Last week the 56th Annual California State Science Fair was held on 5/21 and the 5/22 in Los Angeles. Several high school and junior high students were there representing Santa Barbara County, and taking home awards and honorable mentions.
From La Colina Junior High, Rafael Zarate took 4th place in Cognitive Science, Ken Farris took 4th place in Earth and Planetary Sciences, and Johnny L. Manzo received an honorable mention in Electronics and Electromagnetics. From Goleta Valley Junior High, Nolan H. Poe took 4th place in Mathematics and Software, Connor M. Lynch received an honorable mention in Applied Mechanics and Structures, and Marina D. Plesons received an honorable mention in Microbiology. Finally, from San Marcos High School, Esther Flores took 2nd place in the Zoology category.
Not too shabby, considering these seven were just a few of the winners chosen from the 969 students who participated this year. Their projects are incredibly thorough, and light-years ahead of the old vinegar-and-baking-soda-volcanoes that used to pass as legitimate science experiments. Each student created a project of intricate detail – like Flores’ study of the effects of acanthocephalan parasites on the Pacific mole crab. Some projects have very real implications for our legal system, like Zarate’s study on how age and gender affect a person’s ability to decode hidden images in optical illusions. Others are strikingly creative, like Poe’s experiment to see if a robot could theoretically balance on two wheels.
Congratulations to all these students for putting their minds to work and their schools on the map.