JERICHO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of high school seniors vying to become the next science scholar sent applications to our nation’s capital, and a whopping 40 from public and private schools on Long Island made the cut.

Vyom Shah is one of four from Jericho High School to be named prestigious Regeneron Science Scholars, selected from thousands across the country.

Vyom Shah is one of four from Jericho High School to be named prestigious Regeneron Science Scholars, selected from thousands across the country. (Credit: CBS2)

He got emotional hugs and tears from his mom and dad Friday.

“I couldn’t have imagined this happening in a million years,” Vyom told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Vyom conducted experiments on red meat fatty acids.

“How those can impact the stem cells within your intestinal bdellium and increase the likelihood for cancer,” he explained.

The impetus for Vyom’s research was his mother Mital’s scare with breast cancer.

“I’m very proud. I’m thinking that he will save a lot of people,” Mital Shah said.

It was an unprecedented challenge for applicants. Labs are closed during the pandemic and their experiments had to be done remotely.

“Previously, everything was on the WEBENCH, and we’ve learned in the last 10 months to now explore all of the science that was kind of left untapped,” said Serena McCalla, Jericho High School science research coordinator.

The scholars were chosen based on research skills, academics, innovative thinking and promise as future scientists.

At John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, five students were named Regeneron Science Scholars, all female. (Credit: CBS2)

At John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, five students were named, all female. Their areas of study included glaucoma, socioeconomic factors on COVID-19, and systemic racism in high schools.

Jordyn Krinsky and Julia Levine each studied specific strains of fruit flies.

Others studied effects on diseases of Parkinson’s and celiac.

“I did my research in my homemade lab in my sunroom,” one student said.

“I created my lab in my dining room,” another student said.

Later this month, 40 of the 300 national nominees will be named finalists.

“These seniors ended up making a buddy system to help out the younger students,” said Barbi Frank, JFK High School science coordinator.

They hope to leave behind a legacy of research and cures.

The finalists will compete for nearly $2 million in scholarship money and academic awards.

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