MOUNTAIN LAKES — Two high school students from Mountain Lakes, Yash Samat and Ryan Lalani have been admitted to the Governor’s STEM Scholars, a cohort made up of 128 high school and college science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students in New Jersey.
Ryan Lalani is a junior at Mountain Lakes High School and is involved in mentoring and serving his community. As an active member of his school district, Ryan serves as the Student Government Executive Board Treasurer, Peer Counselor and Leader, School Climate and Safety Representative, Founder and President of the Computer Science Club, and Varsity Swim Team Member.
In his role as a Teaching Assistant and Coordinator for the Mountain Lakes Public Library Makerspace, Ryan is responsible for community outreach and mentoring of elementary and middle school students in the areas of coding, 3-D printing and design, strategic chess skills, digital movie-making, and all things STEM.
As part of his commitment to public service, Ryan is an Environmental Commission Member for the Borough of Mountain Lakes and is a Firefighter for the Junior Fire Department. Ryan is currently working with the University of Colorado Boulder’s Empathy Driven Engineering internship through the National Science Foundation, where he is working with St. Joseph’s School for the Blind on developing accessible projects that are functional, engaging, reproducible, and open source.
In his free time, he is a state-level competitive swimmer for the Lakeland Hills YMCA and a volunteer swim coach and instructor. In the future, Ryan would like to use his STEM skills to create a more accessible and environmentally sustainable world.
Yash Samat is a junior at Mountain Lakes High School (MLHS). In 2021, he published the results of two bioinformatics research projects on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database. As a volunteer firefighter and the Secretary of the MLHS Key Club, he is very interested in community service.
Yash incorporated STEM into this interest by teaching middle and high school students Python programming in association with the North South Foundation. He also earned the rank of Eagle Scout with Troop 41 of Mountain Lakes, NJ. His Eagle Scout Project focused on environmental engineering as he designed and led a team of scouts to build artificial fish habitats, which were placed in two lakes in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. The habitats help the ecosystem by providing a safe environment for fish to nurse.
In turn, this would keep the lakes cleaner by naturally reducing the number of algae instead of using chemical treatment. The MIT Think program also recognized him as a semifinalist for a project proposal in extension to his fish habitat project.
Yash aspires to pursue a career in aeronautical engineering and information systems while continuing his passion for community service.