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Steffani Rajapaksha

Steffani Rajapaksha is a senior at the Jose Marti STEM Academy. She is the vice president of both the Science and National Honor Society as an effort to communicate the significance of STEM and community outreach to her peers, especially in an underserved community. She endeavors to break the stigma on mental health and spread knowledge on neuroscience; she has taken on the role of Brain Bee President and was a finalist in the 2022 state competition. She is also a dedicated volunteer for Cancer Kids First and has recently founded a chapter of the organization at her high school. As a research intern for the American Chemical Society, she researched and designed a protocol for extracellular matrix hydrogels that would stimulate tissue/cell growth. This material’s goal is oriented towards benefitting those suffering from tissue dysfunction. She has undergone several STEM-enrichment programs at various universities in New Jersey, including the Rutgers Waksman Scholars Program where she was able to identify a protein for signaling transduction which is to be published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Steffani plans to pursue biomedical engineering and hopes to work further in-depth with tissue engineering and neuromuscular diseases.

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