Pleasanton students shine at science, engineering competition

Students bring home high honors, special awards

Over 20 Pleasanton Unified School District students participated in the annual Synopsys Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair -- with seven students taking home high honors and five receiving "Honorable Mention" or a "Special Award."

The annual competition, co-sponsored by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, asks middle and high school students to go beyond their classroom studies to do independent project-based research.

Independently or in teams of two or three, students address questions in a variety of fields, including computer science, environmental science, medicine and health, chemistry, biology, and engineering.

The public had the opportunity to view the research projects on March 21 and 22 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. After Sunday's viewing, students were recognized at an award ceremony.

First through fourth place category winners received ribbons and checks, said director Patti Carolthers. Students awarded also had the opportunity to advance to other state, national and international competitions. In addition, local companies and organizations presented "Special Awards" to selected participants.

The following Pleasanton students were recognized:

* Sidharth Bommakanti, Amador Valley High School

"Project Wellness Water"

Awards: 1st place; Stockholm Water Prize; Zone 7 Water Agency and ASU Walton Sustainability Award; I-SWEEP AWARD; California State Science Fair Qualified Award

* Megan Yang, Foothill High School

"Predicting Population Growth with Models"

Awards: Honorable Mention

* Hans Castro, Hanci Lei and Viral Shukla, Amador Valley High School

"Biofuels: The Effects of Electricity on Algae Growth"

Awards: 2nd place

* Ashley Song and Richa Tenany, Amador Valley High School

"Microbial Food Borne Diseases"

Awards: Honorable Mention

* Kevin Liu, Foothill High School

"A Comparison of Differences in Total, Gram Negative, and Gram Positive Bacterial Counts with Spectrophotometry resulting from Earbud Use"

Awards: Honorable Mention

* Janel Lee, Amador Valley High School

"An Enhanced Method for HDR Imaging: Artifact-Free and Optimized for Mobile Devices"

Awards: 1st place; Chevron Award; U.S. Air Force Award; U.S. Navy Award

* Varsha Ramakrishnan, Amador Valley High School

"Development of Patient Symptom Management Software"

Awards: invitation to apply to Intel Science Talent Search

* Christopher Balas, Amador Valley High School

"Wearable IR Camera and Display"

Awards: Honorable Mention

* Katie Grant and Ranjani Sundaresan, Amador Valley High School

"Who Does Your Brain Trust?"

Awards: 2nd place; U.S. Navy Award

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