LAPS Students Heading To Regional Science Fair

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Lillian Petersen and Garyk Brixi were named Grand Award in the Environmental Science Senior Division for their project, “A Novel Computational Tool to Inform Cost-Effective Nutrition Interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa”. They will next compete at the Northeastern New Mexico Regional Science & Engineering Fair on March 2 at New Mexico Highlands University. Photo Courtesy LAPS


Los Alamos Public Schools is sending 50 students to the Northeastern New Mexico Regional Science & Engineering Fair on March 2 at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM. Students qualified for the regional science fair after placing 1st, 2nd, 3rd    or honorable mention in the Junior and Senior divisions of their respective categories at the Los Alamos District Science Fair held last month.

Juniors Lillian Petersen and Garyk Brixi received the Grand Award in the Environmental Science Senior Division for their project, “A Novel Computational Tool to Inform Cost-Effective Nutrition Interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa”.  Charles “Shelby” Strauss, LAHS 11th grader, received the Grand Award in the Microbiology Senior Division for his presentation on “Protein Function Prediction by Artificial Intelligence”.

In the Junior Division, Sonja Ebey, an 8th grader at Los Alamos Middle School, received the Grand Award in Mathematics for her project titled “Non-Identical Triplets”. Conlan Wilds-Rivera, also an 8th grader at LAMS, received the Grand Award in the Microbiology Junior Division  for his project titled “Evolving Euglenas”.

Linnhtet Htoon, a 6th grader at Piñon, received the Superintendent’s Award for his project “What Makes a Pendulum Swing and a Newton Cradle Tick?”. Nicholas Sawyer, an 8th grader at Los Alamos Middle School, received the Superintendent’s Award for his project “Can you Make a House be Earthquake Resistant?”

Over 200 students representing the district’s five elementary, middle school and high school participated in the District Science Fair.

Eva Abeyta, District Science Fair Coordinator, was pleased with the results of the District Science Fair and is looking forward to the competition at the next level.  “The level of research and hard work that students put into their projects is amazing,” she said. “Their curiosity and dedication to science is evident in the end product. I am proud of all our students who participated, and who are headed to the next level.”

Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said, “I am always amazed at the quality and level of research that our students put into their projects. I am looking forward to seeing LAPS students at the regional science fair next month, and wish them the best.”

There were also 17 students at the elementary level who received top awards at the District Science Fair.

Here are the results from the District Science Fair:

Animal Science

Junior Division

1st: Zoe Bent, Chamisa Elementary, “Picky Picky Birds”

2nd: Betty Kang and Andrea Chapman, LAMS, “Would a Dog be able to Recognize and Choose a Favorite Color?”

3rd: Moses Herring, Mountain, “Dogs vs. Man”

Senior Division

1st: Karin Ebey, LAHS, “Modeling the Effects of Invasive Species on Crocodilian Populations”

Behavioral & Social Science

Junior Division

1st: Elise Ovaska, LAMS, “Overthinking Everything”

2nd: Madelyn Crotzer, LAMS, “Blue Light? Sleep Tight?”

3rd: Heidi Sheppard, LAMS, “Fears and Phobias”

Honorable Mention: Katie Petersen, Mountain, “How Easy is it to Read Simplified Spelling”


Junior Division

1st: Rebeca Rocha, LAMS, “What Affects the Rates of Enzyme Catalyzed Reactions”

2nd: Rachel Cox, Piñon, “What Drink Stains your Teeth the Worst”

3rd: Fayrouz Mourad, LAMS, “The Science of Food Preservation”

3rd: Kieran Vigil, Aspen, “Penny Plates”

Honorable Mention: Kevin Dupree, LAMS, “Bubble-ology”

Honorable Mention: Anya Manzanares, LAMS, “Egg Substitutes”

Honorable Mention: Kate Obrey, Barranca Mesa, “What is the Solubility of Household Items to Vinegar?”

Computer Science


1st: Allen Brayden, Piñon, “Using Raspberry Pi to Optimize Plant Growth”

1st: Ming-Yvan Lo, LAMS, “Solving Chess Puzzles”

2nd: Alexander Livescu, LAMS, “Adventures in Quantum Computing: Breaking the Unbreakable”

Honorable Mention: Quinton Geller, LAMS, “Boosting WiFi with a Parabolic Reflector”

Computer Science


1st: Nilesh Mukundan, LAHS, “There’s an App for That?”

1st: Elijah Pelofske, LAHS, “Using QAOA to Solve NP-Hard Problems on NISQ Devices”

Earth Science


1st: Maclain Griffin, Chamisa, “A Meteorite Hit my House (and I lived to tell it)”

2nd: Thomas Trujillo, Barranca Mesa, “ Cleaning Up Dirty Oceans”

3rd: Asher Koh, Homeschool, “Glacier vs. River”

Honorable Mention: Rachel Bartram’s 2nd Grade Class Project, Aspen, “Erosion”


1st: Yunseo Kim, LAMS, “Global Warming and Your Health”

2nd: Veronica Parra, LAMS, “What is the Radius of the Earth’s Core?”

3rd: Minhtet Htoon, LAMS, “Tornado in a Cup”

3rd: Andrew Morgan, Barranca Mesa, “Computer Science Artificial Intelligence”

Honorable Mention: Eliza Lamborn, LAMS, “Best Solar Oven”



1st: Robert Strauss, LAHS, “Tsimulating Tsunamis: Investigating the Palu Quake”

2nd: Christie Djidjev, LAHS, “Ice vs. Water: Estimating Ice Shelf Melt Rates”



1st: Sevanna Swanson, LAMS, “The Claw In 3D”

2nd: David Reichhardt, Mountain, “Robustness on Lego Bridges”

3rd: Zachary Sheats, Piñon, “Getting Into Shape”

Honorable Mention: William Borovina, Mountain, “The Search is Over Metal Mayhem”

Environmental Science


1st: Annabella Rosette, Barranca Mesa, “How Will Feeding Earthworms Different Diets Affect Their Growth?”

2nd: Daniel Gorovina, LAMS, “Water From Thin Air”

3rd: Nicholas McGrane, LAMS, “Why Does Dust Float?”

Honorable Mention: Beste Zeytun, “The Fire Bubble : Saving the Environment One-by-One”


1st , Grand: Lillian Petersen and Garyk Brixi, “A Novel Computational Tool to Inform Cost-Effective Nutrition Interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa”

Life Science


1st, Grand: Nishta Mukundan, Aspen, “To Kill or Not to Kill”

2nd: Ayva Preston, Aspen, “Using Thieves Oil to Kill Bacteria”

3rd: Henry Stidham, Mountain, “Is Vinegar a Killer?”

Honorable Mention: John Counce, Barranca Mesa, “The Fast Work of the Pancreas”

Honorable Mention: Ruwaida El-Atwani, Aspen, “Why We Should Avoid Daily Products That Have Sodium Benzoate”



1st, Grand: Sonja Ebey, LAMS, “Non-Identical Triplets”

2nd: Kalem Smith, LAMS, “Rubix Cube Solving Algorithms”

3rd: Julian Singell, LAMS, “Are New Hire Employees Capabilities Accurately Evaluated During the Hiring Process?

Honorable Mention: Zachary Long, Barranca Mesa, “How Random Are Dice?”

Medicine and Health


1st: Mikaela Brown, LAMS, “I love dairy, why doesn’t it love me?”

2nd: Taylor Kanzleiter, LAMS, “Mutations and Medicines: The effect of genes on drug efficacy”

3rd: Nuala Colgan, Barranca Mesa, “Who’s Fingernails Grow Fastest?”

Honorable Mention: Jodie Green, LAMS, “Can’t Believe My Eyes!”



1st , Grand: Conlan Wilds-Rivera, LAMS, “Evolving Euglenas”

2nd: Molly Couture, Barranca Mesa, “Yeast Fermentation in Different Types of Bread Flours”

3rd: Tirryn Sutherland, Barranca Mesa, “Hand Washing Without Antibacterials”

Honorable Mention: Marcos Martinez, Barranca Mesa, “Bacteria Wars”


1st, Grand: Charles Strauss, LAHS, “Protein Function Prediction by Artificial Intelligence”

Physical Science


1st, Grand: Angus Smith, Mountain, “The Speed of Sound”

2nd, Grand: Ciara NiCheamaigh, Aspen, “That’s a ‘Whole’ Lot of Water!”

3rd: Jamie Grow, Aspen, “Dropping Darts”

Grand: Stacey Martens’ Class #3, “Ice, Ice, Baby”

Grand: Heidi Schembri, Kindergarten Class Project, Barranca Mesa, “Rocking Robots”

Honorable Mention: Thomas Daligault, Barranca Mesa, “Turn Milk Into Plastic”

Honorable Mention: John Kang, Barranca Mesa, “Safer, More Effective & Environmentally Friendly Liquid”

Honorable Mention: Aislim Marshall, Mountain, “Playing with Sound Materials and Sound Absorption”

Physics & Astronomy


1st: Mikey Bane, Aspen, “Aerofoil Efficiency”

2nd: Katie Crooker, LAMS, “Why does my hot cocoa make such unusual sounds?”

3rd, Super: Linnhtet Htoon, Piñon, “What makes a Pendulum Swing and a Newton Cradle Tick?”

Honorable Mention: Natalie Crawford, Mountain, “Balloon vs. The Elements”


1st: Phillip Ionkov, LAHS, “Experimentally Validation“

Plant Science


1st: Peter Rademacher, LAMS, “Does Trash Affect the Growth of Plants?”


1st: Anna Abeyta, LAHS, “The Study of Spinal Muscular Atrophy and the Survival of Motor Neuron in Arabidopsis”