Fontan Making an Impact as Summit H.S. Science Research Community Liaison

April 4, 2014 at 8:20 AM

SUMMIT, NJ - Courtesy of  a grant from the Summit Educational Foundation (SEF), Dr. Patricia A. Fontan was hired as Scientific Research Community Liaison at Summit High School (SHS).

Fontan's mission is to develop hands-on science research experiences for SHS students by connecting them with scientific laboratories in academia and industry.  Over the last eight months, she’s been quite busy on a number of activities.

She has been mentoring a SHS student who is conducting an investigation to evaluate the effect of glyphosate herbicide on bacteria growth, working with the student to identify genetically modified corn by molecular biology techniques (polymerase chain reaction, PCR) using equipment provide by the SEF grant.

Sign Up for E-News

Dr. Fontan also recruited Anahita Wilson as a mentor for the program.  Wilson is an Environmental and Dietary Metabolism Chemist working in the Product Safety department of Syngenta, Agrochemicals Division.  She is successfully guiding a student in a project entitled “Assessing Zinc and Copper Toxicity to Daphnia and the Application of a Bioassay to a Local Watershed in Summit, NJ”.  This project is a result of the Science Research Program’s participation in the Martin’s Brook Watershed Cleanup grant that the City of Summit received from NJ American Water Company.  Recently, both students, along with eight others in the Science Research Program, participated in the North Jersey Regional Science Fair at Rutgers University.  Nine of the SHS students received at least one award.

Fontan has also identified a number of individual science laboratories at NJIT and NJ Medical School, Rutgers, which offer summer internships for high school students.  She has also linked students to applications for summer STEM programs at Stony Brook, Princeton, Rockefeller, Cooper Union and Rutgers.

As part of her outreach responsibilities, Fontan has started the Science Research Parents Association.  More than 50 parents attended the first meeting, showing great enthusiasm and willingness to support the initiative.  Parents have signed up for mentoring or fundraising, and are already actively searching for grants and internships for students.

In addition, Fontan made several contacts at Merck, and was able to visit the company warehouse in Kenilworth to secure equipment useful in setting up a molecular biology lab for the Science Research Program at SHS.  Most importantly, she established the mechanism to receive future donations from Merck.  Other contacts have been made with Celgene, the City of Summit Environmental Commission, and the Reeves-Reed Arboretum.  These organizations have several environmental projects, and are willing to include students from the Science Research Program.

Fontan expained, “As a scientist myself, I had the opportunity to mentor high school students, and I know how relevant it is for the kids to have this hands on experience.  Particularly, it helps them discover their vocation and interest in science in a way that books and lecturing cannot do.  High school students that take advantage of these internships learn to use the scientific method, formulate questions, and analyze results by participating in a real project, and use state of the art techniques and equipment.  In some cases, if they make a significant contribution, they may even be included as an author of the original scientific publication that results from the investigation!”

Parties interested in mentoring a student are asked to contact Fontan at  F or more information about SEF, visit

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Summit Police Blotter

December 5, 2016

11/15 - At 0905 hours a report was taken for a theft from a business. The incident occurred between 11/4 at 1500 hours and 11/9 at 0830 hours at a business on Beauvoir Avenue. The victim reported that two HP Chromebooks were taken; valued at approximately $500.00 each.

11/17 - Sandra M. Cruz-Huertas, 33, of Bound Brook was arrested and charged with theft by deception. Ms. Cruz-Huertas was ...

Point View’s David Dietze Presents to Rotary on 'The Psychology of Investing'

December 10, 2016

Point View Wealth Management Founder, President, and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, presented to the Summit - New Providence Rotary on "The Psychology of Investing."

Dietze discussed a few basic rules all investors should follow, which included plenty of diversification, avoiding trend following, and emphasizing facts over opinions, especially those of ...

50th Midnight Mass Highlights Our Lady of Peace Christmas Schedule

This year marks the 50th Midnight Mass celebrated in Our Lady of Peace Church at 111 South Street, New Providence. We invite ALL to join us to celebrate our Lord's birth at this Mass or one of our others:

Christmas Eve - December 24

4 p.m., 6 p.m. and Midnight

Christmas Day - December 25

8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Beckerman’s Theory of Everything

Any armchair theoretical physicist knows that Stephen Hawking has pursued a lifelong quest to come up with a Theory of Everything. This all-encompassing theory would tie together general relativity (large scale and high mass galaxies, stars, etc), quantum theory (quantum mechanics, quarks, atoms, subatomic particles), and Newtonian physics (gravity on small bodies, gas laws, electromagnetism) to ...

To Be a Better Investor, Be More Rational!

Many posit the theory of rational man, who coolly and carefully calculates his self-interest in a logical manner. We all fall somewhat short of that ideal.  In the financial markets, irrationality can be costly. What are some of the common foibles, and what can we do to minimize their damage to our portfolios?

Don’t Make Decisions Based on What You Paid For an Investment

How ...

Ain't That Grand?

Meeting Specials at The Hilltop City's 'Town Hall' Heat Up as Weather Turns Cold

The Grand Summit Hotel in prestigious Summit has hosted meetings -- steps from the vibrant, yet quaint, downtown -- for more than 100 years -- our staff taking tremendous pride in carrying on a tradition that has been in place for decades.

At a time when many of the nation’s hotels have taken on a similar look and feel, The Grand Summit Hotel’s corporate clientele enjoys the ...

What's in a Name?

Sign here:   ________________________________


And here and here and here.  Initial these five boxes.  Then sign right here and over here stating that you understand that you are signing something you haven’t read.  And on the last page please sign and date this disclaimer stating that you are fully responsible for signing and dating this document even if you ...