Mamaroneck High School senior Jack Miller is having quite a year: He’s already been recognized as captain of the varsity football and wrestling teams and was named Con Edison’s “athlete of the week” in December. Now he’s been named a finalist in the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) for the second straight year.
A participant in the MHS Original Science Research (OSR) program, Jack placed among the top eight out of over two hundred presenters at this year’s Westchester Science and Engineering Fair (WESEF). Along with 22 other Mamaroneck students, Jack presented his research as a professional quality science poster which he created over the past several months in the high school’s research class.
The students presented their work six times to judges from their particular area of science. Jack’s project, titled The effect of contrast density and mixing procedure on layering of contrast in myelography: an in vitro model, also earned him first place in the “Medicine and Health” category at the fair.
As an ISEF finalist, Jack has earned an all-expenses paid trip to this year’s fair to be held in San Jose, California in May. Students will get to meet and interact with 1500 students from over 200 countries and discuss their work with prestigious scientists and doctors from around the world. While any student would be excited by such an opportunity, Jack says he appreciates it even more because he knows what to look forward to.
“The last thing I expected this year was to return to ISEF, but none the less I am thrilled to be returning,” Jack said. “Going to ISEF last year was a once in a lifetime opportunity and a once in a lifetime trip. Knowing that I am going to experience all of that for a second time is surreal feeling. Instead of being apprehensive about the trip, I know what to look forward to so I will be able to relax and enjoy the trip more this year.”
Jack was also enthusiastic about his participation in the OSR program: “OSR has been a huge influence on me. Because of my work in OSR I know what I want to do with the rest of my life. My work has taught me many invaluable lessons not only about scientific research but about work ethic in general. I look forward to applying what I have learned in OSR to my work in the future.”
Jack has spent the last three years in the OSR program studying radiology under the guidance of his father, Dr. Theodore Miller of the Hospital for Special Surgery. Jack’s current project promises to improve the quality of spinal images created using the technique of myelography. Last year, Jack’s award winning project focused on which imaging techniques could best detect calcium deposits in the body.
Dr. Miller has found it quite rewarding to mentor a student. He said “(mentoring) rekindles my own enthusiasm for research. It is very gratifying to see the student get excited about the project and it is exciting to think that I may have positively influenced someone for a career in medicine.”
Regarding Jack’s return to ISEF, Dr. Miller said “I cannot describe the pride and disbelief I have regarding Jack’s winning for a second year in a row. The shock still hasn’t worn off even several weeks later. ISEF is a phenomenal experience that I am sure will stay with Jack and all the other students their entire lives.”
Guido Garbarino, who teaches OSR at the high school, describes Jack as the model student.
“Jack has all of the attributes to succeed in science. He’s smart, focused and genuinely interested in what he studies. Also, he is a tremendously gifted presenter. Jack can describe his work, which is very complicated, in a way that makes it easy to understand. These are skills that will help in whatever field he pursues.”
Jack will be attending the University of Pennsylvania next year, where he will be playing on the lightweight football team.