2020 NWSE Press Release

For immediate release

Oregon’s Virtual Science Fair

On April 10, 2020, close to 500 fifth through twelfth grade students from around the state were supposed to gather at Portland State University for the 37th Annual Northwest Science Expo. However, like many event organizers, we realized as schools were shut down in March that we needed to find a new way. A week of frantic emails resulted in adapting our online registration system to accept videos, posters, and much longer project summaries. We also decided to start with high school, and delay middle school to a later date. We didn’t know how much assistance students would receive from teachers, since school was not scheduled to start until days before our new deadline. In fact, on April 1st only 15 high school students had completed the new requirements. Our grand experiment seemed destined to fail.

A Whole Bunch of AP (Advanced Procrastinator) Students

But by the time judges were given access to the digital applications on April 4th, our number of participating projects had grown to 168. This is right in line with the number of high school projects attending the fair in a normal year. Each of our 90 judges went online and reviewed every project in their assigned category. After scoring and ranking as individuals, each small group met virtually to determine category prizes. The top students were then invited to Zoom interviews with our finalist judges, to select Best of Fair and those students who normally would have been members of Team Oregon at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in May. It should come as no surprise that the students were masters of this technology. One international student logged in from Vietnam in the middle of the night to present her project and another joined us from China. The judges were very impressed and had a tough time determining the top winners. Although ISEF has been cancelled for this year, our Team Oregon students will receive their usual T-shirts and festive dinner later on.

Our next challenge is hosting a similar event for all the middle school students who met the March 13th deadline for competition. We currently have 340 5th-8th grade students from 42 schools participating in the fair. The deadline for online submission is May 20, with judges given a week to review projects. We do need more judges--online registration is available at nwse.org. Judges need to have general knowledge in one of our 15 categories to apply.

This Spring has been a challenging one for everyone. We are searching for a new Title Sponsor for the fair. This year our funding came from a multitude of sponsors at many different levels. We love our community of supporters. In these new times, having multiple Gold level sponsors will add to our sustainability.

Stephanie Jones has been the fair director of the Northwest Science Expo since 2005, she can be reached at nwse@pdx.edu

2020 NWSE Top Prizes

The Northwest Science Expo, held April 4 - 10, 2020 as a virtual fair, announces top winners in Oregon's state-level science research competition affiliated with the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.

NWSE includes both a middle school and high school division. Middle school will have a virtual fair at the end of May. The following results are only from the high school division. Two best of fair winners were chosen.

  • Rishab Jain, 15, in grade 9 from Westview High School won Best of Fair for Life Sciences and was selected as a Regeneron ISEF finalist with a project titled, "PANCREAS.AI: Novel Deep Learning-based Screening Towards Precision Applications for Pancreatic Cancer".
  • Rupert Li, 17, in grade 12 from Jesuit High School won Best of Fair for Physical Sciences and was selected as a Regeneron ISEF finalist with a project titled, "Compatible Recurrent Identities of the Sandpile Group and Maximal Stable Configurations".

Four additional projects were chosen as ISEF finalists. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair has been cancelled, so these deserving students will only receive a t-shirt and may have their abstracts published online by the Society for Science and the Public.

  • Qijia Liu, 17, in grade 12 from Westview High School with a project titled, "Genes that make you go HMM: Errors in protein sequences propagated by heuristic conveniences fixed with probabilistic models".
  • Annie Nguyen, in grade 10 from Oregon Episcopal School with a project titled, "Effects of Declining pH Levels of Seawater Caused by Ocean Acidification on Zooxanthellae and Coral Bleaching".
  • Mingya Wang, 16, in grade 10 from Oregon Episcopal School with a project titled, "Biosuture: Recombinant Spider Silk Engineering with Anticancer Agent L-asparaginase".
  • Teaghan Knox, 15, in grade 10 from Bend Science Station with a project titled, "Optimizing Carbon Dioxide Sequestration Using Olivine and Sodium Hydroxide in a Flow Through System".

Joining the finalists from NWSE are the best projects from each of the seven regional fairs in the Northwest Science Expo System. The group of 32 students, collectively referred to as Team OR, represents the best in the state in science, engineering and mathematics.

  • Eric Lian, 17, in grade 11 from Oregon Episcopal School from the Aardvark Science Exposition with a project titled, "Computational Analysis of Music Evolution and Melodic Expectancy".
  • Hudson Hale, 17, in grade 11 from Oregon Episcopal School from the Aardvark Science Exposition with a project titled, "Bioprinting and Tissue Engineering an Artificial Epidermis Layer to Accelerate Epithelialization".
  • Ryan Westcott, 18, in grade 12 from Oregon Episcopal School from the Aardvark Science Exposition with a project titled, "Development of a Fully Reusable and Autonomously Landing Suborbital Launch Vehicle: Year Two".
  • Mimi Papathanasopoulos, 15, in grade 10 and Cecilia Hua, 17, in grade 11 from Oregon Episcopal School from the Aardvark Science Exposition with a project titled, "The Deleterious Effect of Tocopheryl Acetate on the Motility of Chlamydomonas Reinhardtii as a Model for Vaping Associated Pulmonary Illness".
  • Lila Schweinfurth, 17, in grade 11 from Oregon Episcopal School from the Aardvark Science Exposition with a project titled, "Predicting Harmful Algal Blooms to Mitigate Neurotoxin Exposure Using 20 Years of Shellfish and MODIS Satellite Data".
  • Anwesha Mukherjee, 16, in grade 12 from Westview High School from the Beaverton-Hillsboro Science Expo with a project titled, "A Novel Approach to Facial Emotion Recognition Using a CNN and Frame-by-Frame Analysis with Pipe Framework to Aid Autistic Students".
  • Akane Shirota, 17, in grade 12 from Liberty High School from the Beaverton-Hillsboro Science Expo with a project titled, "Simulation of the Mechanics of Quadrupedal Motion".
  • Pratik Vangal, 16, in grade 10 from Sunset High School from the Beaverton-Hillsboro Science Expo with a project titled, "A Biologically-inspired, Biomarker-driven, Rapid Early Warning System for Epileptic Onset Prediction and Seizure Detection Using Machine Learning".
  • Lucas Braun, 16, in grade 11 from School of Science & Technology from the at Beaverton-Hillsboro Science Expo with a project titled, "Quantum machine learning frameworks for improved SiD calorimetry and Higgs boson analysis".
  • Veronica Cooke, 17, in grade 12 from West Salem High School from the Central Western Oregon Science Expo with a project titled, "Selectively breeding Ulva lactuca for increased lignin content with an Arduino-controlled tide simulator".
  • Camille Blake, 17, in grade 12 from West Salem High School from the Central Western Oregon Science Expo with a project titled, "Connections in Chromesthesia: Analyzing Note Vibrations and Colors Perceived From Sound".
  • Jacob Zhao, 16, in grade 11 from Bend Science Station from the COCC Regional Science Expo with a project titled, "Mean Green Recycling Machine".
  • Alex Shaffer, 16, in grade 11 from Bend Science Station qualified for Intel ISEF at COCC Regional Science Expo with a project titled, "An Exploration of the Effects of Magnets and Electromagnetic Radiation on European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Navigation".
  • Katarina Pejcinovic, 18, in grade 12 from West Linn High School from the at CREST-Jane Goodall Science Symposium with a project titled, "Improvement and Characterization of Novel Energy-Efficient and Adaptable Bioplastic".
  • Elijah Cirioli, 17, and Casey Culbertson, 17, in grade 12 from West Linn High School from the CREST-Jane Goodall Science Symposium with a project titled, "Using head-mounted stereo cameras and computer vision to improve the spatial awareness of the visually impaired".
  • Neel Jain, 16, in grade 11 from West Linn High School from the CREST-Jane Goodall Science Symposium with a project titled, "A Low-Cost Hyper-Spectral Image-Processing System to Identify Stressed Crops for Improved Harvest Yields".
  • Jared Wieland, 17, in grade 12 from Wilsonville High School from the CREST-Jane Goodall Science Symposium with a project titled, "Identifying Novel Cis-Regulatory Elements in the Viral Genome of Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) for Increased Genetic Modification Efficiency".
  • Hannah Fransen, 14, Nathan Daret, 15, and Dylan Hess, 14, in grade 9 from Gresham High School from the Gresham-Barlow Science Expo with a project titled, "Crazy Creek Chemicals".
  • Darsh Mandera, 15, in grade 9 from Jesuit High School from the Gresham-Barlow Science Expo with a project titled, "A Real-time miRNA-based Machine Learning Approach for Precision Cancer Therapeutics".
  • Samyak Shrimali, 15, in grade 9 from Jesuit High School from the Gresham-Barlow Science Expo with a project titled, "Sanjeevani: A Novel Automated System for Hospital Acquired Infection Monitoring and Prevention".
  • Eleanor Courcelle, 15, in grade 10 from Franklin High School from the Portland Public Schools Science Expo with a project titled, "Evolving Resistance to Hydroxyurea, a common chemotherapeutic".
  • Natalie Wang, 17, in grade 12 from Lincoln High School from the Portland Public Schools Science Expo with a project titled, "The Relationship Between Tumor Suppressor Genes LZTR1 and SMARCB1 in Schwannomatosis Pain".

The complete list of all NWSE winners is available at nwse.org.

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