Excelling in the classroom and on the ice, Greenwich High School senior Hannah Goldenberg was chosen as an FCIAC Exemplary Scholar-Athlete for the Winter 2021 season.
Goldenberg has maintained a 4.88 GPA at Greenwich High School and was a four-year member of the Cardinals’ varsity ice hockey team. She served as one of the Cardinals’ captains this past season, which saw her star as the squad’s starting goalie. Also a member of Greenwich’s outdoor track and field team, Goldenberg will fill the role as one of the captains of the squad during the spring.
A Second Team All-FCIAC selection for the 2021 season, Goldenberg received All-FCIAC honors three straight seasons. During her high school career, Goldenberg has taken many Honors and AP classes, earning an A+ and A in most of them. She is a member of the National Honors Society (2020-2021), Science National Honors Society (2019-2020) and Spanish National Honors Society (2019-2020).
At the Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair (2021) she placed second and was fourth in the Life Sciences Fair in 2018. Goldenberg placed first in the Biomedical Sciences category at the National Junior Sciences Humanities Symposium in 2019. She appreciates the challenging courses Greenwich High School offers and how the school has inspired her to further her knowledge.
“There is something for everyone at the high school,” Goldenberg said. “This year, I am taking courses that I know I will be taking next year in college. I like being able to choose from such a wide range of classes that are offered at Greenwich High. A research program that Greenwich has doesn’t exist at a lot of schools.”
Recently, Goldenberg was a Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalist for the 2020-2021 school year. Since its inception in 1942, the Regeneron Science Talent Search recognizes and empowers the nation’s most promising young scientists who are developing ideas that could solve some of society’s challenges. Each year, approximately 1,900 students in the nation enter the Regeneron Science Talent Search and Goldenberg was a finalist.
Goldenberg’s research for the Regeneron Science Talent Search for which she was a finalist focused on a link between vaping and COPD Development. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.
Her research summary was completed in three phases. Goldenberg noted that during the first phase, she found that the flavoring chemical diacetyl is present in e-cigarettes in high enough concentrations that it can cause popcorn lung, which is an irreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease. In the second phase of her research, Goldenberg used human lung cells and learned that the cells were showing similar responses to e-cigarettes that they would to tobacco cigarettes, which showed there is a link between vaping and COPD development.
In the final year/phase of her research, Goldenberg studied fruit flies and and learned that flies exposed to e-cigarettes respond almost the same as flies exposed to cigarettes. They both had shorter life spans, had disrupted sleep patterns and were less active than regular fruit flies. Therefore, she found more evidence linking vaping to COPD.
Indeed, Goldenberg’s research was extensive and time-consuming.
“I learned a lot,” she said. “I got to do a lot of cool stuff through it. Some of the research was done at a lab in Brooklyn, which was really cool and I did some of it at school. I spent most of the past three-and a half years working on it. Each week, I worked on it six or seven days for about 12 hours each week.”
Goldenberg, who also authored a paper in the MDPI Journal of Respiration this year, will head to Northwestern University in the fall. She was accepted into Northwestern’s Engineering School and she plans to major in biomedical engineering.
“That is something that I have been interested in for a while,” Goldenberg said. “I really like meeting new people and at college I will meet people from all over the world.”
Greenwich High School Science Research Teacher Andrew Bramante has been one of Goldenberg’s mentors during her academic career.
“Mr. Bramante does a really great job of running the research program at school,” she said. It takes a lot of work to figure out the equipment and put together some of the projects. But he does a great job.”
As a senior on Greenwich’s girls ice hockey team this past season, Goldenberg took ownership of the role as the Cards’ starting goalie. She posted several shutouts, registered 30 or more saves in a number of games and was a consistent presence throughout the season between the pipes.
Goldenberg helped lead Greenwich to a record of 7-5-2 and to the FCIAC Tournament semifinals, where it lost to Darien on March 18. Each winter and spring, Goldenberg has looked forward to competing on the Cardinals’ hockey and track and field teams.
“Hockey and track have both always been really important to me,” Goldenberg said. “I have played hockey for 11 years now and it’s been so much fun. “Having the opportunity to be on a team also has really helped me a lot. I have met some of my closest friends through hockey and track and I’m happy I’ve had the opportunity to play both sports.”
The Connecticut Ice Cats and Greenwich Skating Club were among some of the programs Goldenberg played hockey for prior to arriving at Greenwich High School.
“This year, I think I was a lot better as a goalie than in the past,” Goldenberg said. “The first few years, I kind of rotated out, my goalie partners were older than me and they had the maturity edge. This year, it was mostly me so I kind of got into a groove.”
Northwestern has a club ice hockey team, which Goldenberg said she may opt to play on. Currently, she is preparing for Greenwich’s outdoor spring track and field season. She competes in the throwing events – the javelin, discus and shot put.
Greenwich girls ice hockey coach Alex Lerchen witnessed Goldenberg’s effectiveness in goal each game and her leadership as a captain.
“Hannah was outstanding this season and did it while maintaining an extremely high GPA in the classroom,” Lerchen said. “We’re proud of all that she accomplished on the ice and in the classroom. She set a great example to others.”