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Oct. 27, 2009

Seniors place in Siemens Competition

by Mandy Xu, News and Entertainment editor
The Siemens Foundation recognized three Blair seniors as regional finalists and 11 students as semi-finalists of both individual and team projects in the 2009 Siemens Competition last Friday, according to Magnet Senior Research Project teacher Elizabeth Duval.

Regional finalists Jennifer Wang, Dalton Wu and Roger Curley will receive a $1,000 scholarship as well as an expense paid trip to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where they will compete for an additional $6,000 scholarship and a chance to enter the National Finals. The semi-finalists from Blair are commended but receive no scholarship money.

The Siemens Foundation, which awards scholarship money to high school students whose research projects demonstrate exceptional innovations in science, math and technology fields, selected 300 semi-finalists and 60 regional finalists in both team and individual projects nationwide from about 1,200 applicants. Magnet Coordinator Peter Ostrander was delighted with the student's representation of Blair to Maryland. "We have the only three regional finalists in the state of Maryland," Ostrander said.

Thomas Jefferson High School (TJ), a science magnet school in Virginia that been long time rivals to Blairís Magnet Program, reported fewer winners in the competition. "TJ had two Regional Finalists, compared to the three we have, and eight Semi-Finalists," Ostrander said. "We have 100 students, but they are a whole school of magnets."

Regional Finalists Jennifer Wang, Dalton Wu and Roger Curley will most likely compete at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus from Nov. 6 - 7. Wu and Curley, who entered as a team, submitted a project regarding the synchronization of satellites to obtain clearer images. Wang entered alongside Grace Young from Potomac School with a project that explored with ion trafficking.

The college campus where Young and Wang will compete is still subject to debate, because Young attends school in Virginia. "They still haven't decided where we're going," Wang said. If Wang competes at MIT, she will face Wu and Curly. "Regional winners compete with other finalists in that area," Duval said. "There will be five teams total, and Jennifer and Dalton and Roger might compete against each other."

Regional finalists must further prepare materials for the next round at MIT. "They will have to prepare a poster, a 12 minute oral presentation and participate in a Q and A session with judges," Duval said. If the teams win the next round and advance to the National Finals in December, they will have the opportunity to compete for the $100,000 scholarship awarded to the best team project. Runners-up will receive scholarships ranging from $10,000 - $50,000.

Blair is also guaranteed to receive grants for each regional finalist project in the Siemens Competition as of now. The money will be dedicated towards supporting science, computer science and mathematics programs at the school. "Each high school will receive a $2,000 award per finalist. The school has won something for their work," Duval said. "It's very exciting."

Ostrander commended students for their motivation and hard work completing projects for the competition, which had an Oct. 1 deadline. "This particular project takes the type of person who does research in a timely manner. The group projects also require a lot of cooperation," he said. "They have to be motivated enough to get things done in time." Duval agreed with Ostrander. "Everyone that entered did work so hard," she said. "It doesn't surprise me that we did as well as we did. 31 people entered from Blair and 14 placed."

Duval was also pleased with the diversity of the projects. "It's nice to see that the projects selected were from widespread categories," Duval said. "There was biology, physics, computer science and mathematics. It was a nice big range."

The Siemens finalists and semi-finalists are:

1. Roger Curley
2. Jennifer Wang
3. Dalton Wu

1. Rohan Puttagunta
2. Anand Oza
3. Nils Molina
4. Amy Xiao
5. Victoria Lai
6. Jeffery Lin
7. Allison Arai
8. Jacob Hurwitz
9. Kamal Ndousse
10. Elissa Shiau
11. Hongyi Xia

Editors Note: Jennifer Wang is a technical editor on Silver Chips Online.

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  • me on October 27, 2009 at 9:51 PM
    Yeah semi-finalists and finalists! Thanks to Ms. Duval, Ms. Ragan, Mr. Ostrander, and everyone who helped out! =D
  • MistakeCatcher on December 27, 2009 at 3:24 AM
    Congrats to the Blair students who placed in Siemens.

    However, this entire article seems to feature a huge flaw. TJHSST is not a magnet school in any respect, it is only a governor's school.

    Just fyi, because you were making direct comparisons between Blair's magnet program and Jefferson's (which is non-existent). There are all sort of students who attend Jefferson for this reason - those that are interested in humanities as well as science and technology.
  • MistakeCatcher on December 27, 2009 at 3:33 AM
    I forgot to mention in the previous comment that I, in fact, am a student at TJ and would like to point out that our school doesn't wallow in picking out the fact that we out do most other schools in almost every aspect of academics.

    We just accept it and move on. No gloating here. But if this is what rocks your boat, then I guess its plain to see one thing that cannot be taught at Blair, Jeffersonian Character.
  • Derrick A. Buitendyke (View Email) on April 19, 2010 at 8:35 AM
    If the Roger Curley that I am reading about was once a student of mine, then I would like for you to kindly give me his e.mail address and phone number so that I can further discuss the issue of synchronizing satellite images.
    cell> +2316495084
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