On March 10-11, Catherine Chen, a junior in the Academy for Health and Medical Sciences at Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School, was awarded a grand prize in the category of Animal Science for her project entitled, “The Effects of Heart-Specific Downregulation of Histone Deacetylase, Rpd3, on Longevity” at the Nokia Bell Labs North Jersey Regional Science Fair at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. 

Catherine explained her project saying, “I had worked with fruit flies, trying to manipulate genes and thus protein levels to extend their lifespan.” 

After three rounds of judging to determine category awards, Catherine’s project was selected from over 200 projects presented by over 300 students from New Jersey in the areas of science, math and engineering.

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Ultimately, Catherine was awarded a grand prize and her project was one of five to be selected for an all-expense paid trip to Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles on May 14-19, 2017.  In addition to the trip and opportunity to present at ISEF, Catherine was also awarded the Human Genetics Award and a $200 cash prize from the Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey.

“I am tremendously excited to share my work with the world.”  Catherine went on to add, “Overall, it was not only amazing to see how so many students in our state were making exciting and important contributions to the fields of science and math, but it was also eye-opening to learn about several issues affecting the human race and how students were planning to solve them.”

The North Jersey Regional Science Fair is a science competition for high school students from Bergen, Essex, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties.  Students work individually or in groups to create and present science projects, which pose and attempt to answer a question or problem.

Catherine Chen is a junior in the Academy for Health and Medical Sciences.  Catherine is a member of the Math League, New Jersey Science League, Science Bowl Team, Humanitarian Club, SkillsUSA and the Watchung Hills Varsity Ultimate Frisbee team.  Catherine is also involved in volunteering at the Murray Hill Chinese School, Robert Wood Johnson Somerset Hospital and several nursing homes.  Furthermore, she plays violin in the New Jersey Youth Symphony, where she has performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and the NJEA Teacher’s Convention in Atlantic City.

Some of Catherine’s accolades include being accepted into the regional and all-state orchestra, National Spanish Exam gold medalist, SkillsUSA gold medalist, Principal’s Honor Roll, Silver Award in Scholastic Writing, placing in the top ten percent of test takers for the New Jersey Science League, and playing on the Ultimate Frisbee team representing the Northeast Region at the National Youth Club Championships.

For more information about this story, please contact James Strickhart at jstrickhart@scvts.net or (908) 526 – 8900 x7169.