Bell Labs Goes Back to the Future: Once Again Sponsors North Jersey Regional Science Fair

Photo: Nokia Bell Labs NJRSF Winners L-R: Isabella Impalli (alternate 2),Varun Kumar (alternate 1,)Catherine Chen, Jiwoo Lee, Clairisse Whang, John Lozado, Neelay Trivedi with Marcus Weldon of Nokia Bell Labs. Photo Credit: Courtesy Nokia Bell Labs

Nokia Bell Labs NJRSF Winners L-R: Isabella Impalli (alternate 2),Varun Kumar (alternate 1,)Catherine Chen, Jiwoo Lee, Clairisse Whang, John Lozado, Neelay Trivedi with Marcus Weldon of Nokia Bell Labs. | Courtesy Nokia Bell Labs

The North Jersey Regional Science Fair (NJRSF), held last weekend, was renamed the “Nokia Bell Labs North Jersey Regional Science Fair,” after that company provided a multi-year donation to the highly competitive event.

The Nokia Bell Labs NJRSF is a high school science competition in which students present a wide variety of projects in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The fair takes place every year at Rutgers, and showcases the work of students from ten counties in central and northern New Jersey: Bergen, Essex, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.

According to Marcus Weldon, CTO of Nokia and president of Bell Labs (Murray Hill),  the fair originated in the fall of 1983 as an activity of the Murray Hill Science Education Club (MHSEC) at AT&T Bell Labs. Weldon said that it felt right for his company, which prizes innovation, to sponsor the fair after a 20 year hiatus and several ownership changes and encourage innovation among the youth of New Jersey. He noted that many former Bell Labs employees have been giving their time to the fair.

Since the time when AT&T Bell Labs first started sponsoring the science fair, the organizing committee for the fair has expanded to include participants from other companies, as well as from academia and the community. The goal of the fair is to promote, support and reward the students and teachers in the North Jersey region in their research and educational endeavors. In 1996, the MHSEC ceased to exist as an independent entity, but the association that later became the NJRSF lives on as a legacy of the club.

Most of the projects are investigative in nature, posing and attempting to answer some question or problem, either through experimentation and design or in a theoretical sense. Projects in many STEM areas are eligible.

Besides contributing financial support, Nokia Bell Labs contributed judges for the this year’s fair. “We hope that through our future involvement we’ll be able to help students who have projects we can support, either through providing access to specialized equipment” or other kinds of help, Weldon told

The students presenting the five winning projects received expenses-paid trips to attend the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, in Los Angeles, accompanied by their students’ advisors.

The winners were:

·       In the field of animal sciences, Catherine Chen, of Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School, in Bridgewater: The Effects of Heart-Specific Downregulation of Histone Deacetylase, Rpd3, on Longevity.

·       In the field of bioinformatics, Jiwoo Lee of the Academy for Medical Science Technology, in Hackensack: Biostatistical Analysis of Huntington’s Disease Mutation Frequency and Repeat Instability.

·       In the field of biomedical science, Clairisse Whang, of the Academy for Medical Science Technology: Effect of Oleic Acid on Intracellular Calcium through Liposome Accumulation.

·       In the field of cancer research, John Lozada of Bergen County Academies, in Hackensack: Exploiting Migration and Metabolism: A Novel Approach to Metastatic Cancers.

·       In the fields of math and computer science, Neelay N. Trivedi of, Watchung Hills Regional High School, in Warren: Predicting Lung Cancer Onset Using Segmentation and Classification.

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