Jojo Zhu ’22 and Ryan Park ’23 earn success in the Montgomery County Science Fair


Jojo Zhu ’22 and Ryan Park ’23

Ryan Park ‘23 and Jojo Zhu ‘22 participated and had success in the Montgomery County Science Fair. According to the Science Montgomery website, the fair is one of the largest in the United States. Middle and high school students from the Montgomery County area participate every year to win prizes such as scholarships, bonds, banquets, internships and many more. 

Park did a study of Stereochemical and Thermodynamic Analysis of Nanoparticles used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. “I had to compute different sets of data and determine if it was effective or not to treat the disease,” Park said. Each week he met with Erin Ruane, the head of the science department, to discuss his research and work. 

“Ryan spent a lot of time researching the molecular modeling software Avogadro.” Ruane stated in an email. “Ryan used this software to study various physical and chemical properties of different chemical structures to determine their effectiveness in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.”

He received second place in the Montgomery County Science Fair, and, although there is no “prize” for receiving this place, it qualifies him to continue competing in the Delaware Valley Science Fair.

Jojo Zhu ‘22, a boarding student from Shanghai, participated in the H-term course Science, Race, and Injustice. She too received an award for her participation in the science fair. 

“I learned how much of a passion I truly have for science. Sometimes scientists see patients as just numbers, but we learn they are truly humans with real lives. They have families, friends, colleagues just like we do. Doing certain studies I asked, ‘How can this help a patient? Is it effective?’ This makes the studies more effective and helpful for future patients,” Zhu said.

During H-term, Zhu also worked on a machine learning assisted analysis of glioblastoma transcriptomes, analyzing RNA data to identify gene expression patterns and differently express genes through constructing machine learning models in RNA. Zhu earned the Merck Science Project Achievement High School Award for her project.

This was a continuation of her project from last year on finding drug targets for brain tumors through transcriptome analysis. 

“I am so happy H-term happened this year – it really helped me expand my studies outside of the curriculum,” Zhu said.