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The 65th NJ Academy of Science Virtual Research Competition

This year marked the NJ Academy of Science (NJAS) 65th anniversary of bringing students and researchers together to exchange scientific ideas together.  Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the NJ Academy of Science (NJAS) 65th annual meeting was modified into a virtual research competition. Despite the challenges, there were more than one hundred participants who submitted their premier scientific video presentation.  

The virtual research competition gives students (High school, undergraduate and graduate students) a chance to present original scientific research and compete for the opportunity to have their research abstract published, to compete at the 2021 national  American Junior Academy of Science (junior academy level), or serve as the NJ Academy of Science delegate at the 2021 American Association for the Advancement of Science (senior academy level).

The NJAS Board would like to Congratulate all the participants for their support and commitment to science. Please see below for the 2020 NJ Academy of Science Virtual Research Competition Winners.

Senior Academy Winners

Cell and Molecular Biology: 

1st place: Lea Marjana
2nd place: Mark Bodnar II

3rd place: Veronica Holganza

Ecology, Environmental, or Marine Science

1st place: Elika Moallem 

2nd place: Sudeep Khadka

3rd place: Madison Perry

Health or Medicine: 

1st place: Shweta Sapkota



1st place: Jacqueline Mehr and Jeffrey Yang (tie)

3rd place: Indira Sawh

Honorable Mention: 

Venisse Abanilla

Julia Annuzzi

Keid Berisha

Ashanae Gordon

Jessica Hatcher

Kriti Sitaula

Yaman Thapa

Facundo Torres

Saliha Ulgur

Orion Yedidia

Maria Zamora

Junior Academy Winners


1st place: Meghan Lu and Isabella Onofrietti (tie)

2nd place: Brad Miller

3rd place: Cassandra Vongrej

Cell & Molecular Biology:

1st place: Sasha Shifter and Sofia Kaplan (tie)

2nd place: Bill Zhang

3rd place: Jonathan Tenenbaum


1st place: Lana Van Note
2nd place: Abhay Rao

3rd place: Benjamin Shain and Benjamin Lin  (tie)


1st place: Hassan Choudhry
2nd place: Christine Kim

3rd place: Isabella Fuentes, Shivani Patel, and Sidharth Srivastava (tie)

Physics and Engineering:

1st place: Arya Tschand
2nd place: Edward Kim

3rd place: Daniel Tobengauz

Health and Medicine:

1st place: Yu-Xuan Liu and Shruti Kedharnath (tie)
2nd place: Julia Smolyak, Emily Hashem, Giovanna Onofrietti, and Apollo Lee (tie)

*3rd prize was exempted for this category

Math & Computational Science:

1st place: Lily Chen
2nd place: Bradley Xu

3rd place: Justin Zhang


1st place:  Michael Kravets
2nd place: Kathleen Antonakakis

3rd place: Jawa Rayan


1st place: Grace Pluemacher
2nd place: Katherine Monroe, William Shullich, and Emily Guan (tie)

3rd place: Aarya Doshi

Grant-in-Aid  Winners

1st place:  Emily Delgado
2nd place: Harshni Parag Patel

3rd place:  Ramzi Saber and Galena Gomez

The NJAS Board gratefully acknowledges the following scientists and educators who volunteered their time as judges for the 2020 NJ Academy of Science Virtual Research Competition

Dr. Maria Agapito (Bard High School Early College/Kean University)

Dr. James Arnone (William Paterson University)

Dr. Mina Armani (Jose Marty STEM Academy)

Dr. Deepak Bal (Montclair State University)

Dr. Melissa Baralt (Berkeley College/Montclair State University)

Dr. Agnes T. Berki (Caldwell University)

Dr. Josephine Blaha (Holmdel High School)

Dr. Jaclyn Catalano (Montclair State University)

Dr. Dan Celenti (AT&T Labs (retired)/Brookdale Community College)

Dr. Grace Cook (Bloomfield College)

James Danch, MS (Colonia High School)

Nancy Farlow, BS (Jersey City High School)

Alejandra I. Ferrer - PhD Candidate (Rutgers University)

Dr. Eric Forgoston (Montclair State University)

Dr. Jing Gao (Kean University)

Dr. M. Denise Gemmellaro (Kean University)

Dr. Juyoung Ha (Kean University)

Dr. Eric Iannacone (Raritan Valley Community College)

Cynthia Israel, MS (Rutgers University)

Dr. Julian Paul Keenan (Montclair State University)

Dr. Robert Lippincott (NJ Department of Environmental Protection)

Dr. Laura Lorentzen (Kean University)

Dr. Kendall Martin (William Paterson University)

Dr. Anand Mhatre (Bard High School Early College)

Dr. Daniel Millemann (NJ Department of Environmental Protection)

Dr. Tiffany Morris (Bard High School Early College)

Rachana V. Nair, MS (Fairleigh Dickinson University)

Dr. Yelena Naumova (Raritan Valley Community College)

Cailin O’Connor, MS (Kean University)

Dr. Robert O’Hagan (Montclair State University)

Dr. Julia Olayanju (Global Food Health Institute)

Nan Perigo, MS ((Kean University)

Marius Pelmus, MS (Seton Hall University)

Dr. Nicholas Procopio (NJ Department of Environmental Protection)

Dr. Rongsun Pu (Kean University)

Yuriko Root, MS (Kean University)

Dr. Samantha Schlachter (College of Saint Elizabeth)

Dr. Ileana Soto (Rowan University)

Sean Stratton, MS (Rutgers University)

Dr. Brian Teasdale (Kean University)

The NJAS Board gratefully acknowledges the following scientists and educators who volunteered their time as grant reviewers for the 2020 NJ Academy of Science Grants-In-Aid 

Roberta Batorsky, MS (Penn State University)

Dr. Jing Gao (Kean University)

Dr. Laura Lorentzen (Kean University)

Dr. Copty Nader (Raritan Valley Community College)

Dr. Jeffrey Rosenfeld (Rutgers University)

Dr. Patrick Weir (Felician University)

Eric Wendell, BS (Mercedes-Benz USA)

Dr. Jeanette Wilmanski (Saint Peter's University)

Cecilia Wisniewski, MBA (M & J Associates)

The People's Choice Award

This year, the NJ Academy of Science (NJAS) social media committee established a new award called the People’s Choice Award to bring the scientific community together. This award is given to the competitor with the most likes on NJAS YouTube page.

Physics & Engineering: Marissa Teitelbaum (20 likes)

Cell Biology: Jonathan Tenenbaum (68 likes)

Health Medicine: Lindsey Lung (227 likes)

Ecology: Christine Kim (141 likes)

Math Computational: Melanie Chen (15 likes)

Psychology: Aarya Doshi (81 likes)

Microbiology: Rayan Jawa (20 likes)

Biochemistry: Abhay Rao (48 likes)

Botany: Patryk Dabek (354 likes)

According to the listed results above, NJAS social media committee can conclude that the winner of the People's Choice Award is Patryk Dabek with 354 likes! 

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