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Breck students share passion for research at the International Science and Engineering Fair

Saturday, May 19, 2018

​Seven students from Breck School’s Advanced Science Research program were selected to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on May 13 through 18. More than 1,750 high school students representing almost 80 countries competed in this spectacular event.

Alexander Anderson, Louise Kim, Siyuan Ma, Cole Maxwell, Spencer Yueh, Samuel Aronson (alternate), and Alex Cheng (alternate) were selected to represent Minnesota at this event. ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition and annually provides a forum for students from around the world to showcase their independent research while competing for nearly $5 million in prizes.

All five competitors received awards and special recognition by the judges at the event:

  • Alexander Anderson '19 and Siyuan Ma '18 were recognized by the National Anti-Vivisection Society with 2nd Place Award and a $5,000 cash prize. Their project, “Holding Your Heart in Your Hand: 3D-Printing a Mechanically Accurate Aortic Valve Model” was found by judges to represent the best advancement in alternatives to the use of animals in research.
  • Cole Maxwell '18 won a Fourth Place Grand Award of $500 in the Biomedical and Health Sciences category. His project is titled “More than Skin Deep: Deciphering the Role of Bartonella henselae Infection in Melanoma Metastasis, Phase Two.”
  • Louise Kim ’19 and Spencer Yueh ’19 were awarded a Certificate of Honorable Mention by the American Psychological Association for their project titled “Unplugged: Quantifying the Effects of Technology on Adolescent Sleep and Mood.”

Reflecting on the experience, Alexander and Siyuan shared, “Participating at the Intel ISEF competition this week has been like no other. It has strengthened us both personally and as scientists. We are truly appreciative of all the doors this has opened for us. What we gained from this experience extends far beyond the scope of our research and will have a lasting impact on how we see our future. And most importantly, ISEF has taught us both how to be inspired, and how to inspire others. We will never forget this week.“

On public viewing day, competitors had the opportunity to share their research with over 4,000 students and teachers from Pittsburgh area schools. During judging, projects were evaluated by no less than eight professional judges who evaluated them based on scientific thought, originality, scientific understanding, and presentation ability.

At the beginning of the week Rosalind Hudnell, Intel Foundation, challenged the participants to think beyond barriers, “You will meet people from many countries and cultures during this action-packed week. Take this opportunity to look beyond your differences or language or appearance and find what brings you together. Whether you’re a fair director from Peru or a finalist from Guatemala, you can build relationships and foster community that will enrich your perspective.”

Among Breck’s signature programs is Advanced Science Research. The Advanced Science Research Program enables Upper School students to participate in professional research experiences and teaches them to effectively communicate their research to the larger community. Breck believes that the opportunity to do research and work with mentors will encourage talented students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

This program also serves to strengthen ties between the research community and Breck. The program combines a summer of in-depth university research followed by a seminar-style class at Breck in which participants work together on preparing written and oral presentations of their findings and enter appropriate competitions. ISEF is just one of the many competitions that students are encouraged to enter throughout the year, and the diversity of competitions and experiences gives students exposure to the research world and insight into future careers.

 

Breck students at ISEF

Cole Maxwell receives 4th place Grand Award

Siyuan Ma and Alexander Anderson 

Louise Kim and Spencer Yueh