ACP Winners of AZSEF and SciTech Award

Ronin Komarnisky, Co-Editor

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Back in February, the Knight Times briefly covered ACP’s Science Fair Night where students showcased their nifty science projects through live demonstrations. Around 40 students presented their science fair projects, all of which moved onto HISEF. Recently, two ACP knights, Diya Nath and Mihira Karnik, from the junior high division, placed first in their categories at AZSEF.

Diya Nath

Diya Nath placed first in the Animal Sciences category with her project, “The Effect of Household Chemicals on the Life Stages of Brine Shrimp.” She explained how she was inspired by her older brother, who conducted his own experiment on brine shrimp, to do her own research into the peculiar species. Once she learned how brine shrimp were strong indicators of pollution, she immediately wanted to utilize the shrimp to see how common household chemicals would affect them. She analyzed how long they took to hatch and used Lysol, Windex and general soap as her chemicals. She then analyzed the mortality rate of the brine shrimp exposed to these chemicals to see whether or not they cause pollution. Diya Nath explained how the whole experience, from receiving first place at the ACP science fair to receiving first place at AZSEF, was very impactful.

“I was very proud of myself, and I was happy to participate in such an event. I am extremely thankful to everyone, especially my mom and my science teacher, who has helped me.”

Diya is planning on continuing science fair in the coming years, and she hopes to build on her project by testing more chemicals. Her advice to other students who are interested in participating in science fair is to keep on researching and investigating.

Mihira Karnik

Mihira Karnik won first prize in the Cellular and Molecular Biology category with her project, “What is the Ideal Time for Preparing Vegetables Such That the Nutritional Value Will Be at Its Highest.” Mihira briefly provided her background research into her project. She explained how cellulose, a complex carbohydrate that makes up a plant’s cell wall, is difficult for the human body to digest because the human body lacks the enzyme cellulase, which essential in its breakdown. Cooking foods at higher temperature helps in breaking down the cellulose; however, doing so deactivates the nutrients and enzymes, which helps speed up chemical reactions that raw vegetables contain. Through her research, Mihira discovered how steaming your vegetables was the best way to maintain as many nutrients as possible. In her experiment, Mihira steamed her vegetable to determine the perfect amount of time needed to conserve the maximum amount of nutrients. Her experiment concluded that steaming vegetables for “four minutes is the most effective for cellulose breakdown, enzyme activity, and nutritional value.”

When she initially discovered that her project was able to advance to AZSEF, Mihira stated how she was absolutely thrilled.

“I put a lot of effort into my project, and I was really hoping I was able to take it somewhere and present my research.”

Mihira is also planning on continuing her participation in science fair and work on this project for another year. She is going to test more vegetables as “people don’t just eat one single vegetable.”

Congratulations to both Mihira and Diya for their spectacular achievement. They are certainly bright individuals who are certainly going to go far in their science fair experience.

Mrs. Nath and Emma Loop

Along with the accomplishments of Mihira and Diya, Emma Loop, whose project titled “The Effect of Essential Oils on Bee Behavior,” also advanced to AZSEF in addition to being presented at the SciTech festival. Emma Loop worked with Mrs. Nath, a science teacher at ACP, on bee swarming. Bee swarming, as Mrs. Nath described, is when there are too many bees in a hive and some of the bees are forced to relocate. This swarm of bees that are forced to relocate will nest in whatever place they find, which includes our homes, gardens, cafes, and schools. Emma and Mrs. Nath decided to utilize various household spices and essential oils to create a repellant to such bee swarms.

Emma’s project received a $500.00 reward from SciTech, which will go toward Emma’s future experiments. Emma will be working with Mrs. Nath in her Honors Science Research class next year, during which she will further expand on her research and work at the labs at Arizona State University. This was the first time SciTech presented an award for the best presentation, and ACP and Basha High were the only schools out of approximately 19 others to receive the $500.00 prize. Emma was presented with the certificate, and Mrs. Nath was presented the check by the Mayor Jay Tribshreney, councilmen Rene Lopez and CUSD’s Superintendent Dr. Camille Castelle. This is quite an innovative and helpful project, as it could help save on hundred of dollars that comes with removing bee hives.

This award is a fantastic achievement of both Emma Loop and ACP-Erie. We are certainly anxious to see what the future holds for Emma and her work on her future projects.

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