CAMDEN, NJ — The scientific feats of students from Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties, will be on full display this Saturday at the 39th annual Coriell Institute Science Fair.

Originally set for the end of March at Camden County College’s Blackwood campus, the fair will now be held virtually over the weekend with about 100 students presenting their projects through video conference.

There’s Lesslie Montiel, 18, who says she’s glad she'll have a chance to showcase, “Taste According to Gender and Age: Gustatory Respond to Induced Stimuli.”

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"Being able to participate in the Coriell Science Fair has offered me a sense of normalcy,” Montiel, an 11th grader who attends Camden Academy Charter High School, told TAPinto Camden. “Being able to disconnect from the current global climate and talk about science is just one way I am coping with the situation. I am very fortunate to be able to participate in this year's program and look forward to a great discussion about my project topic--taste.”

Montiel has previously participated in the Coriell Institute Summer Experience, a month-long summer program that rotates students throughout labs that explore topics like cell culture, molecular biology, cytogenetics, and stem cells. 

Participating in the virtual fair Saturday will give local students the chance to qualify for the regional Delaware Valley Science Fair - which will also be held virtually this year for the first time.

“In the lifetimes of these students, the importance of science has never been more apparent. The scientific curiosity and talent we cultivate in this generation will be instrumental in the fight against global pandemics in the future,” said Coriell’s president and CEO Jean-Pierre Issa. “This science fair is a point of pride for the Coriell Institute and we’re truly thrilled to continue the tradition in this difficult time.”

Past winners of Coriell Institute’s Fair, which is open for students grades 6-12, have moved on to national, as well as international, competitions.

Paul Foster, a spokesman for the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, explained that students will share their project’s documentation online and demonstrate their work to judges live.

"Being in this year’s science fair means that my hard work for this project paid off and others will be able to learn more about the topic of hyperhidrosis,” said Maria Lopez, 17, who is also an 11th grader that attends Camden Academy Charter High School.

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