Mountain House High students Jacqueline and Jordan Prawira are heading for international science and technology competition after each claimed first place in the 70th California Science and Engineering Fair. Judging for the CSEF, which was held as a virtual science fair this year, was on April 13 and the awards were announced on April 21.
“Each year, Jordan and I have been heading to Los Angeles for the state-level competition as part of a memorable learning journey,” Jaqueline said in an email message. “Especially this year with the pandemic, conducting our experiments has been challenging, but it pushed us even more. Even though we competed virtually, nevertheless, we would describe this year's experience as the best one ever!”
Jacqueline, a junior at Mountain House High, won the top Environmental Engineering, Senior Division Award with her project Cyclo.Plas 2. She used the bio-chemical characteristics of fish scales, calcium salts and collagen to create a type of biodegradable plastic. She compared the strength, flexibility and transparency of her composite to low-density polyethylene (LDPE), one of the most commonly used types of plastics, and showed that unlike LDPE it will decompose in soil after 8 weeks.
In addition to the $500 cash prize for winning first place, she also received the $5,000 prize for Project of the Year, Senior Division, plus a $2,000 special award from the Cheryl Saban Self-Worth Foundation for Women and Girls.
Jordan, a freshman at Mountain House High, won first place in Applied Mechanics and Structures, Senior Division, for his project, Spira Aer, a hurricane-inspired logarithmic spiral fan design for HVAC system applications. His design creates higher pressure and efficiency compared with propeller-style fans and can save 30% to 50% in energy costs.
His first-place award included a $500 cash prize, and he also received a special award of $1,500 from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Their success at the state level, including two of three grand prizes at the Sacramento Regional Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair in March gained them both invitations to the 2021 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, to be held May 3 to 6 via video conference.
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