Junior Science winners seek to make the ‘impossible’ possible

Lauren Poindexter, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Winners from the 23rd Northern New Jersey Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and the Monmouth Junior Science Symposium toured the arsenal July 28, meeting engineers and scientist from the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. (Pictured left to right) Precious Martinez, John Fantell, Lt. Col. O’Neal Williams, Shannon Oscher and Tracy Wan. Photo by Todd Mozes.
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- Two winners from the 53rd Annual Monmouth Junior Science Symposium (MJSS) and two winners from the 23rd Northern New Jersey Junior Science and Humanities Symposium toured Picatinny Arsenal July 28 as a reward for their success in the symposium.

Approximately 300 Northern New Jersey high school students attended the two day symposium March 30-31.

The event was hosted by the Rutgers University School of Engineering. It was co-sponsored by the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, whose engineers and scientists served as judges. 

This, in concert with the previous week's 53rd Monmouth Junior Science Symposium from which over 500 students from Monmouth and Ocean Counties attended on March 26-27, kept our volunteer engineers and scientist busy. The MJSS was hosted by Monmouth University, who partnered once again with ARDEC in its 7th year

“This is my second year here and I enjoyed this visit as much as the first, if not more,” said student John Fantell, whose research focused on creating an anti-reflective coating that could mitigate the glare on the cell and increase its electrical current output.

“Everyone here is very passionate about what they do. They work very hard, which inspires you to want to do great things, change the world, and especially serve the country in whatever capacity that we can,” added Fantell.

During their visit, the students met ARDEC engineers and scientist and were introduced to various technologies. 

“The tour has inspired me to get more involved in research and to try different things in college,” said Tracy Wan, whose research focused on how titanium nanotubes could be used to filter waste water. “One guy mentioned Kickstarter (a fund raising platform) and I want to try that too.”

Shannon Oscher, whose project centered on synthesizing bone scaffolding to help bones grow back quicker, was most interested how technology can help the warfighter.

“It’s been really amazing to see the kind of technology that people apply to help save lives and to make the Soldiers’ lives easier,” said Oscher.

“Today has definitely inspired me to think of better and more efficient ways to make things,” Oscher added. “It’s really cool to see the kind of ideas they have and how they apply them.”

“Since I want to become a mechanical engineer, I always knew there were more fields,” said Precious Martinez. “This just made me realize how much more there is and how technology is quickly upgrading and developing.” 

In her project, Martinez observed the difficulties that children with cerebral palsy face and made a prototype using a Legos robotics kit.

A year after making the prototype, Martinez made a life-size wheelchair by making modifications to a standard wheel chair and by using robotic technologies.

She said it was cost effective and eliminated the use of the standard wheelchair for children with cerebral palsy. 

“Simple things like walking for us are very easy but it is mission impossible for them, so I made mission impossible, possible,” said Martinez.