WW Teaching Fellow Coaches NJ STEM Showcase Team
In March, the Jersey City Medical Center/RWJ Barnabas Health STEM Showcase celebrated its 60th anniversary at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ. The program brought together over 300 fifth through 12th grade students from the surrounding areas. In partnership with New Jersey City University, the STEM Showcase engaged the community in recognition of individual and team research.
Innovation High School in Jersey City, where 2015 New Jersey Teaching Fellow Sharmila Chattopadhyay teaches scientific research and environmental science, was able to send three groups of students to the showcase this year. Dr. Chattopadhyay coached these young, aspiring scientists with their projects and presentations.
After the students chose their topics based on their areas of interest, Dr. Chattopadhyay guided their experimental trials, oversaw their data compilation, and assessed their written abstracts to ensure everyone was well prepared for the showcase. During the event, she provided support and encouragement to her presenters.
“I am delighted to announce that all of our students received awards in each area they participated in: plant science, engineering, and environmental science,” Dr. Chattopadhyay expressed with pride. “This is the second year in a row that we were awarded a bronze medal, despite a shortage of resources.”
Even with a lack of lab equipment at Innovation High, Dr. Chattopadhyay still finds and creates hands-on activities for her students to better their practice and presentations. “Despite these challenges, my students worked hard and developed projects that impressed the judges,” she says. “I am very proud of them and extremely happy.”
Along with the bronze medal, Dr. Chattopadhyay’s students received other honors at the showcase. One student, whose project studied the effect of water pollution on plants, won the American Meteorological Award for work that has profound impact on climate. Two other groups of students received awards, the Minnie and Samuel Narushinky Award and the Dr. and Mrs. Irving Shuman Memorial Award, honoring deceased family members who instilled in the students a passion for science.