May 17, 2006
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LLNL-sponsored science fair winners take home awards at Intel international fair

Two senior sweepstakes winners of the 2006 Tri-Valley Science & Engineering Fair, sponsored by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in March, have won awards in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in Indianapolis from May 8 to 12.

Mina Bionta, a 12th grade student from Livermore High School, won a Government Award from the Office of Naval Research on behalf of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The award, an $8,000 scholarship to a school of her choice, was presented for her project, "Measuring Long-Term Trends in the San Francisco Bay Delta Using Satellite Imagery." In addition, her project took third place in the earth sciences category, garnering a $1,000 cash prize. Bionta will attend Stanford University in the fall, majoring in physics.

Bionta attends Livermore High’s Regional Occupational Program (ROP), where she studies advanced placement environmental science with teacher and mentor Sarah Palmer, Ph.D. "Mina is very bright," Palmer said. "She takes something and makes it uniquely her own. She is willing to share her ideas."

Farnoosh Nik-Ahd, an 11th grade student from California High School in San Ramon, picked up an Organizational Special Award from Agilent Technologies – a paid summer internship at an Agilent site – for her project, "Role of Keratin Mutations as Susceptibility Genes for Liver Disease in Afro-Americans." Nik-Ahd’s mentor is Dr. Pavel Strnad of Stanford University and Veterans Administration Hospital, Palo Alto.

The annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, now in its 57th year, brings together some of world’s most accomplished high school science students. This year’s event drew 1,497 students from the United States and 47 foreign countries. Competition is intense, with 27 percent of the projects garnering awards.

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