Tenafly Students Excel in the Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium

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Ahri Han (’18) and Lucas Goldman (’19), left to right respectively

Yuri Han, Staff Writer

Imagine presenting a scientific research project to a panel of experts in the field and representatives of the military. Imagine discussing the potential of your project and how it can change the world. Imagine having your research selected for this opportunity to share your findings with the scientific community, receiving monetary awards and recognition by some of the biggest sponsors of scientific research.

Often, aspiring scientific researchers can only find these opportunities during their undergraduate studies and onward. However, two students Ahri Han (’18) and Lucas Goldman (’19) were able to experience these moments early last Friday, March 23, 2018. Selected by the Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium (JSJSS) as two of the top ten finalists in the regional competition, Han and Goldman participated in the competition at the highest regional level to compete for a number of prizes and a spot in the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS).

The National JSHS is one of the biggest STEM competitions in the nation, sponsored by the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force. This competition promotes original research and experimentation in all areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the high school level. The JSHS regional and national symposium are held during the academic year to give students who participate in science research a chance to present their findings. Being selected to present at the regional competitions is a highly selective process and being selected for the national symposium is one of the highest honors for student scientists.

After submitting their papers to the regional competition in NJ, Han and Goldman were selected as two of the top papers submitted out of hundreds of applications from the NJ region. By being selected, the two got the chance to present their research along with 8 other finalists in a PowerPoint presentation to a panel of qualified judges in the field.

“I felt very honored that my paper was selected to be judged at such a level,” said Han. “I was nervous and excited at the same time because I practiced for two months for this. To finally be able to present my research in front of a large audience was such a surreal experience because I was always the one watching in the audience.”

Right away, the finalists received hundreds of dollars in monetary awards just for being selected as top 10 finalists. Awards were sponsored by organizations such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), and the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).

“I’m so thankful to receive these honors,” said Goldman. “There were a lot of great projects out there, so I feel so lucky to have been recognized by these organizations.”

“There were a lot of great projects out there, so I feel so lucky to have been recognized by these organizations.”

— Lucas Goldman ('19)

Han and Goldman were recognized multiple times when called up to the stage during the awards ceremony. The received awards and recognition by the following:

Ahri Han (‘18)

AFCEA Greater Monmouth Chapter: 1st Place
AOC Garden State Chapter
Aspen Consulting Group
Best in Advanced Materials Science & Nanotechnology Award: 1st Place
Harris Corporation
Naval Air Systems Command, Lakehurst
Naval Weapons Station Earle
NDIA Army Picatinny Chapter
NDIA Central Jersey Chapter
New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium: 2nd Place
New Jersey SAME
New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Environmental Poster Presenter Award

Lucas Goldman (‘19)

AOC Garden State Chapter
Aspen Consulting Group
Harris Corporation
Honorable Mention Overall (Qualify for National JSHS)
Naval Air Systems Command, Lakehurst
Naval Weapons Station Earle
NDIA Central Jersey Chapter
NDIA Army Picatinny Chapter
New Jersey SAME
Women in Defense Picatinny Chapter

In addition to receiving the sponsorship awards, Goldman also received Honorable Mention in qualifying for the National JSHS, meaning he will advance to nationals as a poster presenter. There, he will be able to compete for $350 as a first place poster presenter.

“I’m really excited to be given the opportunity to advance to nationals and see all the great projects out there that will be presented,” said Goldman, whose research was on osteoarthritis. “I’m also excited to compete with these fantastic, scientific research projects at the national level.”

“This experience and my entire experience in science research make me want to pursue scientific research after high school,” said Han, whose winning research was focused on how magnetic nanoparticles can clean polluted water.

This year, the National JSHS will be held in Hunt Valley, Maryland, on May 2-5, 2018. Good luck, Lucas!