HTHS Freshmen Show Potential as Future STEM Researchers

Mariam Khali

Andrea Lopez

(Secaucus, NJ––March 29, 2021) Freshmen Andrea Lopez, of North Bergen, and Mariam Khalil, of Jersey City, earned Honorable Mention in the long-standing ExploraVision competition, announced Dr. Joseph Giammarella, Principal of High Tech High School.

The ExploraVision competition is hosted by Toshiba and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and has been running for nearly three decades in the US and Canada. Established in 1992, ExploraVision “challenges students [to] envision and communicate new technology 10 or more years in the future through collaborative brainstorming and research of current science and technology.” As such, the program goes beyond typical science competitions in its forward-thinking, solutions-oriented approach to science problem solving. In addition to its long-running tradition of innovation, the program has also been championed by “The Science Guy” himself, Bill Nye.

Under the guidance of Biology instructor Kimberly Braun, Andrea and Mariam decided to research “Co-Transplantation of Neuromodulators as Replacement Pain Treatment” for their project. To earn the accolade of Honorable Mention, Andrea and Marian undertook a rigorous process which had them investigate the past and present findings in relevant scholarly research as well as previous and current technologies in order to make predictions about the future of the field. For this future-oriented portion of the project, students were asked to imagine the necessary steps to push towards a breakthrough, including design possibilities as well as consequences.

Conducting this kind of work is no small feat for two students who are still in their first year of high school. In the words of Ms. Braun, “I can say with confidence they have never researched a topic at this level and may not again until grad school! I'm so proud of them.”

As HTHS is Career and Technical Education (CTE) school, Ms. Braun’s incorporation of the ExploraVision program into her Biology curriculum demonstrates the ways that academic classes can also be preparation for careers. In this case, these young women exemplified the potential of a STEM education, as they tackled nuanced research in a relevant and important field.

For their work on this project, Andrea and Mariam will be awarded a prize and a certificate. Winners at the national level will be announced in June during the ExploraVision Awards Weekend held in Washington, DC. You can learn more about the program by visiting



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