Tuesday, April 14, 2015

San Diego Unified students stand out at Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair

Students from 13 San Diego Unified schools took home awards, including the Senior Sweepstakes award, after competing in the 61st annual Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair held at the end of March.

More than 650 students in grades 7 through 12 attending school in San Diego or Imperial counties entered projects in this year’s fair. Topics of entries ranged from animal science, biochemistry and computer science, to mathematics, medicine and health science, microbiology, and electrical and mechanical engineering.

Projects were judged and winners were selected in either the senior division, which covers grades 9-12, or the junior division, which covers grades 7-8.

Chloe Kuo This year, La Jolla High School junior Chloe Kuo was named the Senior Sweepstakes – ACFEA winner for her project on ways to improve movement on manual wheelchairs. Kuo created a prototype wheelchair that featured a hands-free, voice activated locking and unlocking mechanism for the axels that allow the user to use one hand to propel both wheels at once, then unlock the axels using a voice command to operate them separately.

Kuo, a tennis player, was inspired to create the wheelchair after playing a round of wheelchair tennis. She was recognized for her win by the San Diego County Board of Education at its April 8 Board Meeting, where she described her inspiration and showed how here wheelchair prototype works. http://stream.sdcoe.net/wc/boardmeeting040815/ (starts at 32:35)

Other sweepstakes winners and runners-up include:
  • Sebastian Mellen from Mt. Everest Academy - Junior Division Physical Science Sweepstakes winner and RED Award recipient (Project title: MathSuite: An Innovative Android App that makes Dreaded Calculations... FUN!)
  • Ananya Rao, Marshall Middle School - Junior Division Life Science Sweepstakes winner (Project title: Comparing the effects of natural and chemical oil dispersants on brine shrimp)
  • Janie Kim, Scripps Ranch High School - Senior Division Life Science Sweepstakes Runner-up (Project title: Developing a Contact Lens Solution with Increased Antimicrobial Activity).
  • Laurel Norris from Marshall Middle School - Junior Division Life Science Sweepstakes Runner-up (Project title: Swimming in Sweetness The effects of artificial sweeteners on Daphnia)
Twenty-five students, and three potential alternates, from San Diego Unified have been qualified to enter the 64th annual California State Science Fair (CSSF) to be held in Los Angeles on May 18-19, where they will compete against an expected 1,000 students in grades 6-12 from 400 schools throughout the state for awards totaling $50,000.

Additionally, 17 students from the district have been nominated to participate in the Broadcom MASTERS national competition, a Society for Science & the Public affiliated science and engineering fair that represents the top 10 percent of students in grades 6-8 in the United States.

Marshall Middle School was a stand-out this year with 20 first place winners, 16 CSSF Qualified entries, two CSSF Wait List entries, 15 Broadcom Nominated entries, one Junior Division Life Sciences Winner, one Junior Division Life Sciences Sweepstakes Runner-Up, and 14 second through fourth place winners.

Other notable schools were Wangenheim Middle School with 22 first through third place winners, Morse High School with 25 second through fourth place winners and De Portola Middle School with 15 second through fourth place winners.

Two San Diego Unified teachers were also recognized at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. Shirley Miranda, AP computer science and robotics teacher at Morse High School, was named the Senior Division Science Fair Teacher of the Year and Dan Grendziak, 8th grade physical science teacher at Wangenheim Middle School, was named the Junior Division Science Fair Teacher of the Year. Science fair students nominate their teachers for this award and the Student Advisory Board of the Science and Engineering Fair selects the winners.

For a complete list of winners, please visit the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair website.