Wearing colorful awards ribbons and proud smiles, five DeKalb County students recently presented the findings of their science research projects at the 2008 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) held May 11- 16, 2008 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
Miller Grove High Schoolâ€™s Kevin Thornton and Chamblee Charter High Schoolâ€™s Brian Gray Barnett, Peter Bau, Priscila Elena Llaverias, and Le Hien Thi Pan were amongst the 1,500 high school students from across the world competing for more than $4 million in scholarships and awards. Each of the DeKalb students walked away winnersâ€”amassing at total of $5,000 in scholarship funds.
Often tagged the "Olympics of Science," ISEF, presented by Agilent Technologies and administered by the Society for Science & the Public, is the culminating event for a network of science fairs held around the world. At ISEF, students present projects and inventions that may represent months, and sometimes years, of concentrated scientific research. The projects are classified into one of 17 categories ranging from cellular biology, to engineering, physics, and more. Each project is judged by a panel of professional scientists on communicative presentation, understanding of the research, and new knowledge the student has gained through the process.
Conducting research as a team, Brian Gray Barnett, Priscila Elena Llaverias, and Le Hien Thi Pan, won an ISEF Grand Award in the amount of $1,500 for their biochemistry project: How to Obtain the Highest Yields of Diglycidyl Terephthalate and Diglycidyl Succinate Used for Building Biodegradable Scaffolds for Tissue Regeneration. The Chamblee teamâ€™s science teacher is Christopher Thomas.
Kevin Thornton won an $1,000 ISEF Special Award from the States United for Biomedical Research for his project, Effects of Infusion Duration on the Acquisition of Cocaine Administration. Kevinâ€™s project is categorized as an animal science submission and his science teacher at Miller Grove High School is Yvette Gilbert.
Peter Bau took home two ISEF Special Awards, one in the amount of $1,000 from the American Veterinary Medical Association, and $1,500 from Kennesaw State Universityâ€™s College of Science and Mathematics. Peterâ€™s animal science project, The Effects of Camellia sinesis on the Development of Bombyx mori Pupae, studied the effects of green, oolong, and black teas on the lifespan of silk worms. Peter, at only 15, the youngest in the bunch of DeKalb presenters says he hopes to compete in the international fair again next year where he will present extended lab research on the silk worm study using antioxidants and caffeine. Peterâ€™s teacher at Chamblee Charter High is Dr. Kathryn H. Zuehlke.
The fair also invited scientists and researchers from all over the world to provide presentations for more than 2,000 metro Atlanta middle school students who visited the fair. The Champion Theme, Chapel Hill, Columbia, Lithonia, Redan, and Stone Mountain Middle Schools all visited the ISEF fair and took part in the hands-on labs that covered various science disciplines like life science, heat transfer, and DNA cheek cell research.
"Just seeing the research presented, I think students now better understand our vision [as a school system] and what we have in store for them," said Faatimah Muhammad, DeKalbâ€™s High School Science Coordinator who also served as an ISEF committee chairperson and co-chair of Educational Outreach for ISEF 2008.
"When we talk to our students about life and environmental sciences, those are just words to them, but they were able to see the application and how science can be applied in any field. Science is problem solving, it is analysis; science is not just about doctors in white coats."
Intelâ€™s International Science and Engineering Fair 2009 will be held in Reno, Nevada from May 10-15, 2009.
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