Two McNair Academy High School students, Aditya Jain and Ehtesham Suhail, will compete in this year’s Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Dallas May 14-19 after emerging as gold-medal winners at the Hudson County 65th annual STEM Showcase earlier this year. 

The Jersey City Medical Center hosted the showcase this year for the seventh year in a row and is also “sponsoring” Jain and Suhail’s trip to the competition. 

“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to study computer science or engineering and to collaborate with experts who can guide me on my journey,” said Jain, 17.

Jain’s project involved developing a program and algorithm that detects human activities on train tracks to prevent trespasser fatalities on New Jersey Transit rail lines. The system alerts the conductor to stop the train before a collision would occur. 

Suhail, also 17, said he had always been fascinated by neurological disorders and the potential of natural resources in medicine and pharmaceuticals. 

“My interest in alternative medicine led me to work in a lab where I could explore gaps in the medical market and focus on clinical trials. My goal is to study biology or biomedical engineering and become a doctor,” Suhail said, adding, “Through my work with TrueBinding Inc., a San Francisco-based company, I have discovered the potential of alternative treatments in decreasing inflammation, which may have implications for future anti-inflammatory medicines.”

Kay O’Malley, director of the STEM Showcase, notes that local students presented their independent or team research to STEM professionals during the program. “This exchange of ideas allows for critique and guidance from experienced professionals in the fields to which the students aspire, making the program prestigious and valuable for students.” 

Judges in the program are engineers, doctors, researchers, and other professionals. The STEM Showcase has facilitated connections between students and judges, with many kids gaining mentorship opportunities, including working in a lab in the summer.