Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology students Sonam Brahmbhatt, left, and Christian Goerner recently were honored at the Georgia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and will head to the national science symposium in May. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
CONYERS -- Magnet School students continue to shine at science events this competition season.
Several students recently were honored at the Georgia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in Athens.
"Students must present their research findings in a 12-minute or less presentation before a panel of actual scientists and engineers. The judges then have six minutes to grill them on their projects," said Amanda Baskett, a research teacher at the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology. "The questioning at GJSHS is one of the most valuable learning experiences for students, as they are really pushed to make their complex projects understandable and must demonstrate their background knowledge."
Christian Goerner won second place, allowing him to move on to compete as one of two Georgia representatives in the national science symposium in May in Dayton, Ohio. His research aimed to optimize crude oil bioremediation using bacterial methods.
"It feels amazing," Goerner said. "I am glad I was able to represent my school, and I'm excited to represent them at nationals."
He said the most difficult part about the competition was the judges questioning period.
"They asked really tough questions that take a lot of thinking," he said. "I am excited to share my research with like-minded students. The critique and relationships made will be invaluable."
He also won $1,500 for the placement.
Sonam Brahmbhatt won fourth place and will attend national symposium as an observer. She tested hypoxia induced effects on chondrocyte phenotype.
"I feel very proud to have been chosen from among the top research students in the state," said Brahmbhatt, who also attended the symposium in 2012. "Last year, the national symposium was a great experience to me because I was able to meet other students like me who were conducting very advanced research, and I learned so much from the guest speakers' presentations. I am excited for all the new things I will get to learn this year."
She said the best part of the Georgia symposium was meeting other students and sharing research ideas.
"Completing a research project is an excellent way to stand out, gain new experiences and learn something new," she said.
Three other Magnet School students were picked to present their research on the final day of the competition as part of the state's top 12 -- Alex Arteaga, Jasmine Johnson and Naomi Siddiquee.
"Each year, the top 50 projects in the state are selected to compete in the competition sponsored by the U.S. Armed Forces. This year, Rockdale Magnet had 35 students present projects. Twelve more Magnet students were selected to compete in a poster completion and observe the presentations," Baskett said. "We are very proud of our students."
Several Magnet School students also will compete at the state science fair next week in Athens.