In the News
At the 2020 STEAM and Service Fair, students and faculty from across departments shared their projects with the Prep community. Over the past few years, the annual event has expanded to include not only the traditional science fair and Community Impact Projects (CIP) created by 8th graders, but also designs, ideas and prototypes made by students across all parts of campus.
“We’re seeing a lot of participation from different parts of campus. We have projects in math, photography, English, science, CIP, algorithmic thinking, robotics and more,” Dr. Shane Frewen, STEAM coordinator and math teacher, said. “This fair is such a collaborative process. You see Prep as a community in this, in that so many people are helping in whatever way they can.”
Evoking the cross-curricular ethos of the school’s STEAM initiative, which emphasizes combined curriculum based on algorithmic thinking, the fair demonstrated how essential creativity is in tackling real-world problems.
Themes of sustainability, climate change and science in service to society coursed throughout projects:
- 7th graders in Algorithmic Thinking, taught by Reid Fritz, took on issues like water conservation within their interactive designs that they made throughout the school year.
- Ricardo Rodriguez prompted his 10th grade photography students to think about sustainability like an artist. The students reused and repurposed soda cans that had been thrown away by coating them with a light-sensitive photographic emulsion, transforming them into canvases for their photographs.
- Competitors in the science fair displayed projects in animal and non-animal research, with some students sharing research they did within university labs. Topics ranged from the impact of temperature fluctuation upon butterfly pollination to hypothesizing a correlation between neurological synaptic disfunction and the severity of autism.
- Eighth graders incorporated data collection and analysis into their CIPs to test out solutions to some of today’s most pressing problems, such as homelessness in Los Angeles, plastic pollution or reducing carbon dioxide production.
While the acronym STEAM typically expresses how art can creatively inform and evolve traditional STEM research, a few projects on display this year explored how the humanities can find its way into the STEM field.
The Honors Physics class wrote poems on Newton’s laws of motion that were turned into a collection titled “Poetica Principia Mathematica.” 12th graders in CI Shelton’s Science Fiction class ventured out into realm of speculative-fiction-turned-reality, exploring topics on artificial intelligence, growing organs using stem cells, life on mars and space law. Melody Liu ’20 and Nicholas Rivelle ’20 received honorable mention for their project, “Manifest Galaxy,” which detailed the United Nations’ formation of five treaties regulating the exploration and exploitation of space. (They also baked a Mars-shaped cake for fair goers, where each slice was cut according to Antarctica’s territorial divisions.)
Frewen was excited to see how many classroom and club projects—and disciplines—were represented at the fair. “We want the event to be as broad as possible,” he said, adding that he’d like to incorporate the new Bachmann Collaboration Building into the fair next year. “We like hosting the fair in the gym because it reflects the vibe students would encounter in undergraduate and graduate-level poster sessions, but if we can connect this poster session with events and interactive projects housed in the new building, art rooms and math rooms, people could migrate throughout campus to experience the fair.”
Awards were given out to students in various categories, and each winner received a laser-etched trophy made of anodized aluminum that was made using the school’s laser cutter.
List of 2020 STEAM and Service Fair Winners:
Thomas Kaufman Award (Best in Show): Ashwin Sivakumar ’22, Contextualizing Species Distribution Models for California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) using Pleistocene Fossil Data
Science Fair – Animals
1st Place: Neel Sadda ’22, Ashlyn Zhang ’22 and Elise Desjarlais ’22, repellANTS
2nd Place: Sasha Winterstellar ’22, Isabelle Townley ’22 and Malia Weiss ’22
3rd Place: Sareen Armenian ’22 and Lori Jang ’22
Science Fair – Non-Animals
1st Place: Tim Zhang ’21, Genetically Engineering a Novel Red Fluorescent Biosensor for the Imaging of Deep Brain Glutamate Transmission
2nd Place: Clarice Pranyoto ’21
3rd Place: Maya Khurana ’20
Community Impact Project – STEAM
1st Place: Izzie Chan ’24, Spreading Light to Malawi
2nd Place: Solomon O’Reggio ’24
3rd Place: Advait Kartik ’24
Community Impact Project – Youth
1st Place: Ashlee Notley ’24, Operation Dress Santa
2nd Place: Sienna Vaughn ’24
3rd Place: Julia Bonk ’24
Community Impact Project – Relief
1st Place: Kayla E. Lee ’24, Back on Your Feet
2nd Place: Abigail Wang ’24
3rd Place: Hannah Pitney ’24
8th Grade Presentation Awards: Kaitlyn Yun ’24, Kaylen Mirzaian ’24, Kelly Tsao ’24, Ava Burlingame ’24, Evan Guyer ’24, Grace McConnell ’24, Steven Ng ’24, Christian Marks ’24, Daniel Zhao ’24, and Chloe Chong ’24
Honorable Mentions: Ian Hunte ’22, Sean Mealey ’22, Marcus Chen ’22, Jonah Lessuk ’22, Aaron Lee ’22, Alec Guthrie ’22, Melody Liu ’20, Nicholas Rivelle ’20, Kaitlyn Yun ’24, Ellie Choi ’24, Conor Camerer ’24, Kaitlyn Sulivan-Pascual ’24, Lauren Lopez ’24, Evan Guyer ’24, Leo McDonald ’24, Nicholas Jin ’24 and Hudson Coon ’24
ACL Award: Kelly Tsao ’24, Mila Delacueva ’24 and Kaitlyn Yun ’24