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Juan Diego Leads Way At Salt Lake Valley Science, Engineering Contests

Apr 17, 2015 05:13PM ● Published by Julie Slama

Juan Diego Catholic High School students celebrate their success at the recent Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair at the awards ceremony. Photo courtesy of Molly Dumas

Juan Diego Catholic High School lead Draper schools in the senior division of the Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair at the awards ceremony March 27.

Junior Alex George-Kennedy was among the grand prize winners, who will represent Utah at the International Science and Engineering Fair May 10-16 in Pittsburgh. He placed second in the computer science category with his project, “Binary Classification of fMRI Data to Diagnose Patients with Autism Spectra Disorder.” He also won the Intel Excellence in Computer Science Award and received an $80,000 scholarship to Westminster College.

The Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair, which was held March 24-26 at the University of Utah, invited students attending public schools in grades five through 12 in the Salt Lake, Granite, Park City, Murray, Canyon and Tooele school districts who won their school or district science fairs. Charter and private school students also were welcomed to compete.

Also receiving honors for Juan Diego is Rex Alley, who placed first in chemistry, received the Yale Science and Engineering Association Award and U.S. Air Force Award and a $1,000 scholarship to Westminster; Michael Enda, who received a $1,000 scholarship to Westminster; David Fenton, who placed second in the microbiology category and received a $1,000 scholarship to Westminster; Gabe Freeman, who was first in biochemistry and was extended a $1,000 scholarship to Westminster; Kevin Furukawa, who received a $1,000 scholarship to Westminster; Connor Helgeson, who received the Surgeon General Special Science Award and a $1,000 scholarship to Westminster; AJ Toledo, who placed third in biochemistry and was offered a $1,000 scholarship to Westminster; and Amber Wolff, who won a $1,000 scholarship to Westminster.

A Channing Hall team of seventh-graders, Timothy Dixon, Patrick Hoopes and Garrett Warr, received second-place trophies in environmental management and $25 each for their project, “WiFi Blockers.”

“People are reliant on using WiFi,” Timothy said. “We use it for our homework and there are only a certain number of people who can be on it at the same time at school. It’s really crippling if it’s not available, so we decided to make sure it’s not blocked with common items at our school or at homes and also how to be able to block outside hackers from gaining access.”

The team placed a phone on a tripod. Then, they wrapped the phone in different materials, such as tin foil, cling wrap, cardboard and Sytrofoam, and used an application to test the WiFi upload and download speed with each material.

“We found out that aluminum foil blocks WiFi the best, but it would be interesting to experiment with other materials like water to see those results,” he said.

Channing Hall also had the team of Megan Astle, Jason Harmon and Katie Reading as well as the team of Matt Geerlings, Lane Harris and Collin Willey receive the 4-H Honorable Mention award.

Other local school award-winners include American Preparatory’s Tiara Tuttle, who placed second in behavioral and social sciences and has been invited to participate in the Broadcom Masters national fair; Eve Warner, who placed first in behavioral and social sciences and received the U.S. Air Force Junior Award and the Broadcom Masters invitation; Ellie Warner, who placed third in medicine and health sciences; Sophia Cuellar, who received honorable mention in biology and biochemistry and honorable mention for the National Center for Women and Information Technology award, and Milena Johnson, who placed second in animal sciences and received honorable mention for the National Center for Women and Information Technology award; and Mason Buxton, who received third in medicine and health sciences.

From St. John the Baptist, John Flanagan earned third place in earth and planetary science; and Sydney Ross received honorable mention for the National Center for Women and Information Technology award.   
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