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Nine students from Edison, Woodbridge named Class of 2023 Governors STEM Scholars

Emelin Almanzar

The Governor’s STEM Scholars has named seven Edison students and two Woodbridge students to its 2023 Scholars class.

Emelin Almanzar, Reva Amritkar, Liv Chung, Sriya Ghankot, Supraj Gunda, Atharva Inamdar, Devam Mondal, Anas Owais, and Diya Shah are part of a 2023 Scholars class that consists of 128 scholars from 20 counties across the state.

Students of color make up 83% of this year’s scholars and 64% of the class identifies as female, according to the Governor’s STEM Scholars (GSS).

“The Governor’s STEM Scholars provides high-achieving New Jersey STEM students in grades 10 through doctoral level with an introduction to the state’s vast STEM economy to retain that talent in the state,” GSS said.

Emelin Almanzar is a senior at Edison High School. She has been a part of her school’s marching band since freshman year and is entering senior year as a color guard captain. While highly passionate about color guard, Emelin has participated in several groups and programs involving the sciences. Being a part of her school’s iSTEM program allowed her to learn more about STEM careers and spread the knowledge of the subject to her school and others, by helping host TED circles. During her week-long BioCONECT Oncology Leadership Development at Rutgers University, Emelin learned about cellular biology and the genetics of cancer and was able to help diagnose and treat a real past case of cancer. She hopes to major in biology on the pre-med track, aspiring to research and become a practicing physician.

Reva Amritkar is a senior in the mechanical engineering program at the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies (MCVTS) in Edison. Her main interests are in the aerospace field, especially unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This passion was further nurtured by her selection into MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) “Girls Who Can Design, Build and Fly Model Aircraft” course. She led a team in the NASA App Development Competition to win five categories with their app, Moonwalker, and has also won awards at NJIT’s (New Jersey Institute of Technology) 3D Printed Bridge Competition and the MCVTS Tech Expo. Reva was recently selected for MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Beaverworks summer program where she learned to apply machine learning and computer vision principles to UAVs. She received the Dr. Bob Sherman Disruptive Engineer award for her outstanding performance in the program. Outside of STEM, she is the president of her school’s Model United Nations chapter, having won multiple awards (including Best Delegate) and organized their first conference as hosts. She also loves playing the cello and giving back to her cultural community as a volunteer teacher for Balvikas. In the future, Reva aspires to successfully emulate natural flight and advance the field of aerospace.

Liv Chung is a senior at John P. Stevens High School in Edison. She is two-year participant at Camp Rising, a selective international leadership camp, where she has presented on “Exploring the Permeation of Disease in the Global South.” She is a member of Rutgers University’s Waksman Student Scholars Program, where she has participated in the research of duckweed plants. Furthermore, she participated in the Toxicology, Health, and Environmental Disease (THED) High School Summer Program from the Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. She is also interested in art and has received recognition for it through a gold key award in the Scholastics Art Competition and a couple of exhibitions. In school, she is also an adapted class helper, where she helps kids with autism through their gym class. Out of interest in serving her community, Liv donates her art to a hospice monthly and is a volunteer in her local EMS (emergency medical services) group. In the future, she plans to go into computer science and biology to help those with disabilities.

Sriya Ghankot is a junior at John P. Stevens High School in Edison. Currently attending Columbia University’s Science Honors Program, Sriya has taken the courses Human Physiology and Virology and hopes to continue exploring the sciences. Sriya volunteers at local hospitals, shadowing a pediatrician to gain insight into her dream career. With a BLS certification, Sriya hopes to contribute to and serve her community as an EMT (emergency medical technician) soon. At her high school, Sriya is part of the Science National Honors Society and enjoys participating in Quizbowl serving as the club’s treasurer. She hopes to gain experience in medical/biological research to facilitate achieving a career as a physician. Outside of STEM, Sriya enjoys dancing and spending time outside.

Supraj Gunda is a senior at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Iselin. He has explored the interdisciplinary nature of his main field of interest, computer science, through both community involvement and research. As the vice president of his school’s Computer Science club and Astronomy club, he has encouraged his community to pursue the various interdisciplinary works that bridge their STEM interests, such as astrophysics and computational biology. Outside of his school, he has conducted research at Princeton’s Jadwin Hall. There, he researched RGB and depth convolutional neural network multi-class classification on petunia plants. He has also done research with a professor from Georgia Tech to use machine learning to predict exoplanet status. Finally, he has performed research at Kean University on automated pollen detection using neural networks. In the future, he hopes to continue exploring how artificial intelligence and computer science can be applied to other fields to enhance the world we live in.

Atharva Inamdar is a junior at the Edison High School STEM Academy. As the vice president of the Class of 2024, member of the school Science Olympiad team, board member of the Quizbowl Club, and news editor in the school newspaper, he leads and participates in a wide range of extracurricular pursuits. He has researched Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and respective phage horizontal gene transfer using MEGAX, MUSCLE, Cytoscape, and other bioinformatics software as part of a manuscript currently being written. Interested in becoming a future healthcare professional, he also shadows a pediatrician and a GI (gastroenterologist) specialist, in addition to completing various e-shadowing courses. In addition, he volunteers at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center helping with visitor management and patient transport. Outside of STEM, he’s an avid gymgoer and enjoys spending a weekend playing a round of golf with teammates from his varsity golf team.

Devam Mondal is a junior at Edison High School. He is interested in using machine learning techniques to enable robots to feel emotions and ultimately be empathetic. He enjoys programming and has experience with Python and Java. As the head programmer of his robotics team, he enjoyed maintaining a medium codebase and writing sustainable code, all while helping others gain an understanding of coding. In addition to robotics, he is an editor-in-chief for the school newspaper. After college, he plans on working as a software engineer. In his free time, Devam enjoys playing sports and quiz bowl, as well as listening to music.

Anas Owais is a junior at the Middlesex County Academy for Science Mathematics & Engineering Technologies in Edison with an academic focus in electrical and computer engineering. He is interested in pursuing a career in the field of biomedical engineering. Anas hopes to further explore the biomedical engineering field and learn more about the variety of applications it has, including pharmacology and rehabilitation. Anas has a passion for public speaking and debate as a council member of his school’s Model United Nations Club as well as part of the Junior States of America’s Mid-Atlantic State Cabinet.

Diya Shah is a junior at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Iselin. She is the youngest person in her school to be accepted into the Science Honor Society as a sophomore. Additionally, she is an active part of several other clubs including Math Team, in which she has scored the highest in competitions several times, Academic Team, in which she was part of the team in the finals, Dance Exchange, Autism Awareness Club, and Astronomy Club. Diya has been researching topics in STEM since middle school. She was part of a school team to become New Jersey finalists for the Future City Competition. She is currently researching ways of converting different types of energy and creating a device to minimize the impacts of collision using physics principles. Outside of school, Diya volunteers at the Colonia Fire Department and assists firefighters in calls by grabbing tools from the truck. She hopes to learn about other various STEM topics not discussed in her school.

GSS introduces scholars to New Jersey’s STEM economy with a public-private partnership among the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, the New Jersey Office of the Governor, the New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, and the state’s leading research companies.

The scholars are able to do this through master classes, research work, quarterly symposiums and field trips.

The program conducts four weekend conferences in the academic year, which allows for the scholars to engage with state STEM professionals.

In order to graduate from the program scholars must attend all of the four conferences and take part in a research project as a team member or a team leader.

When the students graduate in May 2023, they will join an alumni cohort of over 700 Scholars.

Anas Owais
Atharva Inamdar
Devam Mondal
Diya Shah
Liv Chung
Reva Amritkar
Sriya Ghankot
Supraj Gunda
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