Lenape Regional High School District students named Governor’s STEM Scholars

Students include sophomore Jack Batt and junior Rebecca Leavens of Shawnee High School, along with junior Jevon Torres of Lenape High School.

From left are Shawnee High School junior Rebecca Leavens, Shawnee High School sophomore Jack Batt and Lenape High School junior Jevon Torres.

Three students from the Lenape Regional High School District (LRHSD) have been named to the 2018–2019 class of the Governor’s STEM Scholars.

According to the district, the Governor’s STEM Scholars is a statewide STEM education initiative for New Jersey students in grades ten through the doctoral level.

District officials say only 80 students made the cut from a pool of nearly 500 applications.

For the LRHSD, STEM Scholars include Jack Batt, a Shawnee High School sophomore, Rebecca Leavens, a Shawnee High School junior and Jevon Torres, a Lenape High School junior.

The STEM Scholars Program was established through a public-private partnership among the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, the Governor’s Office, the state Department of Education and the state Secretary of Higher Education to introduce high school and postsecondary STEM leaders to New Jersey’s STEM economy.

According to the district, The Research & Development Council of New Jersey used criteria, including character, leadership ability and STEM aptitude, to select the 2018–2019 class.

As STEM Scholars, district officials say the three LRHSD students get to participate in four themed conferences that introduce them to accomplished STEM professionals and successful STEM companies, academic institutions and government research organizations.

They recently attended the first of these conferences on Sept. 15, hearing from STEM leaders working across the state.

“It was interesting to learn about the obstacles that the speakers had to overcome in their careers and all of the hard work they did to become as successful as they are today,” Batt said. “As a STEM Scholar, I hope to learn from and make connections with STEM leaders to open doors for me to internships and other opportunities.”

In addition to these conferences, the STEM Scholars will take field trips to research and development facilities across the state, meet with New Jersey policymakers and engage in a team research project.

“I will be collaboratively researching a new treatment for brain tumors at Monmouth University, led by a PhD candidate and a professor who serves as director of the university’s newest laboratory,” Torres said. “I know that I will gain incredible experience working with my peers and from my exposure to such knowledgeable mentors. I am grateful for this opportunity to learn about emerging STEM careers, interact with other ambitious scholars and thought leaders and contribute to cutting edge research in a vital field.

The Students

Batt is involved with the Project Lead the Way program at Shawnee and hopes to study civil or electrical engineering at MIT, Rutgers University or Princeton University.

According to the district, he ultimately wants to work for a company such as Lockheed Martin that drives innovation in the engineering fields. ‘

Batt’s teachers commend his work ethic and his willingness to help his peers.

Leavens, also a student at Shawnee who is part of the Project Lead the Way program, is among a small number of students in Shawnee’s history to take AP Calculus BC as a junior.

She plans to continue studying mathematics, and has placed Duke University at the top of her post-secondary list.

Her career aspirations include becoming either an actuary or a physicist and finding a way to use her skills to improve the lives of others.

Torres is an alumnus of the Summer Institute for the Gifted at Princeton University.

In addition to academics, he prioritizes community service as the cofounder of the nonprofit Giving Cycle.

He plans to pursue a STEM discipline major after high school at a R1 research university, with his top interests currently in computer science and industrial engineering.