Ten Society for Science & the Public Science Fair Alumni Participate in the Second White House Science Fair

President Obama Praises the Next Generation of Innovators

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 7, 2012
Ten Society for Science & the Public (SSP) science fair alumni attended the second White House Science Fair today where President Obama honored winners of the nation’s top science competitions and viewed their award-winning projects.

All ten students earned recognition by at least one of SSP’s prestigious science education programs: the Intel® Science Talent Search®, the Intel® International Science and Engineering Fair®, or the Broadcom MASTERS®. The students invited to participate were Eta Atolia, 18, of Tallahassee, Florida; Marian Bechtel, 17, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania;  Emily Chen, 18, of Omaha, Nebraska; Tanner Coppin, 19, of  Hankinson, North Dakota; Taide Ding, 17, of Oxford, Mississippi; Samantha Garvey, 18, of Bay Shore, New York; Michelle Hackman, 18, of Great Neck, New York;  Benjamin Hylak, 14, of West Grove, Pennsylvania; Coleman Kendrick, 13, of Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Taylor Wilson, 17, of Reno, Nevada. Bechtel, Coppin, Ding, Garvey and Wilson are high school students; Hylak and Kendrick are in middle school; Atolia is a freshman at Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology, Chen is a freshman at Harvard College and Hackman is a freshman at Yale University.

“These outstanding SSP alumni are representative of the thousands of students competing each year in our programs, around the country and the world, whose intelligence, creativity, and discipline hold the answers to some of our mostpressing challenges,” said Elizabeth Marincola, president of Society for Science & the Public. “Their curiosity and their commitment to innovation are truly remarkable, as is this recognition by President Obama. I commend the President’s commitment to math and science education and we join with our partners at Intel and Broadcom to celebrate the achievements of these accomplished students.” Marincola attended the event with the SSP alumni.

The participants were able to meet President Obama, and some of them, including Garvey, Hylak, and Wilson, had the opportunity to discuss their research with the President. At the event, the President addressed the students, science educators and government and business leaders in attendance about celebrating and supporting young scientists, researchers, and engineers.  “When students excel in math and science, they help America compete for the jobs and industries of the future,” the President said. “That’s why I’mproud to celebrate outstanding students at the White House Science Fair, and to announce new steps my administration and its partners are taking to help more young people succeed in these critical subjects.”

SSP Alumni Participants

Eta Atolia was an Intel Science Talent Search2011 finalist for her biochemistry project,Preferred Polar Lipids of Marine Eustigmatophyte, Nannochloropsis oculata: Assessing Potential as Biofuel Feedstock and Eicospentaenoic Acid Producer.

Marian Bechtel was an Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2011 finalist, and was selected for her project, A Stand-Off Seismo-Acoustic Method for Humanitarian Demining. She also won a second place award fromthe AmericanIntellectual Property Law Association, a merit award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and a $1,000 award from the U.S. Army for her Intel ISEF project. Marian has recently been named an Intel Science Talent Search 2012 finalist.

Emily Chen was an Intel Science Talent Search 2011 finalist for her microbiology project, A Novel, Dual Role of Cytokine-mediated Activation of STAT3 in Brain Inflammation and Neural Progenitor Cell Differentiation.

Tanner Coppin was selected as an Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2011finalist for his project, The Agricultural Impact of Curlycup Gumweed on Barley Cultivars. Tanner won a Third Place Award in plant sciences for his Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2011 project.

Taide Ding was selected as an Intel International Science and Engineering 2011f inalist for his earth & planetary sciences project, Nonlinear Parametric Modeling of Hurricane Landfall Decay.

Samantha Garvey is a semifinalist for her Intel Science Talent Search 2012 environmental sciences project, The Effects of the Physical Environment and Predators on Phenotypic Plasticity in Geukensia demissa. Samantha worked on her science project while her family lived in a homeless shelter.

Michelle Hackman, who is not sighted, was selected as an Intel Science Talent Search 2011 finalist, won $75,000 for her second place behavioral and social sciences project, Communication Underload: Validating the Existence of Disconnect Anxiety.

Benjamin Hylak was selected as a Broadcom MASTERS 2011 finalist, and won $10,000 for his second place engineering project, Practical Application of a Telepresence Robot.

Coleman Kendrick was selected as a Broadcom MASTERS 2011 finalist. Cole submitted a project to the Broadcom MASTERS, Computer Simulation of Dark Matter Effects on Galaxy Rotation.

Taylor Wilson was selected as an Intel International Science and Engineering 2011 finalist. He won the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of $50,000, and Best of Category for his physics project, Countering Nuclear Terrorism: Novel Active and PassiveTechniques for Detecting Nuclear Threats.

About Society for Science & the Public

Society for Science & the Public (SSP) is one of the nation’s oldest non-profit membership organizations dedicated to public engagement in science and science education. Established in 1921, SSP is a leading advocate for the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. Through its acclaimed education competitions, including the Intel Science Talent Search, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Broadcom MASTERS competition, and its award-winning publications, Science News and Science News for Kids, Society for Science & the Public is committed to inform, educate, and inspire.

For more information, please visit www.societyforscience.org or follow SSP on Facebook: www.facebook.com/societyforscience and through Twitter: http://twitter.com/Society4Science. Become a member of the Society at www.societyforscience.org/join.

About Broadcom MASTERS

BroadcomMASTERS™ (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars), a program of Society for Science & the Public, is the premier national science, technology, engineering and math competition for 6th, 7th and 8th graders. It recognizes 300 top middle school students as semifinalists each year, with 30 named as finalists and invited to attend a week in Washington, DC in October where they participate in final judging, display their work to the public, meet with notable dignitaries, and compete for many awards including the top award of $25,000. Broadcom MASTERS inspires and encourages young scientists, engineers and innovators to become college and career-ready by continuing their STEM studies into high school and beyond. For more information, please visit www.societyforscience.org/masters.

About the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS)

The Intel Science Talent Search, aprogramof Society for Science & the Public, is the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition. Alumni of the program have made extraordinary contributions to science and hold more than 100 of the world’s most distinguished science and math honors, including seven Nobel Prizes and four National Medals of Science. The Intel STS recognizes 300 students and their schools as semifinalists each year to compete for $1.25 million in awards. From that select pool, 40 student finalists are invited to Washington, DC in March to participate in final judging, display their work tothe public, meet with notable scientists, and compete for the top award of $100,000. For more information, please visit www.societyforscience.org/sts.

About the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF)

The Intel International Scienceand Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition.The Intel ISEF is the premier science competition in the world and provides a forum for more than 1,500 high school students from 70 countries, regions,and territories to showcase their independent research annually. Each year, millions of students worldwide compete in local science fairs; winners go on to participate in Intel ISEF-affiliated regional, state and national fairs to earnthe opportunity to attend the Intel ISEF. Uniting these top young scientific minds, the Intel ISEF provides the opportunity to finalists to display their talent on an international stage, while enabling them to submit their work for judging by doctoral-level scientists. The Intel ISEF provides awards over $4 million in prizes and scholarships annually. For more information, please visit www.societyforscience.org/isef.