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East Meadow board recognizes a district scholar, new administrator

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During an East Meadow Board of Education meeting on Feb. 5, the spotlight was on Abishek Ravindran, a senior at W.T. Clarke High School who was recently named one of 300 scholars in the 2020 Regeneron Science Talent Search.

Board members also congratulated Elizabeth Dowling, who is beginning her tenure as assistant principal of East Meadow High School.

Dowling has worked in the district for 18 years, teaching middle and high school Spanish and serving as chairperson of the English department at East Meadow High School.

Board members gave Ravindran a certificate of achievement for his project. Titled “Implementation of Novel Sector Weight and Google Trends Data Objectives using MOEA/D Curtails Systematic Risk for Quintessential Investors,” his research was based on the Modern Portfolio Theory. Developed by Henry Markowitz in 1952, the theory is an algorithm to help investors organize their assets to yield the greatest returns given the economy’s level of risk.

But, Ravindran noted, the model focuses on wealthy investors, like businesses and large corporations. He wanted to tailor the model to middle-class people who invest in their education, housing and retirement. He began work on the project last summer in Stony Brook University’s Applied Mathematics and Statistics Department, under Professor Yuefan Deng.

Using data from Google Trends, Ravindran determined which assets have the highest risks and returns. He used two sets of data, one from 2003 to 2007 and another from the Great Recession, in 2008 and 2009. Then he created an algorithm to help people make the most profitable decision when assembling their portfolios.

Ravindran said that the experience was humbling, and that his conclusions couldn’t reverse major economic crises or make for a more effective model than Markowitz’s. “As much as you think you could solve major problems,” he said, “it’s more about making incremental steps toward something larger.”

Ravindran’s award included a $2,000 prize for Clarke.