Devorah Saffern, a senior at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls in Teaneck, New Jersey was chosen as a Regional Finalist in the team division of the prestigious Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Ms. Saffern and her partner Julie Eaughn from San Diego, California were chosen as Regional Finalists for their submission of a research project aimed at finding mechanical, as opposed to chemical (i.e., antibiotics), methods of bacteria destruction. The title of their project is “Investigating the Physical Antibacterial Properties of Graphene, Graphene Composites, and Phase-Separated Polymer Blends.”
According to the Siemens Foundation website, the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology is designed to “foster intensive research that improves students’ understanding of the value of scientific study and informs their consideration of future careers in these disciplines.” Within the team division of the completion, five teams from each of six geographic regions were chosen as Regional Finalists.
Ms. Saffern first became interested in science research through a sophomore science research elective offered at Ma’ayanot. Through this elective a team of eight Ma’ayanot students worked together to solve an engineering challenge proffered by the Gildor Family Projects and Inventions Competition; the team eventually went on to win the top prize in that international competition.
In November, Ms. Saffern and Ms. Eaughn will travel to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts to compete against the other four Regional Finalist teams from their region. One team from each of the six geographic regions will advance to the National Finals at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. to compete for scholarship prizes ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.
Ma’ayanot’s principal, Mrs. Rivka Kahan, proudly noted, “Devorah is an exceptionally gifted and dedicated learner across all disciplines, and her accomplishment in Siemens is a recognition of her intellectual prowess and discipline. We are very proud of Devorah and are thrilled that she has been recognized in this way.”