Rambam senior Avi Balsam and HAFTR senior Jonathan Lederer won first place at the International Energy & Sustainability Conference 2019 student poster competition.

The competition, which was held on the second day of Chol HaMoed Sukkos in Farmingdale State College, included students from across the state. Jonathan and Avi, along with their mentor, Mrs. Rebecca Isseroff, had worked on their research project, titled “Catalysts, the Reusable Energy-Saver: Enhancing Enzyme Catalysis with Partially Reduced Graphene Oxide,” during the weeks leading up to the competition.

Both students participated in the Garcia Center Summer Scholars program at Stony Brook University, led by Dr. Miriam Rafailovich, in which they worked with Mrs. Isseroff on their project, eventually presenting their work at a research symposium.

Their project aims to enhance catalysts through the use of promoters, which make a catalyst react more quickly, thereby decreasing activation energy, or the energy required to complete a chemical reaction. This can be very useful in many applications, especially in the energy efficient conversion of biomass to biofuels, which is important in the development of new sources of renewable energy.

Jonathan and Avi are proud of their accomplishments, and look forward to entering their project in many other materials science and energy conferences such as the American Chemical Society, where they will be able to refine and further their work.

This latest honor for Avi follows his having recently earned a National Merit Scholars Letter of Commendation. The year has just begun, and yet it seems like the sky is the limit for this talented and dedicated young man.