Fifty of MMI Preparatory School’s 69 competitors placed first in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competition and will advance to the state competition, which will be held May 20-21 at Penn State University’s Main Campus in State College.

MMI students presented 76 projects. Seven students finished in the top two in multiple categories. Junior Coleman Smith placed first in two math categories and recorded a perfect score in the one event. Freshman McKenna Gallagher (biology and chemistry), junior Mahum Ahmed (microbiology and math), senior Lauren Babinetz (engineering and math), and senior Joshua Kalada-Kania (botany and zoology) all placed first twice. Junior Andrew Decker was first in biology and second in math and junior Jessica McClellan finished first in behavioral and second in physics.

Additional first place finishers are: Seventh Grade – Brenna Eckhart, Kate Malay, and Nadia Saeed. Eighth Grade – Rachael Betz, Anna Cabell, Ashley Loss, Amelia Minzola, Dustin Paul, Connor Spencer, and Benjamin Zhao. Freshmen – Morgan Allen, Louis DeAngelo, Natalie Graham, Aaron Haber, James Kelly, Sydney Kohl, Katherine Lewandowski, Noah Long, Hiba Muhammad, Samantha Sparich, Ella Urosevich, and Alexis Zola. Sophomores – Emily Ankiewicz, Kai Mele, Katharine Pinto, and Benjamin Putnam. Juniors – Elizabeth Borchick, Nicholas Carrato, Daniel DeMelfi, Elizabeth Eckhart, Wesley Guarneri, Alexander Kline, Morgan Long, Kaitlyn McGeehan, Christine Park, Brian Payne, Bailey Slusser, and Zachary Young. Seniors – Angelica Alday, Chava Kornblatt, Gabriella Kupsho, Abigail Paul, and Julia Snyder.

MMI second place finishers are: Seventh Grade – Lauren Urosevich. Eighth Grade – Lucy Butkiewicz, Elizabeth O’Donnell, Logan Slusser, and Grace Warner. Freshmen – Marcus Danchision, Morgan Hosier, Jordan Kulsa, Cole Rinehimer, Emily Ryan, Jacqueline Snyder, Alexander Young, and Darren Zheng. Sophomores – Catrina Havrilla and Macy Zenier. Juniors – Kelisa Hysenbegasi and Alexander Sessock. Seniors – Lauren Freeman and Jakob Schwabe.

The Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) is a statewide organization of junior and senior high school students designed to stimulate and promote interest in science and mathematics among its members through the development of research projects and investigations.

Due to inclement weather, the students did not attend the Regional Meeting at Wilkes University. Instead, the students presented their projects to MMI faculty and volunteer judges, comprised of MMI PJAS alumni and parents who work in the sciences.


CAPTION: Fifty of MMI Preparatory School’s 69 competitors placed first in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competition. Pictured are, first row, from left: Eve Chava Kornblatt, Christine Park, Elizabeth Borchick, Bailey Slusser, Jessica McClellan, Elizabeth Eckhart, Kaitlyn McGeehan, Grace Warner, Oliva Minzola, Elizabeth O’Donnell, Morgan Hosier, Samantha Sparich, and Susan Moyer (PJAS advisor). Second row: Sydney Kohl, McKenna Gallagher, Ella Urosevich, Mahum Ahmed, Kelisa Hysenbegasi, Abigail Paul, Nadia Saeed, Brenna Eckhart, Kate Malay, Natalie Graham, Morgan Allen, and Lucy Butkiewicz. Third row: Julia Snyder, Gabriella Kupsho, Lauren Babinetz, Alexis Zola, Hiba Muhammad, Macy Zenier, Catherine Havrilla, Emily Ankiewicz, Katharine Pinto, Emily Ryan, Angelica Alday, Ms. Amanda Shonk, PJAS Advisor, and Ms. Melissa McHale (PJAS advisor). Fourth row: Ashley Loss, Alexandra Young, Jacqueline Snyder, Jordan Kulsa, Daniel DeMelfi, Andrew Decker, Aaron Haber, Darren Zheng, Louis DeAngelo, Dustin Paul, Connor Spencer, and Benjamin Zhao. Fifth row: Brian Payne, Coleman Smith, Wesley Guarneri, Alexander Sessock, James Kelly, Cole Rinehimer, Marcus Danchision, Noah Long, Morgan Long, Nicholas Carrato, and Kai Mele. Sixth row: Joshua Kalada-Kania, Mr. Justin Vincent, Interim Assistant Head of School, and Michael Mele (PJAS advisor). Missing from photo: Rachael Betz, Anna Cabell, Logan Slusser, Katherine Lewandowski, Benjamin Putnam, Alexander Kline, Zachary Young, Lauren Freeman, and Jakob Schwabe.


About MMI Preparatory School

For 138 years, MMI Preparatory School has been providing dedicated area students with a comprehensive and inspiring 6th through 12th grade college preparatory program that maximizes each individual’s academic, social, and character potential in preparation for success in college and beyond. The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS).  MMI is a school where every student can reach their full potential: academically, ethically, and socially. For more information about MMI Preparatory School, visit or call 570-636-1108.