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Two Long Island Students Win STEM Competition

Two Long Island Students Win STEM Competition

Audrey Shine of Plainview-Old Bethpage-JFK High School and Danielle Kelly of Friends Academy took first place in the international Spellman High Voltage Electronics Clean Tech Competition.

Women are traditionally underrepresented in STEM careers, but two Long Island female students are turning tradition on its head. On July 12, Audrey Shine of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School, Plainview, New York and Danielle Kelly of Friends Academy, Locust Valley, New York took first place in the international Spellman High Voltage Electronics Clean Tech Competition, the only outcome-based STEM competition of its kind in the world, for the second consecutive year.

During the event, held at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY, Shine and Kelly beat out nine others teams of high school students from five nations, including four from the United States, three from Singapore, and one each from Australia, Ireland, and Peru. 

As first place winners, Kelly and Shine were awarded a $10,000 prize for their project Application of Graphene Oxide/Amine Functionalized Graphene Oxide onto Polymer Electrolyte Membranes (PEM) and Electrodes to Optimize Hydrogen Fuel Cell Performance. The project focused on enhancing the efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells to help solve climate change—the theme of this year’s competition.

The women will also have the opportunity to attend and present at The World Congress on Climate Change in Rome, Italy in September. To support the students’ trip to Rome, please visit: They will also continue their relationship with a professional mentor, who will advise them regarding their work and education.

“Clean tech is more than just a competition—it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collaborate with young scientists around the globe. I am incredibly honored and grateful to receive the top award,” said winner Audrey Shine.

“Clean Tech provided us with an amazing opportunity to interact with students from around the globe. Winning was incredible, and I am so grateful for the honor, but the true value of the experience was collaborating internationally to solve the pressing and universal issue of climate change,” added winner Danielle Kelly.

The second place finisher was Benjamin Liao of Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California. Liao received $7,500 for his project relating to changing colored Thermochromics Roof Coatings used to capture or reflect the energy of the sun.

Elise Ireland of the Republic of Ireland representing the Regina Mundi College Team of Ireland was given the third place award and $5,000 for her project that used rain water in downspouts to produce electricity.

“All of the students who participated in the finals demonstrated their creativity and understanding of STEM principals,” said Dr. Ray Ann Havasy, director of The Center for Science Teaching & Learning. “These young people are a shining example of the importance and the potential of STEM.”

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Brigitt Earley

Author: Brigitt Earley is a freelance writer and editor based in NJ. She’s a new mom to a baby boy, runs an Instagram account full of the most delicious food she can find (@literallyallthefood), and loves to hate a good barre class. See More

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