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Students solidify reputation at science fair

Rochester students are basking in the glow of another strong performance at a prestigious international science fair.

All of Rochester's high school students who participated in this month's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair returned with a Grand Award prize. Only 25 percent of the more than 1,500 young scientists who participated received such prizes. Projects came from 65 countries and all 50 states.

This was the second year in a row that every Rochester entrant returned with a prize, solidifying Rochester's growing reputation in such competitions. Last year, not only did every Rochester student or team receive a prize for ground-breaking work, but one team took a first-place trophy, the first time that had happened in Rochester's history.

This year, the highest-placed finisher from Rochester was a second-place award, an achievement that has happened only a handful of times.

"Normally, we don't have all the students placing. All our students placed. They all did an outstanding job," said Kellogg Middle School science teacher Roger Larsen.


Rochester's young scientists included:

• Lisa Fu, John Marshall High School. The junior placed fourth and won a $500 award.

• Ying Xiong, Century High School. The junior placed fourth and received a $500 award.

• Spencer Berglund and David Campeau, Mayo High School. The juniors placed second and received a $1,500 prize.

Larsen said that in the two decades he has served as director of the Rochester Regional Science Fair, there have been only three other times that Rochester-area students earned a second-place finish.

"So, getting second is an outstanding feat in and of itself," Larsen said.

State ISEF winners included Marcus Gomez and Gavin Mai, both of Century High School. The sophomores placed second for their analysis and maximization of microbial fuel cells. The two received a $1,500 cash award.

The overall winner at ISEF was Jack Andraka, 15, of Crownsville, Md., who developed a new method to detect pancreatic cancer.

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