Magnet Students Win Prizes at Montgomery County Science Fair

by Jacob Hurwitz '10 and Sophia Deng '10

The 54th Annual Montgomery County Science Fair was held March 20 at the University of Maryland's Reckord Armory. The fair, run by ScienceMONTGOMERY, saw a record-breaking number of participants this year, including 21 Blair students (18 seniors and three underclassmen), all of them from the Magnet Program. this was a large increase from 2009, when 14 Blair students entered.

The Magnet seniors entered their Senior Research Projects. Since students create posters as part of the SRP class, entering the fair was a simple matter of filling out some additional paperwork. Unfortunately, this paperwork still deterred most of the 90 seniors who conducted SRPs. Ms. Duval is working with the current juniors to help them complete the science fair paperwork earlier in the SRP process. Hopefully, the Blair Magnet will have even more entrants in next year's science fair.

Science fair judges awarded prizes to students in twelve categories: Behavioral and Social Sciences, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth and Space Science, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Medicine and Health, Microbiology and Physics. Of the twelve first place category winners, five were picked to represent the Montgomery County Science Fair at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in San Jose, California May 9 - 14. Two of the projects moving on to ISEF are from Blair, and another Blair student was selected as an alternate for ISEF.

Jacob Hurwitz courtesy of Silverchips
Senior Jacob Hurwitz is moving on in the ISEF competition with his math project, "Decycling Densities of Tessellations," which also named him Siemens' Semi-Finalist and first place at the Greater Washington Region's Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) competition. Senior Jennifer Wang and her partner Grace Young won with their group project in physics, "Validation of Parabolic Ion Trap Geometries for Application within Quantum Computing," for which they were named Siemens' Finalists earlier in the year.

Wang looks forward to the competition in May, although it will take place during AP exams. "I'm pretty excited for ISEF," she said. She believes that her project did particularly well at the fair because of its ingenuity and collaborative spirit. "I heard that what made our project stand out was that first, we did our project using everyday materials. The primary component of our project, the parabolic reflectors, came out of everyday flashlights we found sitting in the lab," Wang said. "And second, the judges were really impressed that Grace and I worked well together despite having not known each other before the summer started."

Hurwitz explained to Silverchips that the first-place finishers in each category are evaluated to select those who will advance to the May competition. "You're first judged by a panel of judges knowledgeable about your category who score all projects in the category," he said. "Then, a special set of judges visits the first-place project in each of the 12 categories to determine the top projects overall."  He was ecstatic when officials announced that his mathematics project would be judged at the May competition. "I honestly didn't expect to win," he said. "When they called my name at the Sunday awards ceremony, I was paralyzed in shock for a brief moment."

Senior Jeremy "Ozzie" Fallick was named the second runner-up, making him the second alternate to the ISEF competition. He conducted a computer science project entitled "Development of a Computational Model for Ancient Western Warfare." Fallick believes that he answered the judges' questions seamlessly. "I felt really confident about my project, because all the components were my doing, and I was lucky enough to leave without having been stumped once!" Fallick also notes that the independence and creativity of his project were major factors in his success.  "I think it helped me a great deal that my project was unique (computer science-history combos aren't that common) and that I did all the work on all parts of my project; the judges seemed impressed that I wrote all the code myself."

Monetary prizes are awarded to the first, second, and third place winners in each category. Furthermore, approximately fifty community organizations awarded even more prizes to students, ranging from cash awards to banquet invitations to paid internships. (A full list of awards is available online: http://sciencemontgomery.org/File/2010awards.pdf) In total, Blair students won more than $3,000 for their research.

The Blair winners from this year's fair are:
  • Jennifer Wang '10 and Grace Young (junior from The Potomac School) for their physics project "Validation Of Parabolic Ion Trap Geometries For Application Within Quantum Computing"
    • ISEF award (expense paid trip to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair May 9-14 2010 in San Jose, CA and $250 Award)
    • 1st Place, Physics category ($200)
    • Winner (One Year ASNE Membership; invitation to present at annual symposium Invitation to Exhibit at Annual Symposium), American Society of Naval Engineers/Naval Architects and Marine Engineers For Excellence in Projects Related to Marine Engineering
    • 2nd Place ($150), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Washington Section For Excellence in Electrical Engineering, Physics, Computer Science and Related Areas
    • 1st Place ($100, and Subscription to MIT Technology Review), MIT Club of Washington, D.C.
    • 1st Place ($500; invitation to Goddard Luncheon at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), National Space Club For Outstanding Projects in Space Science and Engineering
    • Winner ($50), Office of Naval Research For Achievement in Science or Technology
    • 2nd Place, U.S. Army - Research Office For Scientific Excellence
  • Jacob Hurwitz '10 for his mathematics project "Decycling Densities of Tessellations"
    • ISEF award (expense paid trip to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair May 9-14 2010 in San Jose, CA and $250 Award)
    • 1st Place, Mathematics category ($200)
    • Winner, Mu Alpha Theta For Challenging, Original, Thorough and Creative Investigation of Problems Involving Modern Mathematics
    • Winner, U.S. Air Force For Excellence in Science and Engineering
    • 2nd Place, U.S. Army - Research Office For Scientific Excellence
    • 1st Place, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission For Outstanding Projects in Nuclear Science or Engineering
  • Jeremy "Ozymandias" Fallick '10 for his computer science project "Development Of A Computational Model For Ancient Western Warfare"
    • ISEF award 2nd Runner Up: $100 Cash and Second Alternate for trip to ISEF
    • 1st Place, Computer Science category ($200)
    • Winner, U.S. Air Force For Excellence in Science and Engineering
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Army - Research Office For Scientific Excellence
  • Angela Choi '10 and Dzi Do '10 for their behavioral and social sciences project "Implications Of Self-terminated Memory Search For Understanding Retrieval Dynamics"
    • Honorable Mention, Behavioral and Social Sciences category
    • Winner, American Psychological Association Recognizing Outstanding Research Projects in Behavior and Social Science
  • Xinyi Zhou '10 for her biochemistry project "Exploring Alternative Splicing As A Novel Mechanism For Circadian Rhythm Dysfunction In Severe Autism"
    • 2nd Place, Biochemistry category ($100)
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Army - Research Office For Scientific Excellence
  • Yifan Li '10 for his biology project "Differentiation Of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells To Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cells In Culture"
    • 2nd Place, Biology category ($100)
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Army - Research Office For Scientific Excellence
    • 3rd Place, U.S. Public Health Service - Commissioned Officers Association For Outstanding Projects in Health-related Research
  • Sophia Deng '10 for her biology project "Identification And Colocalization Of Dense Core Vesicle Regulator Ia-2 With Serotonin In Taste Buds"
    • 2nd Place, Biology category ($100)
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Army - Research Office For Scientific Excellence
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Public Health Service - Commissioned Officers Association For Outstanding Projects in Health-related Research
  • Hongyi Xia '10 for her biology project "Determination of the Effect of Modifying Gβ5 Expression Levels on Drosophila Oxidative Stress Resistance"
    • 3rd Place, Biology category ($50)
    • Winner (Invitation to Awards Ceremony and Tour of CIA Headquarters), Central Intelligence Agency For Projects in Technologies of National Interest
    • 2nd Place ($50), Sigma Xi, FDA Chapter For Excellence in Food and Drug Science
  • Allison Arai '10 for her biology project "Long-Distance Regulatory Interactions of engrailed Regulatory DNA in Drosophila melanogaster after Targeted Deletion of DNA"
    • 3rd Place, Biology category ($50)
    • Winner, Graduate Women in Science For Students Demonstrating Excellence in the Sciences
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Public Health Service - Commissioned Officers Association For Outstanding Projects in Health-related Research
  • Melissa Truong '10 for her biology project "Agents of Emerging Rickettsial and Ehrlichial Diseases in Ticks, Virginia"
    • Honorable Mention, Biology category
    • 2nd Place ($100), American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Potomac Section For Achievements in Projects Demonstrating Excellent Industrial Hygiene Practice or Technology
    • Winner (Invitation to Awards Ceremony and Tour of CIA Headquarters), Central Intelligence Agency For Projects in Technologies of National Interest
    • Winner, Graduate Women in Science For Students Demonstrating Excellence in the Sciences
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Public Health Service - Commissioned Officers Association For Outstanding Projects in Health-related Research
  • Vicky Lai '10 for her computer science project "Modeling Risk and Uncertainty: Cyber Attack Scenario"
    • Honorable Mention, Computer Science category
    • Winner, U.S. Air Force For Excellence in Science and Engineering
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Army - Research Office For Scientific Excellence
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission For Outstanding Projects in Nuclear Science or Engineering
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Public Health Service - Commissioned Officers Association For Outstanding Projects in Health-related Research
  • Lindsey Fernandez '10 for her engineering project "Improving Classification Accuracies in Pattern Recognition Based Myoelectric Control (or Optimizing Input Analysis To Improve Classification Accuracies In Pattern Recognition Based Myoelectric Control)"
    • Honorable Mention, Engineering category
    • 2nd Place ($50 and Invitation to dinner), American Society of Mechanical Engineers For Outstanding Demonstration of the Principles and Practices of Mechanical Engineering
    • Winner ($50), Office of Naval Research For Achievement in Science or Technology
    • Winner, Optical Society of America, National Capital Section For Notable Achievement in the Optical Sciences
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Army - Research Office For Scientific Excellence
  • Anand Oza '10, Rohan Puttagunta '10, and Nils Molina '10 for their mathematics project "Sane Bounds On Van Der Waerden-type Numbers"
    • 2nd Place, Mathematics category ($100)
    • Winner, Mu Alpha Theta For Challenging, Original, Thorough and Creative Investigation of Problems Involving Modern Mathematics
  • Conway Xu '10 for his medicine and health project "Genomic Analysis of Metabolic Pathways Involved in Cobalamin Assimilation, Branched Chain Amino Acid Oxidation, and Biotin Metabolism"
    • 2nd Place, Medicine and Health category ($100)
    • Winner (Invitation to Awards Ceremony and Tour of CIA Headquarters), Central Intelligence Agency For Projects in Technologies of National Interest
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Army - Research Office For Scientific Excellence
  • Melodi Anahtar '12 for her medicine and health project "Identifying Differences in Gene Expression Profiles In Normal and Cancerous Breast Tissue"
    • Honorable Mention, Medicine and Health category
    • 1st Place ($125 and Invitation to Meeting to Present), American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Potomac Section For Achievements in Projects Demonstrating Excellent Industrial Hygiene Practice or Technology
    • Winner, Graduate Women in Science For Students Demonstrating Excellence in the Sciences
  • Kamal Ndousse '10 for his physics project "The Baryon Mass In The Large Nc And Heavy Quark Limits"
    • 2nd Place, Physics category ($100)
    • Winner ($50), Office of Naval Research For Achievement in Science or Technology
    • 1st Place, U.S. Army - Research Office For Scientific Excellence
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Public Health Service - Commissioned Officers Association For Outstanding Projects in Health-related Research
  • Justin Yu '12 for his physics project "Characterization Of Iron Bearing Oxides For Rust Detection In Reinforced Concrete Structures"
    • Honorable Mention, Physics category
    • 5th Place, American Nuclear Society; Washington, DC Section For Outstanding Achievement in Projects in Nuclear Physics and Technology
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission For Outstanding Projects in Nuclear Science or Engineering
  • Shilpa Kannan '11 for her medicine and health project "A Novel In Vitro Model Of Mmp-2 Induction During Hypoxia For Ischemia Treatment"
    • 1st Place (6-week Paid Internship at MedImmune, $100 and a plaque) MedImmune Advancing Science for Better Health Award Best Individual Project with Biological Relevance to the Causes, Treatment and Prevention of Human Disease, Exemplifying Values Core to MedImmune Philosophy; High Integrity, Strong Work Ethic, Entrepreneurial Spirit and Collaboration
    • Winner, Society for In Vitro Biology For 11th Grade Projects Demonstrating Excellent Research in Plant or Animal in vitro Biology or Tissue Culture
    • Honorable Mention, U.S. Public Health Service - Commissioned Officers Association For Outstanding Projects in Health-related Research
A big thank-you goes to Ms. Duval, Ms. Ragan and all the Magnet teachers for guiding students through the research process.
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