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Yorktown Students Receive Scientific Excellence Awards

Amanda Lombardo Photo Credit: Contributed
Swarnav Pujari and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. Photo Credit: Contributed
Jason Toporoff Photo Credit: Contributed
Nimat Maloney Photo Credit: Contributed

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Yorktown High School seniors Amanda Lombardo, Jason Toporoff, Swarnav Pujari and Somers High School student Nimat Maloney were recipients of the prestigious Acorda Scientific Excellence Award, in recognition of their recent STEM research projects.

When her 12-year-old cousin was diagnosed with the juvenile form of rheumatoid arthritis, Amanda Lombardo wanted to learn as much as she could about what he was going through and why it was happening to him. Most importantly, she wanted to find a way to help him and others like him. Lombardo began by examining the cause of the disease and testing the efficacy of available treatments. In her research, she found that several anti-cancer drugs can be used by patients to help prevent symptoms from spreading.

Swarnav Pujari turned his interest in renewable and sustainable sources of energy into an investigation in the world of bio-motion. Pujari set out to see if human bio-motion can be used to power normal household appliances.Building what he dubbed a 'Power Pad,' Pujari was able to harness the energy exerted when the pad was stepped on in a heavily trafficked hallway. After 10 days, he found his Power Pad had reliably generated enough daily energy to power several household appliances.

Jason Toporoff’s research project came from his desire to help those around the world who don’t have access to clean drinking water. He began searching for a cost-effective solution to this problem, ultimately finding an attractive option in solar disinfection. Toporoff built a test chamber housing ultraviolet lights and monitored the time to disinfection for contaminated water placed inside the device. At the end of his study, Toporoff found that his solar disinfection rig could reliably remove all bacteria from water in nine hours, and it would remain drinkable for another 20.

Recognizing the global need for renewable sources of energy, Maloney began researching ways to improve on our current energy storage, settling on reusable fuel cells. By combining multiple conductive metals, Maloney was able lower the cost of manufacturing and improve the performance of existing fuel cells.

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