Conestoga High School Student Pursues Scientific Research in Israel


— Kevin Hattori

Haifa, Israel and Wayne, Pennsylvania — Samuel Allon of Wayne, Pennsylvania traded the usual U.S. summer fare — camp, job or beach trips — to conduct research with world-renowned scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel July 25- August 20.

More after the jump.
        Mr. Allon joined 20 U.S. high school students in SciTech, an innovative three-week program for outstanding high school juniors and seniors from Israel and abroad who have demonstrated an exceptional interest and ability in science and technology. Taught in English, the live-in program on the Technion campus gives these students — who, this summer, hailed from five different countries — access to Israel’s top scientists and educators, who serve as program mentors in research in a broad range of fields within engineering and science. The program exposes participants to the entire research process, from laboratory experiments and simulations to papers, presentation and publication.

       “I learned about biomolecular computing, a process of manipulating DNA molecules to perform computations,” explains Mr. Allon, who worked with mentor Sivan Shoshani, a graduate student in the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry. “The skills and information I learned should help with future research.”

       A student at Conestoga High School, Mr. Allon adds: “One of the best parts of the SciTech program was socializing with the other students. Even though we came from a variety of locations, we were able to build friendships around our Judaism and our love of science.”

       A total of 38 students from Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada, Serbia and the United States came together to participate in this summer’s program, now in its 17th year.

       “It is unique and wonderful that such talented teenagers engage in research activities with world-class Technion researchers in this special program,” said Russell N. Stern, son of program founder, Harry J. Stern of Sands Point, NY. He adds: “Their academic achievement is only one piece of the experience; they have a chance to build scientific and cultural bridges with students from around the world, and to explore Israeli society and history.”

       Admission to the program is highly selective and open to a limited number of students.  Candidates are required to complete detailed applications that include school recommendations.  Final admission decisions are made by the mentor of each Technion project to ensure that each applicant will be a full contributing member of a research team.

       At the program’s conclusion, each research group prepares a written report and an oral presentation for a plenary assembly comprised of peers and professors.  These reports are later published, and each participant receives a certificate of completion.  Many obtain credit from their high schools or from the universities they plan to attend.   Participants experience college life at the Technion, living in dormitories, participating in cultural and social activities, and accessing advanced computer services, athletic facilities, and laboratories. Students attend social and cultural activities in the afternoons and evenings, and they also go on several tours throughout Israel.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is Israel’s leading science and technology university.  Home to the country’s first winners of the Nobel Prize in science, it commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in nanotechnology, computer science, biotechnology, water-resource management, materials engineering, aerospace and medicine.  The majority of the founders and managers of Israel’s high-tech companies are alumni. Based in New York City, the American Technion Society (ATS) is the leading American organization supporting higher education in Israel, with offices around the country.