Lab-sponsored science fair winners take home awards at international and state competitions

June 1, 2009

Lab-sponsored science fair winners take home awards at international and state competitions

Two senior sweepstakes winners of the 2009 Tri-Valley Science & Engineering Fair (TVSEF) sponsored by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in March attended the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2009 (Intel ISEF), held May 10-15, in Reno.

In addition, two junior sweepstakes winners competed at the 58th annual California State Science Fair held May 18-19, in Los Angeles.

Harikrishna Rallapalli, an 11th grade student from Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, picked up multiple awards for his project entitled, “Fast Low-Cost Bisphenol-A (BPA) Detector." His awards included: a tuition scholarship valued at $150,000 from Drexel University; a special award of $25,000 from Agilent Technologies; and a $1,000 cash award and third place in the physics category.

Also competing at the Intel ISEF was Vicki Hsieh, a 12th grade student from San Ramon's California High School who will major in biochemistry at UC Berkeley in the fall.

The annual Intel ISEF, now in its 60th year, is the world's largest pre-college celebration of science. Students compete for scholarships, tuition grants, internships, scientific field trips, and the grand prize - a $50,000 college scholarship. This year's event drew more than 1,500 students from 56 countries with more than 1,200 projects (students have the option of working in teams).

At the California State Science Fair, Carina Salcedo, an eighth-grade student from the Livermore Valley Charter School in Livermore won third place in the applied mechanics and structures category for her project, “Feeding My Flock.”

Sumana Rallapalli, an eighth-grade student from Pleasanton Middle School, Pleasanton, won honorable mention in the materials science category for her project, “Tribo-Light AM: Continuous Triboluminescence and Radio Emission from a Safe, Portable, Low-Cost Generator.” Sumana is the sister of Harikrishna Rallapalli who competed at the Intel Fair.

In addition, Susan Johnston, a teacher from the Livermore Valley Charter School in Livermore, was selected as the California State Science Fair Teacher of the Year.

This year, the California State Science Fair, geared for sixth- through eighth-grade students, hosted 965 participants from 374 schools throughout the State, who competed for awards totaling over $50,000.

Nadine Horner, TVSEF director said, “I am very proud of all four students and am especially happy about the well-deserved recognition given to teacher Sue Johnston. Sue personifies the level of passion that our science teachers have in preparing their students for the TVSEF.”

The students that compete at our regional level are judged by the best scientists in their fields from the Lawrence Livermore Lab and other science organizations in the Bay Area. When our students go on to compete on a worldwide or state level they are well prepared for the challenge.”

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.