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SAS Students Take Top Honors at Regional Science Fair

April, 2010
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Five Shanghai American School students presented 27 projects at the Tianjin Regional International Science and Engineering Fair held at the Tianjin International School on March 24.sas-tianjin-science-1s
SAS competitors Christina Wang and Nelson Zhang, who entered the event for the 2nd year, repeated their success with gold medal superior projects and the two best individual projects of the show, earning the opportunity to represent Shanghai American School (SAS) as part of the Sichuan regional team delegation to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair being held this year May 9-14 in San Jose, California. Nelson also earned a special award from the Mu Alpha Theta Society for Best Use of Mathematics in a project.
First-time competitor Charlotte Zhu was honored with a gold medal superior project and runner-up to Nelson’s and Christina’s projects as the third best individual project of the show. First-time competitors Leah Fang and Kevin Xin earned silver medal awards of excellence.
Their projects spanned the three major disciplines of physics, biology, and computer science.
In physics, Charlotte Zhu compared two methods of testing for breaks in kilometers-long fiber optic cable networks. In biology, Leah Fang used spectrophotometry and gel electrophoresis to determine differences in amount and quality of proteins in eggs from organic, free-range, and caged hens. Kevin Xin showed that antibiotic resistance can be passed between different strands of bacteria by the process of conjugation. Christina Wang developed techniques to measure amounts of metabolic products of bacteria affecting the formation of bacteria’s biofilms, a bacterial grouping that increases bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics or its ability to cause disease. In computer science, Nelson Zhang created a computer program that categorizes relationships between ideas in ways that humans do. Future applications may include new types of interfaces that collect information in different ways than using a screen and keyboard.
Projects are discussed with judges and students were judged on creativity, soundness of methods and analysis, and coherence of oral presentation.Students were asked, “From the science fair experience, what did you learn about yourself or what are you really happy about?”
Kevin Xin said, “Throughout the experiment I was able to learn how to create my own problem which I had to decide how to find the experimental answer.”Nelson Zhang remarked, “A lot of the judges had backgrounds in computer science this year, so it was cool to discuss my project with them at a high level.”Leah reflected, “I was able to present the side of myself that showed my ability to independently complete a science project and present it publicly.”
Regional and national science fairs around the world encourage students to conduct science research, provide a forum for students interested in the excitement of experimental inquiry, and give opportunities to compete for over $4 million USD in prizes and scholarships at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held annually in the United States.


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