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Congratulations to the 42 graduates from Liberty Science Center’s Partners in Science program, 2018!
This brilliant group of high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors spent their summer vacation working on research projects throughout New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. They were each paired with a mentor and placed in a professional lab setting, with locations that included Stevens Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, Columbia University, New York University, Union City High School, University of Pennsylvania, and many more.
On Aug. 23, 2018, the students presented their research projects in front of a packed auditorium at Liberty Science Center.
For 32 years, LSC’s Partners in Science program, which predates even the building of the Science Center, has provided an intensive summer experience for students excited about pursuing a career in STEM.
Jhohanna Perez, 17, a senior at Union City High School, spent the summer at Stevens studying scaffolds for stem cells to heal fractures in the human body.
“These projects can make a big impact,” Perez said. “The work I did could one day better the way that people are treated in medical care.”
This year, Partners in Science also kicked off a new program called “Pathways,” where three students spent their summer working at Liberty Science Center rather than in a laboratory environment.
One of those students, Noah Johnson, 17, from Columbia High School in Maplewood, spent the summer developing young learner programs for LSC’s new Weston Family Lab for Earth and Space Exploration. This stunning new exhibition and laboratory classroom is home to Science on a Sphere, a six-foot suspended globe that displays images and real-time data provided by NASA and NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
In addition to developing programs on weather and space, Johnson even presented his programs to families and children.
“I learned a lot about how to engage young kids,” Johnson said. “They need a lot of interaction, so I learned to incorporate that in my programs as much as possible.”
Johnson, like the rest of his peers, is excited about pursuing a STEM career – in his case, one that focuses in astronomy.
Another student, Amanda Zheng, 16, of Union County Magnet High School, spent the summer at Stevens studying how aligned orientation of electrospun nanofibers promote neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells.
Her hard work only continues from here. She has taken an editor role at an international, student-run STEM journal in order to help fellow young adults get their research published.
“It’s really hard for students to get their work published, especially scientific work because we’re competing with all these PhDs and postdocs who have way more experience than us,” Zheng said. “So this journal will give students exposure to the scientific field without having to compete with insane competition to get it published.”
Congratulations again to this amazing group of graduates!