Four SSHS students claim top honors at Chemaginations


Four students and two projects from South Side High School won first prize at the 15th annual Chemaginations regional competition at St. John’s University on March 1.

The day consisted of a poster session and judging, followed by a presentation for the students. For this event, high school students were asked to imagine that they are living 25 years in the future and have been invited to write an article for ChemMatters, a magazine for high school students that focuses on the role of chemistry in every day life. They were also asked to design the magazine cover. The subject of the article was to describe a recent breakthrough or innovation in chemistry (and/or its applications) that has improved the quality of people's lives today.

Three of the students, juniors Alex Valenti, Tyler Ramcharam and Katherine Edell, won for their project titled “Super Charged Photosynthesis.” The group determined that we can grow food more efficiently by genetically modifying specific crops, thus helping to solve the hunger problem in third world countries.

The other first-place winner was Samantha Ying for “Uploading Memories.” Ying, with the help of fellow sophomore Dimitri Cargill, examined the current state of memory transfer, which is currently being achieved on mice. She showed how this might be done in the next 25 years with respect to humans, essentially using the same technology. This could be used in assisting those with a variety of brain disorders maintain memories and their connections to their family, community, and the world.

South Side also had two second-place projects, including “No Gas, No Wires, No Problem” by sophomores Sivesh Mohan, Justin Millien, and Katarina Mazzanobile. They envisioned a future where the road would act as a charging station for cars, making travel easy and clean.

The other was earned by sophomore Emma Sueiro for “Bioplastics.” Sueiro was able to synthesize plastics from discarded banana peels. This plastic is biodegradable, so once it is disposed, it will naturally decompose. As an added bonus, she added seeds to her plastic, so once in the landfill, the seeds will germinate and flower. The seeds used were chosen for their ability to phytoremediate the polluted soil.

The winners will head to Hershey Pa., in June to compete against other East Coast schools.