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Kids in the news: DHS students excel in science and engineering fair

By April 4, 2011

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DHS junior Clara Fannjiang was awarded the Sacramento Regional Science and Engineering Fair’s grand prize. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

For the third year in a row, a Davis High School student has taken first place in the Sacramento Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

DHS junior Clara Fannjiang was awarded the fair’s grand prize for her project, “The Effects of Sample Distribution on Radio Interferometry by Compressed Sensing,” which studied a new approach for transmitting images from space via radio sensors that require less data. The project also took first place in the math and computer sciences division at the fair.

Meanwhile, DHS senior Peter Wang won third place overall for his project, “Synthesis and Characterization of Stable Solid Lipid Nanoparticles,” which investigated the potential for tiny particles to carry medicine or imaging particles across the blood-brain barrier and into the brain itself. His project was named the top engineering project at the fair.

Now both students, by virtue of finishing in the top three overall, advance to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May, where they will compete against hundreds of students from all over the world.

Not heading to Los Angeles, but recognized for their excellent work nonetheless, were three other Davis students. Katie Shao of Davis High took first place in the chemistry and health sciences division at the Sacramento fair and classmate Amanda Chen took second in the same division. Aditya Sundaresan of Da Vinci High School won second place in the biological sciences division.

More than 400 students from a nine-county region competed in the Sacramento regional fair March 18-19 at Rosemont High School.

This is the third year in a row that a Davis student has won first place overall at the regional fair. Then-DHS student Madeline Sides was the champion last year with classmate Angela Yeung taking second. The year before that, it was Yeung taking first.

In winning this year’s title, Fannjiang used elements of the linear algebra class she took at UC Davis last summer. She said the greatest hurdle was the computer programming required, “because I knew nothing about it. But it was pretty straightforward.”

She was supported by her father, Albert Fannjiang, a math professor at UCD, and DHS science teacher Ann Moriarty.

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A team of Da Vinci High School students and their teacher were recognized for their entry in the “Caring for Our Watersheds” contest.

Jasmin Castellano, Alexandria Wolf and Nora Kasapligil were recognized for their project, “Saving the Chinook Salmon.” Da Vinci teacher Bekah Rottenberg also was recognized.

Sponsored by Agrium Inc., the environmental contest featured more than 150 proposals from high school students who answered the question, “What can you do to improve your watershed?” Students researched their local watershed, identified an environmental concern and came up with a realistic solution.

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

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