Blaine High School students earn national recognition

Sixteen students from Blaine High School’s Center for Engineering, Math and Science program received national honors in this year’s Internet Science and Technology Fair.

Blaine High School student Santiago Garcia, representing the “VERA” team, which also included Brianna Vanderheyden, Aaron Erickson and Elisabeth King, was recognized at the Sept. 23 District 11 School Board meeting for earning meritorious achievement in this year’s Internet Science and Technology Fair. He poses with School Board Vice Chaiperson Marci Anderson, right, and Blaine High School CEMS Director Jennifer Birkmeier.

Blaine High School student Santiago Garcia, representing the “VERA” team, which also included Brianna Vanderheyden, Aaron Erickson and Elisabeth King, was recognized at the Sept. 23 District 11 School Board meeting for earning meritorious achievement in this year’s Internet Science and Technology Fair. He poses with School Board Vice Chaiperson Marci Anderson, right, and Blaine High School CEMS Director Jennifer Birkmeier.

Earning highest honors — or meritorious achievement — was the “VERA” team of Santiago Garcia, Brianna Vanderheyden, Aaron Erickson and Elisabeth King, who investigated a possible product that is similar to an airport scanner and could be used to scan over shellfish and dissolve harmful “vibriobacteria.”

Three other Blaine High School teams earned honorable mention distinction at the competition.

“The A Team,” comprising Mikayla Hed, Samantha Koskey, Calli Lundberg and Alicia Stone, were recognized for their work studying recombinant DNA technologies and gene mapping, specifically looking at cancer and cancer treatments.

Anna Bialke, Emily Link, Bridgette Nelson and Riley Patrick, known as “DNA Revolution,” studied HIV and AIDS and potential vaccines for the diseases.

The “Food Safety Crew,” made up of Cassandra Durant, Ricsey Erazo, Michaela Martin and Matthew Pappas, studied food poisoning, specifically from peanut butter, and technologies that could prevent illness.

The fair, hosted by the University of Central Florida’s College of Engineering and Computer Science Department, is a year-long competition for freshmen that challenges students to research how National Critical Technology — subjects including living systems, transportation or energy that will have a major influence on America’s economy and national security in the coming decades — may be used to solve real-world problems.

Students use information technology tools while adhering to guidelines based on national science content standards. They develop critical thinking, research and reading/writing skills as they work on-line with practicing professionals and publish their final research findings in a website format for preliminary and national rounds of judging.

The Internet Science and Technology Fair challenges students to work as a team and learn how to communicate on a long-duration project. At the same time, they learned about what it means to engage in research that leads to creating possible new products and processes.

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