Forty-five of MMI Preparatory School’s 55 entrants placed first at the recent Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competition at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre. Ali Aijaz, Gabriella DeMelfi, Garrett Kost, and Chava Kornblatt all placed first with a perfect score in their events.
Anirban Chowdhury and Elizabeth Pinto both qualified for a summer research fellowship at The Commonwealth Medical College, while Garrett Kost and Joshua Kalada-Kania received a summer research fellowship at Lacawac Sanctuary. Senior High Excellence Awards were given to Alyssa Famalette (in microbiology), Garrett Kost (biochemistry) and Chava Kornblatt (biology), and Alexander Kline received a Junior High Excellence Award in engineering.
Ali Aijaz, son of Fakhruddin and Dr. Naghma Aijaz of Mountaintop; Lois Polashenski, daughter of Robert and Kathleen Polashenski of Freeland; and Abigail Paul, daughter of Rustin and Cynthia Paul of Jim Thorpe, each finished first in two events. Additional first-place finishers are: Alyssa Famalette, daughter of Anthony and Joann Famalette of Freeland; Shaelyn Heft, daughter of Norman Heft of Palmerton and Judy Heft of Lehighton; Jay Solgama, son of Dr. Paresh and Arti Solgama of Mountaintop; Niklas Byriel, son of Julia Byriel of Mountaintop and the late Kim Byriel; Dana Carrato, daughter of Dr. Anthony and Carmine Carrato of Hazleton; Anirban Chowdhury, son of Bhaskar and Saumitri Chowdhury of Hazle Township; Gabriella DeMelfi, daughter of Daniel and Esme DeMelfi of Hazleton; Megan Marchetti, daughter of David and Andrea Marchetti of Freeland; Joshua Narrow, son of Howard and Marie Narrow of Hazleton; Kisan Patel, son of Dr. Dilipkumar and Dr. Minaben Patel of Mountaintop; Elizabeth Pinto, daughter of Karen Pinto of Mountaintop and John Pinto of Maplewood, NJ; Erin Sari, daughter of Izzet and Mumine Sari of Sugarloaf; Samuel Sessock, son of Jennifer and James Denion of Freeland and the late John Sessock; Jessica Smith and Jonathan Smith, children of Jonathan Smith and Beatrice Russo-Smith of White Haven; Nicholas Young, son of Christian and Nicole Young of Freeland; Angelica Alday, daughter of Dr. Senen and Dr. Milagros Azcueta-Alday of Mountaintop; Lauren Babinetz, daughter of Michael and Patricia Babinetz of Jim Thorpe; David Caldwell, son of David and Maria Caldwell of Mountaintop; Anna Haber, daughter of Dr. John and Cathryn Haber of Tresckow; Joshua Kalada-Kania, son of Kevin Kania and Susan Kalada of Drums; Gabriella Kupsho, daughter of Dr. Robert and Diane Kupsho of Drums; Jakob Schwabe, son of Marybeth Hayden of Hazle Township and Scott Schwabe of New York, NY; Julia Snyder, daughter of Dr. Christopher and Dr. Jill Snyder of Sugarloaf; Elizabeth Borchick, daughter of Lance and Cynthia Borchick of Drums; Nicholas Carrato, son of Dr. Anthony and Carmine Carrato of Hazleton; Andrew Decker, son of Aaron Decker of Kingston and Elizabeth and Troy Topolski of Sugarloaf; Alexander Kline, son of Dr. Gerard and Caterina Kline of Mountaintop; Jessica McClellan, daughter of Bruce and Patricia McClellan of Freeland; Alexander Sessock, son of Jennifer and James Denion of Freeland and the late John Sessock; Zachary Young, son of Christian and Nicole Young of Freeland; Louis DeAngelo, son of Grete DeAngelo of Sugarloaf and Louis DeAngelo of Hazle Township; McKenna Gallagher, daughter of Shawn and Jennifer Gallagher of Drums; Morgan Hosier, daughter of Marcianna and Barry Hosier of West Pittston; Jacqueline Snyder, daughter of Dr. Christopher and Dr. Jill Snyder of Sugarloaf; Ella Urosevich, daughter of Dr. Thomas and Lori Urosevich of Mountaintop; and Peter Walko, son of Lawrence Walko and Debbie Brenner-Walko of Drums.
Second-place finishers are: Sarah Moyer, daughter of Robert and Susan Moyer of Bowmanstown; Michael Badamo, son of Anthony and Jessica Badamo of Sugarloaf; Sydney Karpowich, daughter of Atty. Donald and Tracy Karpowich of Sugarloaf; Mahad Muhammad, son of Ikram and Alia Muhammad of Mountaintop; Stephanie Zellner, daughter of Stephen and Theresa Zellner of Drums; Wesley Guarneri, son of Vincent and Sop Guarneri of Wilkes-Barre; Keefer Hoover, son of Jai and Ninotchka Hoover of Mountaintop; Morgan Long, son of David and Theresa Long of Freeland; Frederick Mejia, son of Carlos and Esperanza Mejia of West Hazleton; Brian Payne, son of Brian and Marie Payne of Sugarloaf; Bailey Slusser, daughter of Amy St. Pierre of Drums and Atty. Christopher Slusser of Sugarloaf; and Coleman Smith, son of Keith and Laura Smith of White Haven. Jai-Jacob Hoover, son of Jai and Ninotchka Hoover of Mountaintop, finished third.
Seniors Sarah Moyer (six years), Jay Solgama (five years), Shaelyn Heft (four years), and Alyssa Famalette (three years) all received perseverance awards in recognition of competing for three or more years.
During the competition, seventh- to 12th-grade students from 34 districts presented research from their experiments in an array of scientific categories.
The Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competition is designed to stimulate and promote interest in science through the development of research investigations. The competition is open to all students in grades seven to 12 who wish to participate. Students conduct scientific research in one of the 12 scientific categories of research. Students present their findings to a panel of judges at the regional competition. Students who received a first-place award will move on to the state competition held in May at the Pennsylvania State University in State College.