Junior, Mordechai Lis presenting to a panel of judges at the Jerusalem Science Contest Award Ceremony

Junior, Mordechai Lis presenting to a panel of judges at the Jerusalem Science Contest Award Ceremony

While junior Mordechai Lis has joined many enriching extracurricular programs, from sports to student council, it’s his diligence in his most recent endeavor that earned him a trip to Israel.

Mordechai is a finalist in this year’s Jerusalem Science Contest, Chidon HaMada HaYerushalmi, a program of the Walder Science Laboratory and Learning Center of the Foundation for Learning and Development. The rigorous college-level science course for high school juniors and seniors across the North America attracted 110 applicants this year alone. Those numbers slowly dwindled, though, says Mordechai as the demands of the program intensified. Each week, participants joined weekly lectures on forensic science, read multiple textbook chapters and took interim qualifying exams. Participants invested more than 70 hours of time to the program over a period of four months.

The Jerusalem Science Contest is a joint project of the Jerusalem College of Technology, Jerusalem, Israel and Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc, Coralville, Iowa. Several Academy students have participated in the program each year, even becoming finalists.

At the conclusion of the term, Mordechai took a comprehensive exam on the course material. Those participants earning a mastery score receive prizes ranging from cash prizes to a four-year scholarship to Jerusalem College of Technology [Machon Lev/Machon Tal].

Despite his schoolwork and participation in extracurricular activities such as Model UN, Mathletes, the debate club, student council and the wrestling and cross-country teams, Mordechai’s excellent exam performance makes him a contest finalist. Earlier this month, when Mordechai presented at the Jerusalem Science Contest Award Ceremony, he spent many hours researching the concept for his presentation on the “Halachic Implications of Not Treating a Patient.” He also presented the legal perspective and complications. In the end, Mordechai placed among the top five contestants in the country. The top six winners were all invited on a 10-day trip to Israel. This trip to Israel makes all the hard work worthwhile, says Mordechai.

Mordechai credits some of his interest in science to his coursework at ICJA, saying they are both interesting and challenging. Mordechai also is a member of ICJA’s BotBall robotics team–an interscholastic competition where students use computer code to design, build and program a robot. And while Mordechai is unsure about pursuing science in university, he says the Jerusalem Science Contest was an incredible opportunity to broaden his scientific background while applying knowledge to the real world.