Long Island twins semi-finalists for Regeneron competition, one of the top science prizes in U.S.

BRENTWOOD, Suffolk County (WABC) -- Born together and best friends forever - identical twins Roberto and Ricardo Lopez now share an honor that is twice as nice.

Both of these Brentwood High School seniors are semi-finalists in this year's prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search.

They both studied the salt marshes here at Sunken Meadow State Park.

Roberto used a drone to study Phragmates Australis, an invasive wetland grass species that's taken over the salt marsh.

While Ricardo studied how the salt marsh could be restored.

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The twins are two of 300 selected semifinalists from across the country in this year's science talent search.

Only 40 will be chosen on Thursday for the finals, so it's entirely possible that only one or neither of the brothers will move on.

"A win for him, even though I might not win, is a win for both of us and vice versa," said Roberto.

And a win for their teacher - Dr. Rebecca Grella who has worked to bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots in science - for the better part of two decades now.

Grella collaborates with Stony Brook University and provides amazing resources for students as the Science Research Director at Brentwood High School.

Brentwood is the largest school district on Long Island, but it is also one of the most financially challenged.

To say it has been a herculean effort for Dr. Grella to build up the science program is an understatement.

"Twenty years ago, I was running research as a club, and comparing myself to the districts that constantly had winners," said Grella.

But the winners soon came. Ten years ago Samantha Garvey who was formerly homeless, was an Intel semi-finalist from the same program the Lopez twins are now part of at Brentwood High School.

And so despite great hardship and a few hot messes along the way including a crashed computer-like literally- the boys ran over it changing a flat tire.

"Luckily he had his project saved somewhere else, but I didn't cause you don't think that's gonna happen," said Roberto.

Now bigger things will happen for the Lopez twins, like potentially huge financial rewards from Regeneron, but most importantly they'll be the first in their family to attend college.

"I wanna be a person that creates something new to benefit the world," said Ricardo.



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