Senior Science EXPO 2019

Women Stand Out at Senior Science EXPO
Posted on 01/23/2019

Nastassja Martin with her projectPundits and newspapers often bemoan the lack of women in science-related professions, but the future is bright -- at least if the results of this year's Rio Rancho Public Schools Senior Science EXPO are any indication.

The two top projects, both in the Medicine and Health category, were prepared by female researchers.  Rio Rancho High junior Nastassja Martin's project, "Effects of Makuna Honey on Prodigiosin Production in Serratia Marcesces Bacteria," (shown at top right)  

Naomi Armstead and Lillian Elam with their project

explored an odd result from a previous year's research -- one of her cultures unexpectedly turned pink -- that may provide a clue to bacterial disease processes.  Cleveland High's Naomi Armstead and Lillian Elam (shown at left) took on a hot topic on high school campuses these days with their project, "Escape the Dangers of Vape."  

Wesley Smith explains his project to a judgeMore than 170 projejects were prepared this year by individual students and student teams from Rio Rancho High and Cleveland High.  Students choose a topic of interest to them, develop a testable question about that topic, gather and analyze data, and prepare materials reporting their results. They then must explain and defend their project and results to the judges. 

Miranda Rivera and Natalie Zannino with their projectSome of the results can have immediate practical application for all us non-scientists.  One eye-catching top project earning a first place award was "Stop Throwing Away Your Dryer Lint," prepared by Miranda Rivera and Natalie Zannino from Cleveland High.  Turns out, that stuff you've been chucking out in the trash is a great oil absorbent for sopping up those greasy kitchen and garage messes.  Who knew?  

Students and projects at the Senior Science EXPOThe Science EXPO program helps students develop critical thinking skills by researching topics in a variety of academic disciplines. Many students apply the principles and protocols of scientific inquiry to solving real-world problems in art and music, sports, business, the humanities, and other academic areas. Projects are judged in categories including Behavioral and Social Sciences, Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Energy and Transportation, Engineering, Environmental, Earth, and Space Science, Mathematics, Medicine and Health, and Physics and Astronomy.

Students compete for prizes and the opportunity to participate in the Central New Mexico Science and Engineering Challenge, the regional-level science and engineering competition. From there, students can move on to state and international competition.