction, tutorials, mentoring, college preparation, professional development and other academic services such as field trips, workshops and cultural awareness programs. Students in SU STEP come from schools within the Syracuse City School District and four other central New York school districts.

For more information about SU STEP, contact Leonese Nelson, SU STEP director, at 443-9171 or

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