Young Scholars Present Scientific Research At Governor’s School Conference

MADISON — During an intensive summer academic program, 84 Governor’s School in the Sciences scholars learned how to plot the positions of the planets and determine the time each planet rises and sets on a given day; they studied the use of herbs and spices as mouthwash; they explored volcanic materials and the secrets of ancient Ecuadorian pottery engineers; and they researched the effect of increased levels of carbon dioxide, temperature, and drought-like conditions on different plant species. They presented their findings at a conference at Drew University on Aug. 2.

Governor’s School scholars are high school students entering their senior year who were selected for the program from more than 300 applicants. Among the students who presented research projects at the Drew University campus were Abhishek Gami and Daniel Qian (East Brunswick), Ravi Agrawal and Kaamya Varagur (Edison), Lydia Wang (Highland Park, Cynthia Lo and Ritesh Ragaventer (Kendall Park), Malya Sahu (Monroe), Agustin Zavala (North Brunswick), Joshua Lopez (Fanwood), Shannon Compton (Mountainside), Lotta-Gili Blumberg (New Providence), Kristen Miller (Summit), and Connor Brenan (Westfield). Students worked in small groups during the three-week program.

“The Governor’s School cultivates interest in the sciences for high-achieving students from diverse backgrounds. Governor’s School graduates have made important contributions to research that benefit New Jersey’s citizens and economy. We are very proud of the research the students presented earlier this month at Drew,” said Rochelle Hendricks, New Jersey’s Secretary of Higher Education. Her office administers State funding for the Governor’s School.

Scholars lived on the Drew campus during the summer program. Emphasis was placed on solving complex issues that exist on local, state, national, and international levels. The scholars participated in college-level courses and labs. The scholars engaged in activities such as career day and a college fair that helped them connect with professors, professionals, and peers throughout the state.

This year’s program was funded by the State of New Jersey, the Charles Edison Foundation, Roche Foundation, Celgene, Novartis, the Independent College Fund of New Jersey, AT&T, Actavis, and contributions from alumni of the Governor’s School in the Sciences.


Project in Chemistry: Relative Influences of Polarity and Crystallinity on Zero-Order Kinetic Release through a Polymer Membrane

Advisor: Dr. David Cincotta

Joshua Lopez – Fanwood – Union

Adam Dormier – Rockaway – Morris

Robert Ju – Basking Ridge – Somerset

Abhishek Gami – East Brunswick – Middlesex

Maurice Wong – Millburn – Essex

Daniel Li – Verona – Essex

Christopher Jagoe – Chatham – Morris

Kelly Gao – Woodcliff Lake – Bergen

Agustin Zavala – North Brunswick – Middlesex

Jae Woong Noh – Oradell – Bergen

Madison Parry – Cinnaminson – Burlington

Assistant: Timothy Barnum


Project in Psychology and Neuroscience: Neuronal Processing of the Corticomedial Amygdala through Odor Representation and Odor-Guided Fear Conditioning

Assistant: Heather Tynan

Sankeerth Kondapalli – Marlton – Burlington

Ankush Rakhit – Livingston – Essex

Morven Chin – Princeton Junction – Mercer

Erica Jalal – Leonia – Bergen

Hyejin Kim – Lake Hiawatha – Morris

Shannon Compton – Mountainside – Union

Christopher Li – Millburn – Essex

Peter Jin – Sparta – Sussex

Ravi Agrawal – Edison – Middlesex

John Lu – East Hanover – Morris

Alicia Lai – Holmdel – Monmouth

Sreeja Kodali – Morganville – Monmouth

Advisor: Dr. Graham Cousens


Project in Mathematical Physics: Celestial Mechanics

Advisors: Dr. Steve Surace, Dr. Robert Murawski

Assistant: Melissa Hoffman

Ellen Guo – Wayne – Passaic

Sumun Iyer – Cherry Hill – Camden

Christopher Criscitiello – Ridgewood – Bergen

Kevin He – Montville – Morris

Pranjal Gupta – Mt. Laurel – Burlington

Leo Hentschker – Montclair – Essex

Lotta-Gili Blumberg – New Providence – Union

Dr. Steve Surace

Jeffrey Kuan – Princeton Junction – Mercer

Kenneth Luo – Manalapan – Monmouth

Nikita Deshpande – West Windsor – Mercer

Connor Brennan – Westfield – Union

Ritesh Ragavender –Kendall Park – Middlesex

Melissa Hoffman

Dr. Robert Murawski


Project in Ecology: G.R.A.S.S. Growth of Ryegrass Analyzed in a Scientific Study

Eric Zhu – Upper Saddle River – Bergen

Kristen Miller – Summit – Union

Haley Uustal – Morristown – Morris

Assistant: Kia Bourdot

Advisor: Dr. Arun Srivastava

Daniel Qian – East Brunswick – Middlesex

Michelle Zhou – Morganville – Monmouth

Lauren Brill – Swedesboro – Gloucester


Project in Psychology: Cognitive Illusions

Ji-Sung Kim – Paramus – Bergen

Kyle Kuhns – Pennsville – Salem

Advisor: Dr. Patrick Dolan

Calleigh Higgins – Ogdensburg – Sussex

Fiona Furnari – Bloomsbury – Warren

Laura Eckman – Far Hills – Morris

Adrian Kase – Voorhees – Camden

Kaamya Varagur – Edison – Middlesex

Katherine Broekman – Fair Lawn – Bergen

Grace Kwak – Cresskill – Bergen

Christin Hong – Belle Mead – Somerset

Jessica Petrow-Cohen – Maplewood – Essex

Assistant: Francesco Laterza


Project in Archaeology: Reconstructing Technologies

Inga Wu – Swedesboro – Gloucester

Maria Shea – West Orange – Essex

Lydia Wang – Highland Park – Middlesex

Dominic DiPuma – Marlton – Burlington

Praveen Srinivasan – Randolph – Morris

Anthony Hoang – Egg Harbor Township – Atlantic

Chamaka Kalutota – Wayne – Passaic

Assistant: Runi Patel

Maggie Shaw – Denville – Morris

Advisor: Dr. Maria Masucci


Project in Microbiology: The Spices of Life

Assistant: Joseph Lee

Advisor: Mrs. Rachel Sandler

Stephen Liang – Hillsdale – Bergen
Allan Wang – Medford – Burlington
John Jensen – Hammonton – Atlantic
Cynthia Lo – Kendall Park – Middlesex
Bryan Gerber – Warren – Somerset
Claire Kim – Montville – Morris
Piyush Puri – East Windsor – Mercer
Gokul Mukunda – Marlboro – Monmouth
Anna Radakrishnan – Mahwah – Bergen
Sameer Dhavalikar – Bridgewater – Somerset
Chris Choi – Closter – Bergen
Tyler Dorrity – Toms River – Ocean


Project in Cognitive Science: The Effects of Visual Distractions, Social Networking, and Skim Reading on Oculomotor Behavior during Reading

Malya Sahu – Monroe – Middlesex

Trevor Edwards – Pittstown – Hunterdon

Samuel DeFabrizio – Lebanon – Hunterdon

Jenny Zhang – Clinton – Hunterdon

Jinmin Kim – Englewood Cliffs – Bergen

Katherine Lin (kneeling) – Holmdel – Monmouth

Jillian Hubbard – Toms River – Ocean

Celena Chen – Princeton – Middlesex

Allison Berger – Madison – Morris

Charlotte Zuber – Warren – Somerset

Advisor: Dr. Minjoon Kouh

Joseph Tharayil – Franklin Park – Somerset
Asavari Phanse – Marlboro – Monmouth

Assistant: Zachary Vogel

 (Photos courtesy of the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education)

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