Jerry Orans named 2022 Regeneron Scholar

MHS Senior announced among top 300 contestants of national science research competition.


Photo Courtesy of Jerry Orans (22')

Jerry Orans (‘22) marvels over RHex that landed him among finalists of the Regeneron competition.

Kim Wei, Art/Photography Director

The Regeneron Science Talent Search, a program of Society for Science since 1942, is a prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. The program received 1760 applications from students in 45 states, and international high schools. The application includes essay questions, questions about the student’s project, recommendations, transcripts, optional test scores, and an original scientific paper. The applications are reviewed by three or more PhD scientists in the subject area, and eventually 300 top scholars are selected.
Jerry Orans (‘22), a Mamaroneck High School senior, is among the top 300 contestants and was awarded $2000, with an additional $2000 going to MHS. He is a candidate for the top 40 finalists set to compete in Washington DC in March. The top 40 finalists are awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to compete to be among the final 10. The first place prize is $250,000. At the final competition, the students meet notable scientists and government leaders.
After discovering the RHex platform his freshman year, Orans read over 15 papers about the RHex ecosystem and realized that “there was no RHex design that was able to adapt to the environment it was placed in. The three big leg designs, present on the X-RHex, T-RHex, and AQUA RHex platforms each specialized in either walking, swimming, or climbing. No leg was able to do all three motion types without needing to switch out hardware.”
Orans’s project, “Development of a Multi-Terrain RHex Leg for Swimming, Running, and Climbing,” combined these functions without requiring parts software to be switched out. The Novel leg was designed using Fusion 360, allowing Orans to prototype the leg without physical construction. Before the final design was assembled, it was 3D printed and laser cut. Testing then occurred the summer between junior and senior year.
This work allows the RHex to conduct long-term missions without outside support. “The RHex is a motion platform, it is designed to be used to get other sensors into otherwise inaccessible areas. Researchers looking to study coastal conditions on land and in the water could utilize the robot to autonomously gather data over an extended period.”
The RHx could also be utilized for search and rescue missions to, “search through wreckage after a tsunami where the robot may need to climb out of bodies of water onto rubble. Climate scientists could deploy sensor packages deep into forests for months at a time to gather long term climate data.”
Guido Garbarino, an Original Science Research teacher, has supported Orans through the OSR program at MHS. Beyond this prestigious award, Orans has stood out as a student “because he came into our class with a huge amount of knowledge and experience. His Regeneron-winning project on the RHex was not his first, second, or even tenth project. For Jerry, learning, thinking, designing and problem solving are habits that he has honed over the course of several years,” explains Garbarino. The competition “recognizes and empowers our nation’s most promising young scientists who are developing ideas that could solve society’s most urgent challenges.” During the application process, COVID-19 was one of Orans’s biggest hurdles. Supply chain shortages made it hard to source components, and get in touch with labs.
“The Regeneron STS application is incredibly tedious, as any OSR student can attest to,” Orans exclaimed. “Writing a 20 page research paper at the level of most college research labs while also balancing all my other classes takes a lot of effort, but I’m glad to see that it paid off!”
Orans is planning on majoring in Industrial Engineering in college and hopes to continue robotics and manufacturing research and development using the skills he’s honed at MHS.