With the help of two creative, science-minded juniors, Jersey City's McNair Academic has become one of 300 public middle and high school finalists in the 14th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national STEM competition.

The students — Eza Iqbal and Fay Wang Davis — developed a proposal to use rice husks to create durable bricks to build stable housing and simultaneously alleviate the global problem of waste management and housing shortages.

“Our roots trace back to Asia, a continent where rice is more than just a staple food. It’s a symbol of life, culture, but unfortunately leads to a great deal of waste. We’ve seen the mountains of discarded rice husks, both in our home countries and here in the US. This sparked an idea that we could possibly help alleviate this issue, if only a little bit” said the two in a written statement.

Eza comes from Pakistan and Fay comes from China.

Their proposal won a $2,500 prize for McNair and they are now in the running to win an additional $100,000 in the State Finalist round.

“We’re proud to say that we’re the first ever finalists from the Jersey City Public School District, in its entire history! This achievement isn’t just about the $2,500 in Samsung products that our school has been awarded as a finalist, it’s a testament to our determination and ingenuity, especially considering our school isn’t a STEM-focused institution and operates on a tight budget” said the two confident young women.

The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Competition is a global competition that challenges students to develop innovative solutions to real-world problems. This year's competition focused on the theme of “Health and Wellness.”