Catholic school students excel at L.A. County Science Fair
Science students from Catholic schools examined behavioral sciences, dabbled in chemistry and explored engineering in preparation for the 62nd annual Los Angeles County Science Fair held March 29-31 at the Pasadena Convention Center — and many came home big winners in the event featuring both junior high and high school competitions.
Christopher Sercel, St. Francis High School (La Canada) junior, received the prestigious Earthwatch Award. The Earthwatch Summer Expedition allows students to spend two weeks working with top scientists learning field research and helping to find answers to challenging environmental issues.
Matthew Arnall, eighth grader from St. Monica Academy (Pasadena), won a first place in Physics with his project entitled “Using Wave Refraction to Identify Unknown Materials.” He also received special awards from Broadcam Masters and the Office of Naval Research.
St. Martin of Tours (Brentwood) seventh grader Sean McGovern won a first place medal in Animal Physiology for his project, “"Do You Get a Buzz Out of Exercise? The Effect of Physical Activity and Exercise on Hand Steadiness.” Lauren Weetman, eighth grader, won second place in Product Science for “Electrolyzed Water: Cleaning Our Environment into a Better Future? The Study of the Electrolysis of Water.”
Marco de Cardenas, St. Martin of Tours sixth grader, won third place in Animal Biology for “Is a Dog's Mouth Cleaner Than a Human's?”
Holy Trinity (San Pedro) sixth grader Anthony Stenzel won first place in Environmental Management for “The Biochemical Oxygen Demand Dilemma: What can we do to get more DO?” He also received a special award from National Geographic School Publishing.
St. John Fisher School (Rancho Palos Verdes) had several wins this year. Eighth grader Will Abele received first place in Pharmacology with “Fisher Dissolution Resolution: How Do Beverages Affect the Speed of Dissolution of Pain Relievers?”
And sixth grader Bridgette Macmillan won in Plant Biology with “An Investigation on the Effect of Different Concentrations of Gibberellic Acid on Spinach.”
Alastair Macmillan, eighth grader, won second place in Mathematics & Computer Sciences for “Solving Polynomials: A Multifaceted Approach by Computer.” He also received a special award from Texas Instruments.
St. John Fisher seventh grader Annie Benedict won second place in Physics-Aerodynamics/Hydrodynamics for “Effect of Cavern Depth on Water Ejection From a Simulated Oceanic Blowhole,” and received a special award from the Association for Women Geoscientists.
Christopher Isozaki, St. John Fisher sixth grader, won second place in Environmental Management for “Earthquake Safety Desk.” He received a special award from ASM Materials Education Foundation, and received the James E. Roberts Award of Excellence ($1,000) from Professional Engineers in California Government.
Nativity School’s (Torrance) team of sixth graders Jacen Castillo and Sophia Dela Pena earned second place in Animal Physiology for “A Window to a Spider,” and Sandy Ryan was second in Physics-Electricity/Magnetism with “Shaking Up Some Energy.”
Sage Strieker, seventh grader from St. Timothy (West L.A.), won second place in Environmental Management for “Murky Waters: The Impact of Oil Spills and Oil Spill Cleanup Dispersants on Gulf Coast Mangrove Habitats.” She also won a special award from Southern California Paleontological Society.
Ramona Convent Secondary School (Alhambra) earned several third place medals. Daniella Valenzuela eighth grade, won in Behavioral Sciences-Non-Human with “The Effect of the Color of Flowers on Ladybugs’ Behavior.” Carina Aguirre, senior, won in Environmental Management for “Compost,” and received a Special Award from the Southern California Horticultural Society. Ileana Vasquez, eighth grader won in Pharmacology for her project titled “The Effect of Pill Coatings on Solubility.”
Seventh grader Zack Sercel of St. Bede the Venerable (La Canada) won first place in Chemistry for his project, “Solubility and Burn Rate of Nitrocellulose as a Function of Nitration Time.” Gabriella Lopez, eighth grade, won third place in Microbiology with “The Five–Second Rule Safe or Sorry?”
Russell Sobota, tenth grader from St. Francis High School, won second place in Engineering Research for “Power Output of Hydrogen and Gasoline Fueled Internal Combustion Engines.” Senior Delfin Acosta received a third place medal in Physics for “The Effects of Gases on Solar Water Heaters.”
Noah LaBella, seventh grader from St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Encino), won a second place medal in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology with “Identifying Family Through Fingerprints.”
Breann Garcia, eighth grader at Holy Name of Mary (San Dimas), received a third place medal in Earth/Space Sciences for “Liquefaction: Soils in Motion: How Earthquakes Affect Soil Stability.” She also received a special award from National Geographic Publishing.
Sixth grader Anna de la Rosa from Our Lady of Refuge (Long Beach), won third place in Plant Biology with “Eggcellent Eggshells: How Eggshells Affect Plant Growth.”
Erik Godlewski, eighth grader from St. Anastasia (Westchester), won third place in Product Science with “It Burns! Do Our Clothes Protect our Skin from Harmful Ultraviolet Rays?”
Honorable Mention medals were also awarded to some 45 students from archdiocesan schools. First, second and third place winners will compete in the California State Science Fair scheduled April 30-May 1 at the California Science Center, and two winners will represent Los Angeles County at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair, May 13-18 in Pittsburgh.
The Los Angeles County Science Fair is the oldest and largest regional science fair in the Western United States, with 1,100 students competing in this year’s fair.
Prayer of the MonthPapal intentions for November: That priests who experience difficulties may find comfort in their suffering, support in their doubts, and confirmation in their fidelity. That as fruit of the continental mission, Latin American Churches may send missionaries to other Churches.
Papal intentions for December: That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.