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Princeton High School News

Updated October 19, 2022

Congratulations Sumuk Anand:
Named to
NJ Governor's STEM Scholars Program

The Governor's STEM Scholars provides high-achieving New Jersey STEM students with an introduction to the state's vast STEM economy in order to retain STEM talent in the state.

STEM Scholar Sumuk Anand is a senior at Princeton High School. He has ranked highly in geography and history competitions such as the National Geography Bee, US Geography Olympiad, International Geography Bee and National History Bowl.

  • His extended interest in geography has led to interdisciplinary studies in geography and science.
  • He has been conducting research for several years in the pursuit of finding sustainable solutions for the biodegradation of plant-based plastic alternatives.
  • With his findings, he has presented at the Rutgers Junior Humanities and Sciences Symposium and has won regional science fairs, such as the Bergen SciChallenge, which qualified him for Broadcom Masters.
  • He has three publications on National Center for Biotechnology Information’s GenBank sequence database for the analysis of three novel Landoltia Punctata sequences.

In school, he is an officer for the UNICEF club and an active member of the History Bowl team. He is a two-time national semifinalist for North South Foundation’s Panacea Challenge, focusing on diversity and inclusion.

He has actively volunteered to teach elementary school students in various areas such as STEM, geography, Taekwondo, and chess. Sumuk aspires to pursue a career in the fields of Environmental Science, Biotechnology and Computer Science to help solve global environmental issues.

photo of award winner Sumuk Anand


PHS's Larry He:
Young Researcher Award from IEEE

Please join us in congratulating PHS student Larry He (currently in Mr. Smirk’s class). Larry He submitted a paper to the 6th Conference on the Smart Internet of Things, run by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Larry received a Young Researcher Award for his paper on “Smart Nanosensor Networks for Body Injury Detection.”

Congratulations to all PHS science students who have recently received awards! The motto of the PHS Research Program? “We are just getting started.”

screen shot of award to Lawrence He

PHS's Katherine Monroe:
Student Delegate at World Food Prize Global Youth Institute

Katherine Monroe (PHS ‘23) has been selected as a student delegate at the World Food Prize’s 2022 Global Youth Institute.

Katherine was one of only two students selected from New Jersey for this prestigious conference. She will present her research to a roundtable of agriculture experts, scientists, and 300 students from around the world, after submitting a final draft of her Global Challenge paper last month. 

A third-year student in the PHS Research Program, Katherine’s paper built on the work that several students have done with the black soldier fly. Where initial research focused on the black soldier fly’s ability to consume food–a major contributor to greenhouse gases and a fundamental problem facing the world–and how to transform waste products into useful products, Katherine’s research looks at the fly waste products’ potential for improving soil and plant health.

For the World Food Prize program, Katherine researched and wrote a paper identifying a problem related to the environment, agriculture, or food insecurity in a country other than her own, outlining the challenge and presenting solutions and recommendations. She initially presented at the New Jersey Youth Institute, hosted by Rutgers University, in March 2022.

Mark Eastburn encourages his students to explore real-world problems facing the planet: the need to grow food for a continuously growing population, how to efficiently distribute that food, and manage food waste.

The students’ studies into how nature handles waste and production inspired their work with the black soldier fly. To see a recent video about this research, please click here.

Katherine’s project examines the positive impact insect waste could have on plants.

Can the frass (fly excrement), which is high in nutrients such as potassium, phosphorous, and calcium, be a beneficial fertilizer for plant growth? Additionally, her study examines the chitin from the fly’s exoskeleton. Chitin is the primary component of fungal cell walls and might improve disease resistance in plants.

Katherine’s experiment hopes to inoculate cucumbers with powdery mildew; she is tracking the differences in survival rates for cucumber plants in treated and untreated soil. The cucumbers join the amazing terraced garden created by Mr. Eastburn’s English as a Second Language (ESL) students in a courtyard at PHS, which students began creating in March 2022.

The Global Youth Institute will be held virtually October 16-21. 

Katherine loves Biology and is intrigued by plant science, plant genetics, and gene expression. She hopes to study environmental science and sustainable agriculture in college, looking forward to fieldwork and research opportunities. She also anticipates studying public policy. Please join us in congratulating Katherine on her accomplishments and wishing her luck as she prepares for her presentation. --K.M.


photo of Katherine Monroe
photo of Katherine Monroe, PHS class of 2023


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