The awards, instituted in 2004 in honor of the late Dr. Teller, renowned physicist and Lab co-founder, are given annually by the Laboratory to graduating seniors who excel in science studies.
This year's award winners from the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District are Tsuyoshi Anthony Kohlgruber from Livermore High School and Uzair Mohammad from Granada High School. The Tracy Unified School District winners are Marcus Graves of West High School, Clifford Liu of Tracy High School and Shelpreet Kaur of Kimball High School. Each receives a scholarship of $1,000 toward a college education.
Kohlgruber's networking abilities with regional high schools has allowed him to further his involvement in ocean conservation. He participated in the Science Bowl and served as team captain his senior year. His team placed in the top six among 20 schools at the Regional Science Bowl. He also was a member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium ONE (Oceans Need Everyone) Teen Summit and shared Livermore High School's eco-friendly projects with other schools. In addition, he conducted a cost-benefit analysis of photovoltaic installations at Livermore High School. Kohlgruber will attend the University of California Santa Barbara, where he will study chemistry.
Mohammad began conducting research in middle school, winning awards for many of his projects at local and regional science fairs. His projects include finding optimal angles for wind turbine blades for maximum energy generation; how to make magnetic brakes more efficient; and inventing a device to generate electricity and produce a solar panel that uses hydrolyzed ATP molecules. Mohammad will attend the University of California San Diego to study bioengineering.
Graves excelled in engineering during his four years at West High School's Space and Engineering Academy. His projects included payload-carrying model rockets and maze-running robots. He was among 400 high school students chosen from across the United States to participate in the National Defense and Intelligence Forum in Washington, D.C. He will attend California State University Fresno to study computer engineering. His career goal is to work for NASA.
Liu received straight A's in all his science courses. As a member of the school's Scientifically Speaking program he presented science topics to elementary students. This year, he took part in Lawrence Livermore's Science on Saturday lecture series, assisting scientist Sat Pannu and Tracy High School teacher Kirk Brown in a presentation about artificial retinas. For his biotechnology class he conducted research projects including identification of meat contamination in foods. He will attend the University of California San Diego to study biochemistry.
Kaur is a member of the first graduating class of Tracy's Kimball High School, which opened in 2009. She has excelled in all her coursework and has taken seven science courses including biology, chemistry, health science occupations, human physiology, biology, chemistry and physics. In addition, she has volunteered at a local post acute care facility and Sutter Tracy Community Hospital. Kaur attended the Lead America Medical Conference at UC Berkeley and will attend the University of California Los Angeles, where she will study biology. She hopes to become an obstetrician.
Thomas Gioconda, Richard Farnsworth, Scott Wilson and Linda Lucchetti of LLNL presented the awards to the students at the high schools' awards ceremonies.