By: Raima Islam ’21 and Grace Rose ’19
On Saturday June 1st, sophomore Raima Islam competed in the 2019 MARM Chemagination Competition held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her project, “Bridging the Gap—Combating Retinal Detachment” placed first in the Medicine/Health category.
The 2019 Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting Chemagination Competition is a chemistry competition where chemistry students imagine themselves twenty-five years into the future and consider issues that could arise. They were asked to create innovations in categories Medicine/Health, Environment, Alternative Energy, and New Materials. Once students conceptualized various issues, they were tasked with researching innovative ways to solve them.
To compete in the MARM Chemagination competition, teams must first make it through a local division. On March 27th, sophomores Betul Koc, Elizabeth Dubov, Lauren Torres, Mia Basile, Alex Ack, Daniel Kania, Betul Duzgun, and Islam competed in the local division of the 2019 MARM Chemagination Competition here at PV.
Six teams participated in the local competition. One team consisted of three students from Bergen County Academies. Out of the five PV teams, Koc and Dubov’s team and Islam and Duzgun’s team placed first in their categories. They were then eligible to compete in the 2019 MARM Chemagination Competition held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).
This year, Koc and Dubov presented their project “25th Anniversary of the Rubber Bag” in the Environment category. Their project focused on creating rubber bags as an alternative to plastic bags, which are damaging to the environment.
Islam and Duzgun presented, “Bridging the Gap — Combating Retinal Detachment” in the Medicine category. The project focused on finding a better treatment for retinal detachments.
Islam went on to compete at the MARM Chemagination Competition in Maryland on Saturday, June 1st.
Upon arrival, guests were served a complimentary lunch. Right after, the judging process began. A total of seven judges viewed the thirteen projects presented. The judging lasted for roughly two hours, during which students were given tours of different labs at the university.
Following the tours, participants met up with their families in a lecture hall for the awards ceremony. Those who placed first each won a $75 Amazon gift card while each second place winner won a $50 Amazon gift card.
“It felt incredibly rewarding to win,” stated Islam. “Winning made me realize that all the hard work that I put into the project was worth it.”
Dr. Susanne Iobst has encouraged her honors students to compete in the competition for many years now. She believes that her class and respective lab periods prepared the students to be strong competitors at both the local and regional levels: “Contests like Chemagination are great because students have the opportunity to utilize the chemistry they learned in the classroom to find practical applications and understand how important chemistry is to all other types of science.”
Iobst expressed her appreciation for Islam’s achievement. “It is one thing to win in North Jersey when there is a limited number of schools that participate,” said Iobst. “But now when you’re competing against students who also won their local competitions from their states, it becomes an even bigger achievement.”