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The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

Nine Tenafly Students Win Awards at 2024 New Jersey Academy of Science Symposium

Kavya Chettur
Ms. Firnberg’s class at the 2024 NJAS Symposium

On Saturday, April 20, 14 students from Tenafly High School participated in the 69th Annual New Jersey Academy of Science (NJAS) symposium at Kean University. Of the 14 Tenafly students, nine received awards by placing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in their respective categories. The winners are listed below.


1st Place Category Award: Kailyn Cho (’25), Ananya Anchlia (’25)

2nd Place Category Award: Justin Byun (’25), Kavya Chettur (’25), Pranav Suresh (’25), Wendy Guo (’26), Hillary Xie (’26)

3rd Place Category Award: Erica Lee (’26), Davin Shin (’26)


The day was filled with different activities of interest, including keynote presentations from respected scientists and smaller breakout seminars hosted by guest speakers. In the middle of the schedule, of course, was the Junior Academy presentation session, where students in high schools all across New Jersey presented a total of 148 projects.

“As my first science research event, it was an insightful experience,” Xie said. “It provided a good chance to network and meet accomplished scientific people across New Jersey. I learned a lot from the presentations of the keynote speakers.” This year, Xie worked on a joint project with Guo on the biodiversity of stilt grass in New Jersey for the Urban Barcoding Project (UBP).

The presentation experience at NJAS was excellent and filled with qualified judges from many different scientific disciplines. “There was a good selection of judges and they were experts in their field,” Guo said. “They seemed to really care about what we, high school students, were researching.”

The Science Research Program at THS is a rigorous and demanding three-year program. The program is also highly selective, choosing only around 15 students from a large pool of freshmen applicants. Organized by THS teachers Ms. Firnberg, Ms. Subramanium, and Mr. Brandstaedter, the research program aims to “guide students through the methods of science research by immersing them in scientific study with field mentors and highly trained THS science staff members,” as per the 2023 THS Science Research Symposium booklet. In the program, students are required to work at a laboratory over their sophomore and junior summers for 90 hours — an excellent opportunity to gain exposure to professional scientific work at a young age. With the independent project, students are expected to enter into different science competitions such as NJAS and the renowned Regeneron STS competition. 

Cho shared some insight into her science research work this year: “I started going to a lab in the spring of 2023 for training,” Cho said. “Afterwards, I went every single day during the summer to work on my independent research project. My lab provided me with a lot of support throughout the process.”

At NJAS, Cho presented her project titled, “Dose Response of Etoposide on Relevant Model of ETMR,” winning 1st place in the Cell and Molecular Biology Category. This was Cho’s first year presenting at NJAS, and she is elated to have performed well after all the rigorous work on her project over the summer. Cho, along with other first and second place category winners, will get a chance to present at the Academy of Science’s national competition in Boston next year.

“When researching, there are days that are hard, where you have to grind and push through, but you will get satisfactory results in the end,” Cho said.

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About the Contributors
Davin Shin
Davin Shin, Staff Writer
Davin Shin ('26) is a Staff Writer for The Echo. He loves exploring controversial topics and sports. His hobbies include playing soccer, watching sports, reading, and hanging out with friends.
Kavya Chettur
Kavya Chettur, Senior Staff Writer
Kavya Chettur ('25) is excited to be a Senior Staff Writer for The Echo! She is interested in covering stories related to current events, student life, and science. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, playing lacrosse, and spending time with her friends and puppy, Benji. She looks forward to sharing her writing with an audience.