Local Student Advances to National Science Competition
June 16, 2008
FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. - Franz Sauer of Monmouth County joined classmates and local colleagues at the 46th annual Monmouth Junior Science Symposium. Sauer, Jay Feldman, Jeffrey Hart and Andrew Shum of High Technology High School were four of 10 finalists in the paper presentation for this notable regional science fair.
MJSS is a student competition that aims to promote research and experimentation through science, engineering and mathematics. With support from the United States Army, Navy, Air Force and Monmouth University, more than $340 thousand in scholarships were awarded to 16 students who submitted research papers and posters.
Dr. Datta V. Naik, dean of the Graduate School and Continuing Education at Monmouth University and director of Monmouth Junior Science Symposium, has been involved with MJSS for 15 years and recognizes the importance of rewarding the achievements of young scientists.
"This is the only program I know that works with high school students at the formative age in developing that interest and promoting that interest in real science," Naik said.
Naik believes that high school students shy away from math or math-related fields of science, in turn decreasing the enrollment in science majors at the university level.
"I think that our future is in young scientists' hands; the future of technology, the future of science is in their hands," Naik said. "Getting them involved and promoting them and recognizing their achievement is the way to do the right thing."
Over the course of the symposium, students from Monmouth County, Atlantic County, Burlington County, Middlesex County and Monmouth County watched peer presentations, attended a banquet at Fort Monmouth's Gibbs Hall and toured the facility of their choice: Fort Monmouth, Naval Weapons Station Earle or Monmouth University.
Fifty-five students including students from High Tech High School and Saint John Vianney High School, toured the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center at Fort Monmouth.
The students visited CERDEC's Command and Control of Robotic Entities lab, the Army Power battery lab and the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment lab.
Mark Adkins, Computer Engineer in C2ORE, gave the touring students a brief demonstration on some robotic entities currently used by the Army.
"It's so important to drive interest when they're young," Adkins said. "It's important that they not just hear about it but get the hands on experience."
Krishna Patel, a student from Colonia High School, was impressed with the technology used in the C2ORE lab.
"The unmanned aerial vehicle, the robots and sensors on the Fort Monmouth tour were the coolest things I've ever seen," Patel said. "I think it's fascinating that they could come up with a program like that."
Sixteen students were chosen to present their papers and posters at Fort Monmouth's Gibbs Hall during a banquet. Six students presented posters to judges from Fort Monmouth, Monmouth Junior Science Executive Committee, Monmouth University, Naval Weapons Station Earle and Picatinny Arsenal.
Jeffrey Janover, director of Technology at Wall Township Public Schools, opened the evening and James Danch, science research teacher at Colonia High School, gave a presentation entitled "The Making of King Kong: History, Science and Ingenuity."
The poster presenters received their awards at the banquet. Nichole Roxas, a junior at Bergen County Academies, was awarded first-place for her project, "Inducing Apoptosis in JURKAT cells using RNAi, Curcumin and Ara-C."
Roxas explained it in simpler terms as "trying to figure out a way for these cancer cells [JURKAT cells] to die using various combinations of the three agents."
Roxas, a first-time participant in MJSS, enjoyed sharing her passion about her topic and credits its success to a supportive academic environment.
"Definitely having a great support system at school, the ideas that peers can help each other grow and something like this is definitely a testament to that," Roxas said.
Roxas is invited to attend the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in Orlando, Fla. She received contributions for the national expenses and was awarded scholarship money from the Fort Monmouth Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications-Electronics Association, the Association of Old Crows, Fort Monmouth Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army, National Defense Industrial Association and Signal Core Regimental Association.
Sauer, a student at High Technology High School, won second place for his paper presentation entitled, "Towards Making the Smallest Tool Machine for Nanotechnology: Engineering a Superlens with Aberration Correction for Focused Ion Beam Microscopes."
Sauer has attended four Monmouth Junior Science Symposiums and has competed in three. Sauer's paper was one of 10 chosen from the 71 papers submitted to this year's symposium.
"What I like about Monmouth Junior Science Symposium is that there are so many different types of topics that the students come to every year," Sauer said. "It's not just a group of students that have similar research projects."
Sauer chose to tour Fort Monmouth with his classmates and was surprised to learn how his project could be used in other applications.
"There are so many different branches, and I didn't really realize how many other applications that my project could have with the military," Sauer said. "It really gave me a broader view of how science could be used in a military standpoint."
The U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force, Blonder Broadcasting Corporation, AFCEA, Army Aviation Association of America, Fort Monmouth Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army, Classlink Technologies, Institute of Electrical Engineers, Monmouth University, Naval Weapons Station Earle, NDIA and the Society of Military Engineers provided scholarship and monetary rewards to Sauer, first-place winner Xiaocheng Ma of Bergen County Academies and the other paper presenters.
Sauer presented placed second in "Math and Computer Science" at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. He won $6000 in scholarship money from the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force-sponsored 46th JSHS.