2018

The 2018 Governor’s STEM Scholars

Ritvik Agnihotri

Ritvik Agnihotri is a senior at Robbinsville High School. He holds 6 executive positions at his high school and interns at NASA. Ritvik currently plans on studying mechanical and aerospace engineering as he continues with his education.

Elizabeth Aguirre

Elizabeth Aguirre is a senior at Memorial High School. She plans on majoring in chemical engineering, and wants to research and develop solutions for the energy crisis. She actively gives back to her community, is part of her school’s STEAM Academy, Math Club, and NHS.

Rohit Aita

Rohit Aita is a freshman at the Rutgers University Honors College. He plans on majoring in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and minoring in Entrepreneurship. He also aims to attend medical school to eventually become a physician-scientist.

Sanjana Akula

Sanjana Akula is a senior at Biotechnology High School. Sanjana plans to obtain her MBA and start her own healthcare company; she has conducted independent biochemistry research to that end. Sanjana also hopes to use her science education to influence public policy.

Kathryn Armstrong

Kathryn Armstrong is a junior at Westfield High School. Kathryn is interested in engineering, and wants to pursue a biomedical engineering degree that would allow her to research and develop synthetic organs. She has volunteered for her community extensively.

Declan Barnes

Declan Barnes is a senior at Lawrence High School. Declan loves Science and Mathematics and hopes to use it to positively impact people’s lives. He is interested in biomedical engineering and one day he plans on creating a research and testing facility.

Sreeta Basu

Sreeta is a sophomore at Washington Township High School. She wants to become a university professor in a mathematics-related field, so that she can help others learn and conduct novel research. Sreeta has a plethora of STEM-related accomplishments and awards.

Ida Behreini

Ida Behreini is a junior at Drew University. She is currently pursuing a degree in computer science. She wants to apply to a competitive Software Engineering Doctorate Program, and wants to deepen research and development around Computer Vision and Object Recognition.

Naomi Benenson

Naomi Benenson, junior at Voorhees High School, is interested in biophysics. She is a competitive dancer, Junior Class President, Underclass Secretariat of Model UN, NJ HOBY alumna, creator of wish2wish.com, and founder of Hebrew Culture Club at her school.

Gabriella Buono

Gabriella Buono is a senior at Lakeland Regional High School. Her goal is to obtain a PhD in neuroscience to further the understanding and prevention of debilitating neurological disorders such as Autism and Schizophrenia. She is also a member of a number of clubs at her school.

Claudia Carranza

Claudia Carranza is a junior at James Caldwell High School.She is a Yale Young Global Scholar and a member of Mu Alpha Theta. She volunteers promoting STEM outreach for girls in inner cities. Claudia plans to attend medical school and pursue research on the human brain.

Anjali Chakradhar

Anjali Chakradhar is a junior at High Technology High School. She is interested in medicine and biochemistry, and hopes to open her own pharmaceutical laboratory and company that will research affordable treatments for cancer.

Amber Chan

Amber Chan is a senior at Bergen County Academies in the Academy for Medical Science Technology. She plans to pursue a medical degree, and would like to specialize in pediatric neurosurgery. Amber also has experience working as a volunteer EMT and stem-cell researcher.

Catherine Chen

Catherine Chen is a senior at the Academy for Health and Medical Sciences. She plans on pursuing a medical degree and hopes to work as a physician-scientist. She enjoys volunteering as an EMT on her local first aid squad and organizing musical performances at nursing homes.

Brian Cherin

Brian Cherin is a junior in the Science and Engineering program at Manalapan High School. He enjoys programming in his free time and was part of the leadership team that brought the first hackathon to his high school. Brian plans to study electrical and computer engineering.

Sergio Crespo

Sergio Crespo is a junior at New Jersey City University. He plans on obtaining an MD-PhD degree that allows him to continue research on cancer cell growth, while also pursuing a career in emergency medicine. Sergio is a certified EMT and is the founder of Drea[me]rs.

Atirath Dhara

Atirath Dhara is a junior at West Windsor Plainsboro High School South. Atirath currently plans on majoring in astrophysics in college, and wants to pursue the field of particle cosmology after college. He is an active member of his school’s science and math clubs.

Max Difazio

Max Difazio is a senior at Princeton Day School. Last summer he did polymer research at Princeton University, and stage-managed a play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He plans to study engineering in college, with the goal of an MBA or JD working in a STEM-related field.

Ariana Eastwood

Ariana Eastwood is a junior at Linden High School. At her school, she serves as class president, participated in International Exchanges, and leads numerous school and charity events. She is also a member of the NJROTC and interested in pursuing a career in STEM.

Ifeoluwa Ebigbola

Ifeoluwa Ebigbola is a senior at Burlington Township High School. She’s interested in biomedical engineering and plans to open her own healthcare practice. She holds leadership roles as a Student Ambassador, president of Environmental Club, and in many volunteering positions.

Sathya Edamadaka

Sathya Edamadaka is a junior at High Technology High School. He is a nanophotonics intern in the Fakhraai Lab at UPenn and is a co-captain of the VEX robotics team 765X. He hopes to found a business that pushes the boundaries of energy storage and generation cost-efficiency.

Julia Ellis

Julia Ellis is a junior at the Academy for Information Technology. Julia wants to obtain a degree in astrophysics. She is a volunteer at the Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium, is a captain for Relay for Life, and performs in signing recitals with Elephante.

Tiffany Fang

Tiffany Fang is a sophomore at High Technology High School. She loves science and research and wants to use STEM to help people. She is on her school team for New Jersey Science League. She is also a varsity swimmer and a state Young Musician Piano Competition winner.

Alec Fox

Alec Fox is a sophomore at Academy for Allied Health Sciences. He is interested in biomedical engineering and hopes to obtain a degree that would allow him to conduct medical research and save countless lives. He is the founder of the Biology Olympiad Club and a TEDx club speaker.

Pablo Galao Birkmann

Pablo Galao Birkmann is a junior at Union County Vocational-Technical School. Pablo would like to use a Bachelor’s degree to engineer high performance, aftermarket car parts that would help make transportation more efficient, safer, and more environmentally friendly.

Elisabeth Gallou

Elisabeth Gallou is a junior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. She plans to obtain a degree in physics, and pursue a career in Academia. Elisabeth is a member of the NJ Science League, Model United Nations, and enjoys ballet and traditional Greek dance.

Gurshan Gill

Gurshan Gill is a junior at Biotechnology High School. He wants to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in biology and become a physician with a focus on pathogens. He wants to eventually open and conduct research in his own pathogen laboratory.

Mariana Goldlust

Mariana Goldlust is a junior at Moorestown Friends High School. She is very interested in medicine, and becoming a doctor is her lifelong goal. She is an active participant in theatre, Model United Nations, and Varsity Fencing.

Abinitha Gourabathina

Abinitha Gourabathina is a junior at Montgomery High School. She plans on obtaining a degree in physics and continuing her research in nanotechnology that she has been conducting at Princeton University. She is a board member of Montgomery’s American Chemical Society.

Anjali Gupta

Anjali Gupta is a senior at Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies. She is actively involved in scientific research, and has pursued independent laboratory research projects in the fields of genetics and allergy/immunology.

Mohammed Hassan

Mohammed Hassan is a junior at Drew University. After graduating from Drew, Mohammed plans on transferring to the Columbia University Dual Degree Engineering Program, and eventually plans on obtaining a PhD in computer science.

Makayla Jeffries

Makayla Jeffries is a junior at the Newark Collegiate Academy. She is interested in nanoscience, nanotechnology, and sociology, and hopes to further research on the human brain. Makayla is Community Outreach Coordinator at the Black Alliance for Educational Options.

Ana Jesus

Ana Jesus is a senior at Drew University. She is planning on pursuing a PhD in Mathematics, and wants to become a college professor in the field. Ana has conducted research at the Drew Summer Science Institute, where she learned about the principles of confocal microscopy.

Christopher Kang

Christopher Kang is a senior at New Providence High School. Christopher hopes to obtain a degree in engineering, while also obtaining an MBA, so that he can work in a field that intersects STEM and entrepreneurship.

Vivek Kasarla

Vivek Kasarla is a junior at Hanover Park High School. He is interested in biomedical engineering, and hopes to get a job in the field after finishing his education. He is a Boy Scout,runs cross country and track, and plays guitar and chess.

Saamia Khan

Saamia Khan is a senior at Ridge High School. She is interested in computer science, chemistry, and engineering, and hopes to help pioneer a groundbreaking field of research and development. Saamia is also a member of Chemistry League Club.

Yashwee Kothari

Yashwee Kothari is a senior at Morris County School of Technology. She plans to study computer science and engineering. Yashwee is the Founder of MCST Tech Club and Co-founder of hackMCST. Currently, she is a software engineer intern at Ionweather Research.

Vincent Lam

Vincent Lam is a senior at Bayonne High School. He is pursuing a career in oncological research. He is the co-founder of his school’s Student Movement Against Cancer chapter, and has had numerous involvements with the American Cancer Society.

Olivia Long

Olivia Long is a sophomore at Princeton University. She is studying physics and plans on pursuing an academic career in applied physics. Olivia has engaged in scientific research for the past five years and is also the founder of an NCWIT-funded coding camp for girls.

Kanav Mahajan

Kanav Mahajan is a senior at the North Brunswick Township High School. Kanav has a strong interest in finance, politics, and computer science. He has worked as an executive intern at a startup in Manhattan called werk.place and as a research assistant at Robert Wood Johnson.

Aditya Mehrotra

Aditya Mehrotra is a senior at East Brunswick High School. He plans on obtaining a Master’s degree or higher in both engineering and computer science, so that he can research robotics. Aditya spends most of his free time developing Project ORRCA, a water cleanup robot.

Rachael Mends

At age sixteen, Rachael Mends is a senior at Burlington Township High School. She is president of Key Club, an NHS member, and a NJ HOBY alumna. Rachael, with over three hundred service hours, volunteers with Virtua Memorial Hospital and Light the Night.

Ivan Mitevski

Ivan Mitevski is a senior at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. After graduating NJIT, he plans on pursuing a PhD in applied mathematics and building his own hedge fund. He has conducted research in both the engineering and mathematics departments at NJIT.

Bruno Moscoso

Bruno Moscoso is a senior at the Academy for Allied Health Sciences. He will be pursuing a masters in biology and applied mathematics to begin the Pre-Med track and become a medical researcher.

Rachel Moskowitz

Rachel Moskowitz is a sophomore at Rowan University. After completing her degrees in bioinformatics and biochemistry at Rowan, she plans on attending graduate school to study her STEM field of choice, so that she can become a researcher in her field.

Mina Musthafa

Mina Musthafa is a senior at Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School. Mina plans on attending medical school to conduct immunological and biochemical research, and become a doctor. She is a member of Model United Nations, Indoor Track, and National Honors Society.

Anjanay Nangia

Anjanay Nangia is a junior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South and hopes to pursue research in neuroscience. He sequences DNA as part of the Waksman Club, is an officer in the JSA club, and plays the alto sax in the Rutgers Youth Jazz Ensemble.

Neylan Neal

Neylan Neal is a junior at Cherry Hill High School West. She plans on majoring in computer science or biology. She participates in basketball, track, robotics club, principal’s advisory committee, volunteerism, and is an accomplished gymnast.

Kiera Nissen

Kiera Nissen is a senior at NJIT’s Albert Dorman Honors College. After completing her degree in civil engineering, she plans on pursuing a PhD in environmental engineering, and plans on entering academia to conduct research. She recently interned at Dynamic Earth.

Ariana Novo

Ariana Novo is a junior at the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies. She would like to obtain a degree in mechanical engineering, with a specialization in complex project management. Ariana is active in her school’s newspaper.

Justin O’Boyle

Justin O’Boyle, a junior at Westfield High School, is an avid computer science student with a particular interest in making secure technology accessible to everyone. Through his school’s Coding with a Cause Club, he has helped develop educational programs for children.

Amina Patterson

Amina Patterson is a senior at the Newark Collegiate Academy. She wants to become either a neurosurgeon or obstetrician/gynecologist. She plans on pursuing a doctorate degree in biochemistry.

Briella Payami

Briella Payami is a junior at Union County Magnet High School. She is a volunteer, a TEDx speaker, STEM lab ambassador, Relay for Life Captain, and received recognition for excellence in engineering. Briella would like to gain experience in her field and study engineering.

Jordan Phillips

Jordan Phillips is a junior at Academy for Information Technology. He plans on obtaining a degree in computer science, and is especially interested in artificial intelligence. Jordan has participated in a Hack-a-Thon and several computer/web design camps.

Troy Powell

Troy Powell is a junior at Hunterdon Central Regional High School. Troy plans on attending a technical university for micro-chemistry or pharmacy. He is an avid concert pianist and hopes to be able to continue throughout college and beyond.

Areej Qadeer

Areej Qadeer is a junior at Bridgewater Raritan High School. She plans to pursue medicine. She interns at a psychiatric clinic, founded an Amnesty International chapter, and placed second in New Jersey for Impromptu Speaking.

Omar Qari

Omar Qari is a senior at NJIT’s Albert Dorman Honors College. In addition to working as an EMT, Omar is planning on attending medical school to become a physician-scientist. His research interests primarily lie in neuroscience and clinical trials.

Thriaksh Rajan

Thriaksh Rajan is a junior at Biotechnology High School. Thriaksh is a computer analyst intern with the USDA and has founded a 3D-printed prosthetics non-profit. He wishes to pursue biomedical research as a means of finding sustainable and efficient solutions to disease.

Priya Rajbabu

Priya Rajbabu is a junior at NJIT’s Albert Dorman Honors College. Priya interned this summer as a Software Engineer at American Express. She plans to attend graduate school to complete a Master’s degree in Computer Science or Quantitative Finance.

Ronak Ramachandran

Ronak Ramachandran is a Junior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South. He enjoys taking part in various events and competitions in math, chemistry, and computer science. He is a Peer Leader, a volunteer math tutor, and President of his class.

Max Ramer

Max Ramer is a senior at Livingston High School. Max plans on majoring in electrical or computer engineering and using his education to improve people’s health. Max is a tutor and spent summer 2017 working on a research project focusing on cancer biophysics.

Ashley Rosen

Ashley Rosen is a senior at Union County Vocational-Technical High School. She wants to obtain degrees in both mechanical engineering and architecture to advance efficient structures and green technologies in both fields. Ashley is an avid community volunteer.

Kayla Seeley

Kayla Seeley is a senior at Somerville High School. She wants to pursue a career in mathematics, specifically data science. Kayla is the captain of the Fencing Team, and a member of the Track Team, Marching Band, Spanish Club, and plethora of other organizations.

Hamzah Shaikh

Hamzah Shaikh is a senior at Holmdel High School. Hamzah wants to major in either biology or biochemistry and attend medical school in order to become a physician-scientist. He is the President of his class and a 2017 Emperor Science Award winner.

Saumya Shetty

Saumya Shetty is a senior at Lawrence High School who desires to enter specialized medicine or public health. She is a Women in STEM Club officer, plays varsity tennis, tutors academically at-risk elementary school students, and will attend an Operation Smile medical mission this fall.

Julia Silberman

Julia Silberman is a junior at Voorhees High School. Julia plans to pursue a career in biomedical research, and develop innovative treatments to diseases. She participates in Environmental Club, Key Club, and dance classes, and she leads the Hebrew Culture Club at her school.

Nivedhitha Sivakumar

Nivedhitha Sivakumar is a junior at Montgomery High School. She wishes to study computer science, and continue research she has been doing this summer at SRI International. She is her robotics team’s programming captain and vice president of the Computer Science Club.

Nicole Sivetz

Planning to enroll in a biomedical PhD program, Nicole Sivetz is a junior at Monmouth University who conducts RNA therapy research while serving as a Supplemental Instructor and Peer Mentor. She recently completed a Drug Safety Evaluation internship with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

John Siyaga

John Siyaga is a senior at Wayne Valley High School, pursuing a dual degree in computer engineering and computer science, and hopes to someday own a company that develops technologies that help people. John is the founder and president of the Debate Club.

Eshaan Soman

Eshaan Soman is a senior at Hillsborough High School. Eshaan wants to become a biomedical engineer, and pursue a PhD in either microbiology or bioinformatics. He is currently a research intern at Princeton University’s Frick Chemistry Laboratory focusing on biophysics.

Jennifer Soter

Jennifer Soter is a senior at Drew University. She plans to obtain a PhD in nuclear medical physics. She has conducted experimental nuclear research at Duke University, computational nuclear physics research at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and optics research at Drew.

Victoria Stabile

Victoria Stabile is a sophomore at Stevens Institute of Technology. She plans to work as an environmental engineer. Victoria is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, the Stevens Honor Board, Club Soccer, Flute Ensemble, and more.

Christian Stone

Christian Stone is a junior majoring in Strategic Asset Management at Bergen County Technical High School. Christian wants pursue Mechanical Engineering to help research and develop robotic technologies that improve the quality of life for humans.

Victor Manuel Suarez

Victor Manuel Suarez is a senior at Kean University. Victor plans on enrolling in a medical scientist training program so that he can become a physician scientist. He is the President of both Biotechnology Club and Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society.

Avi Sura

Avi Sura is a junior at John P. Stevens High School. His goal is to become a neurologist. Avi is the Committee Head for the American Red Cross Edison Division and on the Executive Committee for her school’s Student Council.

Erika Tan

Erika Tan is a junior at Freehold High School. Erika is interested in software engineering and hopes to pursue this as a career. She is a member of Math League, Science League, and Model United Nations, and founded the Youtube channel “Tangerine Education.”

Ester Teper

Ester Teper is a junior at Biotechnology High School. She hopes to work in either biomedical engineering or ophthalmology, and eventually, wants to open her own firm and start her own practice. Ester volunteers with her local First-Aid squad and tutors children in STEM.

Rishitha Thambireddy

Rishitha Thambireddy is a senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North. She is interested in computer engineering and hopes to pursue a career in the field. She is a Robotics mentor and director and president of the Environmental Club.

Isra Thange

Isra Thange is a senior at Noor-Ul-Iman School. She is interested in quantum physics and plans to pursue academia and, eventually, politics. Isra is the captain of her school’s Mock Trial team, editor of the school newspaper, and co-captain of the Science Olympiad team and STEM Club.

Neelay Trivedi

Neelay Trivedi is a junior at Watchung Hills Regional High School. Neelay is interested in computer science and engineering, and hopes to conduct research on disease detection and diagnostics in the future. He is the Founder of his school’s Computer Science Club.

Juliana Valencia

Juliana Valencia is a senior at Pompton Lakes High School. She plans on attending the United States Naval Academy to study aerospace engineering. Juliana is the Captain of the Girl’s Cross Country Team, a member of the National Honor Society, and led a team for Relay for Life.

Joseph Vecchio

Joseph Vecchio is a senior at Biotechnology High School. He plans on continuing his research on agricultural and environmental issues and hopes to obtain a PhD in chemistry. He is the Co-President of his school’s Social Media Club and a member of the National Honors Society.

Aditya Vidyadharan

Aditya Vidyadharan is a sophomore at MCVTS Edison Academy. He aspires to be an innovator in Computer Engineering, particularly in Artificial Intelligence. He is the President of the school’s Computer Science club, a member of the varsity swim team, and is a certified lifeguard.

Michael Vitti

Michael Vitti is a sophomore at New Jersey Institute of Technology. After Michael obtains his degree in biomedical engineering, he plans on attending graduate school to further his studies in this field. He is the Lieutenant Governor of the Metro Division of Circle K.

Calvin Weaver

Calvin Weaver is a junior at Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School. Calvin plans on using a degree in mechanical engineering to make technologies more efficient and innovative. He is also a member of the McNair Soccer team, Model UN club, and Robotics Team.

Ethan Weinstock

Ethan Weinstock is a junior at Bridgewater Raritan High School. He wants to obtain a degree in computer or electrical engineering, attend graduate school for engineering, and work for an innovative technology company. Ethan is a member of the NJ Math and Science Leagues.

Erica Wu

Erica Wu is a senior at Holmdel High School. She plans on studying neuroscience or genetics and wants to apply scientific research to businesses that impact society. Erica is a member of the New Jersey Youth Symphony and the Founder of Think Create Innovate Makerspace.

Karena Yan

Karena Yan is a junior at High Technology High School. Karena wants to combine her interests in biology and environmental science by pursuing a career in biosystems engineering. She is the co-founder of her school’s environmental club and a USA Biology Olympiad semifinalist.

Jenny Zhu

Jenny Zhu is a senior at Livingston High School. She is interested in technology and management, and hopes to pursue engineering and business. Jenny won first place at the International Crescendo Music Competition and belongs to her school’s Science League team.

Lucy Zou

Lucy Zou is a sophomore at East Brunswick High School. She is interested in pursuing neuroscience and genetic engineering in the future. She is Captain of the Science Olympiad Team and is a first-place winner in the NJ Science League. Lucy is also passionate about music.