Jennifer Philbin, a fifth grade student from Cherry Avenue Elementary School, recently received a citation from Presiding Officer William Lindsay for receiving first place at the Brookhaven National Laboratory Science Fair.
Philbin decided on her topic while watching a television show about a man who was mistakenly sent to prison based on eyewitness testimony. After viewing the program, she wanted to investigate how reliable eyewitness accounts are, and then determine who the best eyewitnesses would be- young, old, male or female.
Philbin created a 37 second video of a crime in progress, which was filmed as if the viewers were walking home from a movie with friends and witnessed two suspects breaking into a car. Without explaining the video beforehand, Philbin asked 47 unsuspecting people, both males and females between the ages of 8-78, to view the video. They were then asked to recall details about the crime, based on questions asked by a 911 dispatcher and a point was given for each correct detail.
After reviewing the data, Philbin then charted and analyzed her results and concluded that although eyewitnesses were helpful, they are not 100 percent reliable. She was also able to determine that males and females ages 11-30 were the most reliable witnesses.
"On behalf of my colleagues in the Suffolk County Legislature, we congratulate Jennifer Philbin on this unique and wonderful achievement, deserving of official recognition," said Legislator Lindsay.