Three Bethesda students won Dr. Istvan Madaras SciTech Scholarships, allowing them to conduct scientific research at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa this summer.
Marnie Klein, a 2013 graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School; Jared Duker Lichtman, a senior in the Science, Mathematics and Computer Science Magnet Program at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring; and Ari Gilad Mandler, a 2013 graduate of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda were among 44 high school students from around the world to participate in SciTech, a three-week international science and technology research camp at the Technion, now in its 20th year.
SciTech provides teenagers the chance to carry out research in a broad range of fields alongside accomplished Israeli researchers, while experiencing life in Israel.
The scholarship is awarded each spring to deserving Washington-area high school students by the daughter of Madaras, an accomplished cellist and pediatrician who died in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.
Klein, now a freshman pre-med student at Georgetown University in Washington, worked at the Rambam Pediatric Hospital researching primary immunodeficiency disease. The experience provided the opportunity to study patient cases and to work in both the genetics and blood laboratories. The mentoring was top-notch, she said.
Her mentor arranged for her team to meet Nobel Prize Laureate Distinguished Professor Aaron Ciechanover.
“That was the best half-hour of my life,” Klein said in a statement. “He was very inspiring.”
Lichtman, an athlete who has played soccer three times in the Maccabi Games, spent his summer immersed in another type of game — game theory.
Working with an Israeli student and another American, Lichtman researched a mathematical algorithm. They looked at a situation in which there are people from each of three different parties arranged in threesomes.
He and his group, which won the SciTech 2013 Scientific Poster Competition, intend to continue working on the problem with the hope of eventually publishing a formal research paper.
Lichtman was named a 2013 National Merit semifinalist, competed in the American Computer Science League All-Star Contest in 2012, is an Advanced Placement scholar with distinction and member of the National Honor Society. He is a linguist and member of the Latin and French Honor societies at Blair and has been a member of the school’s track and field and varsity soccer teams. In June, he was awarded the Congressional Award Gold Medal for four categories, including community service.
Mandler, now a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he plans to study molecular biology and pharmacology in the context of medical research, worked this summer with adult cardiomyocyte cells to examine the role of a protein called Activating Transcription Factor 3 on thickening of the heart muscle and heart failure.
He was president of the Whitman Key Club and a regular intern at the National Institutes of Health during high school. Upon graduation, Technion Associate Professor Ami Aronheim, who worked with Mandler and his partner in the lab, praised their enthusiasm for learning.
“We found a cockroach in the lab and they studied its inside to look for its heart,” Aronheim said in a statement.