Jake Unterlack ('24)
East students took home top awards at the 41st annual Coriell Institute Science Fair on March 19, 2022. The science fair invited South Jersey middle school and high school students to present their research in categories including biochemistry, botany, consumer science, environmental sciences, physics, zoology, and more. Seven out of the fourteen East students who participated in the fair qualified to compete in the Delaware Valley Regional Science Fair on April 6th, where they will have the chance to advance to the acclaimed Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.
East students showcased research on a variety of topics, from the effect of a perfume fragrance on people’s moods to the efficiency of using sponges as a substitute for soil. After developing and investigating their research topic, students were tasked with preparing a display board to present their findings at the fair.
“Probably the most challenging part [of the competition] was dealing with the stress of making sure that I was prepared and everything was ready,” said Kushagra Goel (‘25), one of the East students who advanced to the Delaware fair. Goel’s project, “Predicting Asthma hospitalizations from Air Quality by Using Machine Learning Models”, won first place in the computer science category for the 9th to 10th grade division.
In addition to creating a display board, students also held an interview session with judges at the fair.
“I worked on [my] project for a couple of months so it was definitely nerve-racking to finally give [the] presentation to that first judge,” said Jake Unterlack (‘24), who won first place in the behavioral and social sciences category for the 9th to 10th grade division. “I expected [the interview] to be more confrontational and less conversational than it was. I could tell I was doing well when the judges were engaged and asking questions during the presentation.”
In his project, “How do neuroplastic tendencies differ in musicians’ and nonmusicians’ short-term memory across different age ranges?”, Unterlack investigated the impacts of environmental factors and personal choices on the neuroplastic tendencies in humans’ brains.
East students who were invited to the Delaware fair also include Humna Hussain (‘24) who won second place in the behavioral and social sciences category; Ellie Noh (‘24) and David Nguyen (‘25) who took first and second place respectively in the environmental sciences category; and Jason Yang (‘25) and Max Swartz (‘24) who finished in first and second respectively for the medicine and health category.
“I think that I did really well at Coriell,” said Unterlack. “[The judges] gave me some more feedback [to] improve my research board and presentation.” Like many of his fellow students, Unterlack hopes to continue his success at the upcoming Delaware Valley Regional Science Fair and advance to the Regeneron science fair, which will take place in May.
The Delaware Valley Regional Science Fair will be held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center from April 5 to April 7, 2022. The Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair will take place in Atlanta Georgia, from May 7 to May 13, 2022.