Louisiana Teens Excel at 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

BATON ROUGE – Seven students representing six Louisiana high schools won awards at the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The six-day event, held May 14-19 in Pittsburgh, is the largest and most prestigious international high school STEM competition. Nearly 2,000 high school students, representing more than 75 countries, competed for approximately $5 million in prizes and scholarships.

Five Louisiana students received grand awards in the competition. Grand awards are given for projects considered by judges to be among the best within a specific category among the 22 recognized competition categories.

Anna Koonce, of St. Joseph’s Academy in Baton Rouge, La., received a third place award, carrying a monetary prize of $1,000, for her project, “Ecological Restoration Zones Within the Monkey River Area (Belize) Using Community Grown Nurseries to Produce Plants for Riparian Strips” in the plant sciences category.

Alexander Walker, of Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy in Avondale, La., won a third place award and a $1,000 prize in the energy: chemical category, for his project, “Sulfur-Deplete Cultivation of C. reinhardtii: A Novel Approach to Increasing the Cost-Efficiency of Green Hydrogen Fuel Production.”

Grace Karen Sun, Caddo Parish Magnet High School in Shreveport, La., won a fourth award and $500 cash prize in biochemistry with her project, “The Role of Autotaxin-LPA-LPP3 Axis in Ischemic Stroke.” She also won a third place special award from the American Physiological Society ($500).

Deepti Vaidyanathan, of Baton Rouge Magnet High School, won a fourth place award and $500 for her project, “Using Two-Mode-Squeezing for Room-Temperature Photon-Number-Resolving Detection” in the physics and astronomy category. The project was also awarded a second place special science security award ($1000) from the National Security Research Directorate.

Mary Lorio, of Saint Joseph’s Academy, Baton Rouge, La., won a fourth-place award and $500 for her physics and astronomy project, “A Novel Method for Simulating Diffracted Light.”

Four students won one or more special awards offered by agencies, institutions and corporations that seek to recognize excellent projects on topics that relate to their research interests, or to recognize special effort or project attributes. In addition to Grace Sun and Deepti Vaidyanathan, mentioned above, the Louisiana special award winners are listed below.

Sophia Patricia Zhou, a student at Lafayette High School in Youngsville, La., was awarded a special first award ($2,500) for projects in material science or engineering by the Arconic Foundation, for her project, “Trash to Treasure: Converting Aluminum Cans into a Valuable Additive for Li-S Batteries with an Unprecedented Performance.”  Zhou was also awarded a special award of $1,200 by the China Association for Science and Technology.

Anusha Zaman, of Baton Rouge Magnet High School, received a certificate of honorable mention from the American Statistical Association, for her project, “Health Effects of Electronic Cigarette Aerosols Induce on Murine Tissue.”

The participating students worked on their independent projects for months leading up to the event, competing in school-level and regional fairs on their way to ISEF.

Lisa Graves, director of the Louisiana Science & Engineering Fair, said, “These remarkable students present projects with truly innovative ideas, attacking complex problems in all areas of scientific inquiry. Many of them have received scholarship offers in recognition of their commitment to excellence. Involvement in science fairs gives them a platform to showcase their talents on a regional, state, and international level.”

More information on Intel ISEF and a complete list of winners can be found at https://student.societyforscience.org/intel-isef 

For more information on the Louisiana Science and Engineering fairs, visit LSU Continuing Education at www.outreach.lsu.edu/ScienceFair.

Special thanks go to LSU Continuing Education/LSEF, the Gulf South Rotating Machinery Symposium, LSU College of Engineering, LSU College of Science, LSU College of Agriculture, and the Baton Rouge Bone & Joint Clinic.

About LSU Continuing Education:
LSU Continuing Education acts as a leading university provider of educational outreach and engagement to help people achieve their goals and improve their quality of life, their organizations and their communities. Visit www.outreach.lsu.edu for more information.




Contact Lisa Graves
LSU Digital and Continuing Education


Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations