Washington, DC — On Saturday, March 17, middle and high school students in the nation’s capital showed off their science and math skills in a full-day celebration of STEM education and innovation at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School. More than 100 local students participated in the 2018 DC STEM Fair, where they presented their own science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) projects to a group of 80 volunteer judges, including representatives from local universities, STEM professional organizations, research institutions, and STEM employer groups.

Three DC high school students were selected as grand prize winners of the DC STEM Fair’s Senior Division. For the first time in DC STEM Fair history, a delegate (Sam Lossef) will represent Washington, DC at the International Fair for the third year in a row. The fair will be in Pittsburgh, PA, the week of May 13-18. Intel ISEF, a program of Society for Science & the Public (the Society), is the world's largest international pre-college science competition.

Presented by the DC STEM Network (Network), the Secondary STEM Fair is open to DC students in grades 6 through 12 attending public, public charter, private, and parochial schools. The Network is a collaboration between the Carnegie Academy for Science Education (CASE) and the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). The Network's mission is to unite community partners in a sustainable collective effort to design, guide, and advocate for transformative STEM learning opportunities for all DC students. The DC STEM Fair is sponsored by Battelle, OSSE, CASE, Carnegie Science, the University of the District of Columbia, and DC Public Schools. 

“We are proud to give DC students a place to share their enthusiasm for science, engineering and math,” said DC STEM Network Director Marlena Jones. “The participants worked hard on their projects and at the fair they were able to have fun showing off their efforts to STEM experts and the community at large.”

The daylong festivities included a STEM Expo, STEM Community Workshops for families, and STEM professional development for teachers (hosted by the Tiger Woods Foundation).

Three DC high school students were selected as Grand Prize winners of the DC STEM Fair’s Senior Division:

  • 1st Place: Catalina Lemus, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School (GV)
  • 2nd Place: Everett Reed, Washington Math Science and Technology Public Charter High School (WMSTPCH)
  • 3rd Place: Sam Lossef, School Without Walls High School (SWW)

DC STEM Fair Grand Prize winner Sam Lossef will represent Washington, DC, at the International Fair for the third year running. His project, “Investigation of Novel and Unconventional Microwave Antenna Designs Using In Silico Modeling,” is an exciting feat of engineering ingenuity.  

“My research projects have all been related to energy, and have included improving efficiency of Stirling engines, 3-D printing antennas for space solar power transmission and exploring novel and previously untested power transmission antenna designs,” Lossef said. “These projects have been exciting, and this chance to present my work at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is a highlight of my high school years. This year, I look forward to having another opportunity to meet students from around the world with similar interests and learn about their incredible projects. Intel ISEF has been an amazing experience [which] has greatly furthered my interest in science and engineering.”

Reed’s project, “Using Piezoelectric Sensors to Analyze the Center of Gravity in Aircraft,” reflects his passion for aerospace engineering. Reed intends to pursue aerospace engineering in college this fall “In 2001, an inspiring young actress/singer and her crew perished in an aircraft accident. One of the major contributing factors leading to the accident was that the aircraft’s center of gravity (CG) was out of limits at takeoff,” Reed said. “My model shows how we can incorporate sensors to instantaneously calculate center of gravity for pilots, resulting in more efficient and effective flight safety.” Reed is currently waiting to hear back from the U.S. Air Force Academy regarding admission this fall. [S2] His project placed 2nd overall at the DC STEM Fair. 

First place Grand Award winner, Catalina Lemus’s project, “Eggtricity,” explores cost-saving ways to generate energy using water. This project was designed to leverage waves as a power source during power outages, like Hurricane Maria, which occurred in Puerto Rico, last fall. “The ocean covers about 70 percent of the Earth making Eggtricity accessible to all kinds of communities including those with unreliable power or those needing power after a natural disaster,” Lemus said. “I wanted to create something that could use this abundant, natural and powerful resource to help such communities.” The shape of the device helped inspire the name of the project.

All three students are practicing and preparing for the fair. Two adults, one a high school teacher, will accompany the DC students to the fair in Pittsburgh.

“We are pleased to send such a talented and exciting group to this year’s International Fair,” Jones said. “We wish them luck in their endeavors!” 

Caption: This photo was taken at the Secondary DC STEM Fair Awards Ceremony on March 22, 2018. Pictured (left to right) are Marlena Jones, CASE and DC STEM Network, Tracy Dove, Ph.D., Scientific Advisor at the Embassy of Switzerland (in the USA), and Senior Division Grand Prize Winners -- Catalina Lemus, Everett Reed, and Sam Lossef.

Scientific Area: 
News Topic: 
Science Education