An Old Bridge High School freshman captured the 67th New Jersey State Science Day competition, which is co-sponsored by the NJ Science Teachers Association and Research & Development Council of New Jersey.
Kavya Venkatesan created a STEM-based solution that addresses climate change in the community. She said she chose climate change because it has become a top priority for New Jersey and many states around the nation, according to a statement released by the Old Bridge Public School District.
“With climate change causing a rise in sea levels and intense flooding, New Jersey coastal communities need to be prepared in mitigating the impact of climate change,” she said in the statement. “My solution is a mobile app that is designed to connect individuals with disaster relief organizations, financial programs, and shelters that individuals can refer to during times of need. The impact of having an accessible app includes greater awareness and sense of responsibility among vulnerable populations.”
“As a superintendent of the school district, I feel fortunate to have a front seat to observe Kavya continuously demonstrate that she is one of the brightest young minds in the state with such an unlimited future potential,” Superintendent David Cittadino said in the statement.
As part of the application, each student nominated a science teacher who has supported his or her interests in STEM. Kavya nominated Old Bridge High School teacher Vito Cangelosi to be recognized for his impact on the school community. She said Cangelosi supported her as project adviser in this competition and adviser of the Society of Women Engineers chapter at OBHS, according to the statement.
“During my project, Mr. Cangelosi constantly supported and guided me,” Kavya said in the statement. “We would meet on a weekly basis when I would share my progress, ask questions, and discuss ideas. Throughout the project, I was able to develop my critical thinking skills and learn how to apply design thinking in the real world.”
Cangelosi said it was a joy to work with such a young and talented individual, according to the statement.
“Throughout the entire process, Kavya was focused and determined to bring her thoughts and goals to fruition,” he said in the statement.
Cangelosi said he also is honored to have been nominated as her mentor and “truly appreciate being recognized by the New Jersey State Teachers Association. I wish Kavya continued success, and I look forward to working with her for the remainder of her high school career,” he said in the statement.
Kavya praised the Science Day program because it “encourages students like me to apply STEM in a way that is innovative and meaningful in today’s world. Real-world issues like climate change are complex and relevant to our lives. Being able to solve these challenges require students to ask questions, be determined, and choose a combination of approaches. This helps us understand how different skills and concepts in science and engineering complement each other. It also shows us how vital it is to give back to our community through our knowledge,” she said in the statement.