Names: Kim Nguyen, siblings Emily and Zach Power, Mackenzie Heslin-Scott, and Mana Tadbiri
Age: Now ninth and tenth-graders at Lakeland High School
Accomplishment: These students were selected this past summer to present at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, held in Philadelphia in June
Key to Awesomeness: Last year, at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School, students Kim Nguyen, Emily Power, Zach Power, Mackenzie Heslin-Scott and Mana Tadbiri were hard at work exploring the world of biospheres. Coached by science teacher Judy Toledano, their project looked at biospheres through plant research, container design, and other environmental factors. When they were accepted as presenters at a conference that showcased over one thousand presenters with 940 international attendees from 63 countries, Toledano was thrilled. Their project explored the use of artificial biospheres for remote human settlements in space and underwater.
“I was filled with total pride,” she said. “But I was not surprised; this group is so worthy with all the hard work they have done.”
Their experiments tested different climatic conditions on plant growth, both natural and artificial, in order to observe life in an artificial biosphere, using a combination of microcontroller chips, electrical components, and computer software to create a time lapse video of the experimental plant subjects growing, says Zachary Power. And the experience of presenting at a major scientific conference motivates him for future study.
"I find technology inspiring because it is a vast and expansive field, and it requires the application of math, science, and language skills—the field of computer science is rapidly growing and bursting with new information and I hope to continue studying it,” he said.
Says Mana Tidbiri, another of the budding scientists: “The experience of actually presenting at an international conference is something that could come in handy in the future when we get jobs and have to present our work.”