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Global problem-solving challenges Middlesex County Vo-Tech students

MCVTS Woodbridge Academy students Theresa Carlos, left, and Shaili Singh have been accepted into the Junior Academy of the New York Academy of Sciences.

WOODBRIDGE – Shaili Singh and Theresa Carlos are hoping to solve problems with the help of other students and scientists from around the world.

The two juniors at the Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge have been accepted into the Junior Academy of the New York Academy of Sciences.

They were encouraged to apply by their chemistry teacher, Dr. Christine Wiamer, who regularly posts notices of opportunities for students in her classroom, according to information provided by the school.

Paranjai Patil of the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies in Edison also was accepted into the Junior Academy.

The Junior Academy boasts that it gives its members “lifelong access to exclusive educational opportunities and a remarkable global STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) network.” About 17,000 students from 112 nations applied, and fewer than 2,000 were accepted, according to the statement.

“We participate in these challenges and think of innovative ideas,” said Shaili, a resident of Old Bridge. “We make teams of people internationally.”

“We use an online program where you can message people internationally,” said Theresa, who lives in Metuchen.

Theresa said her team, which can have up to six members, includes students from Pakistan, India, Egypt, Ukraine and Florida who video chat.

The first challenge given to the students involves developing intelligent homes that will contribute to the health of occupants. After 70 days, they will be given another challenge. The teams that are judged to have the best solutions get an all-expenses-paid trip to New York in June for the annual Global STEM Alliance Summit.

“This is an amazing opportunity for them to pursue science and research at the next level,” Woodbridge Academy Principal Terri Ann Sullivan said in the statement, praising Shaili and Theresa for their independent decisions to apply for this program.

“We’re thrilled for them – they’re very deserving,” she said, adding that the experience should “set them up for success in college.”

As juniors, the girls have begun thinking about college and their careers.

Theresa said she is not sure exactly what area of medicine she wants to pursue and also is interested in technology.

“I definitely want to go into medicine,” Shaili said in the statement. “I was thinking of neuroscience.”

For more information, visit www.mcvts.net.

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