STEM ALL STARS
STEM All Stars 2016 Gala
Click here to see pictures of the gala.
The STEM All Stars 2016 Gala was held on May 14th and May 15th at George Mason University. The competition was restricted to students residing in VA,DC, and Hyderabad, India and it reached over 300 girls. The Gala event consisted of over 100 attendees including parents, teachers, participants, keynote speakers, and other prominent people. Participants were required to research a global issue, create a triboard, write an essay, and create a video. This year, we saw fantastic submissions that are capable of positively disrupting the world and solving real-world problems. Congratulations to the 2016 STEM All Stars Competition winners! Huge thanks to George Mason University for sponsoring the event!
Address to the Innovation Hall:
10443 Sandy Creek Way Fairfax, VA 22030
Dr. Kamaljeet Sanghera is the Executive Director of STEM Outreach and the Associate Professor in the Information Sciences and Technology (IST) department, Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University. Dr. Sanghera has served as the Aspirations project Co-Lead in Executive Committee of National Center of Women in Information Technology (NCWIT). She received the NCWIT Extension Services to implement systemic change to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation of women in technology and engineering undergraduate programs. Dr. Sanghera is also an active member of Students and Technology in Academia, Research and Service (STARS) program. Her focus is on developing opportunities for K-12 teachers’ professional development, offering engineering and technology related camps for K-12 students while creating a community of practice for like-minded people who wish to participate in and contribute to STEM initiatives.
Elected on April 16th, 2016, Puneet is now the 10th district Representative on the Virginia Republican State Central Committee. He recently served on Trump Asian Pacific Advisory Committee. With over 18 years of active participation, his goals remain to: strengthen the Virginia Republican Party in order to elect Virginia Republicans to national, statewide, county and local offices; promote free market, limited government, low tax and pro-business policies; and to create greater opportunities for South Asian and other minorities in the Virginia Republican Party. He values full participation and education for the constituency, both as voters and as active participants in the Republican Party.
We are proud of all the 2016 submissions!
- Engraved plagues
- Invitation to the STEM All Stars 2016 Gala
- Recognition on our website and other news media
- Engraved plagues
- Invitation to the STEM All Stars 2016 Gala
Winning Projects (Grades 3-5)
Project Title: The Effect of Spices on Bacteria
Research Abstract: Spices are essential to our daily meals. We add spices such as cinnamon, basil, and turmeric quit often. These spices have been known for many centuries to alleviate symptoms associated with fever such as nausea, poor digestion, and body pains. Not only that but they also provide us with vital cancer-fighting compounds. There are not many herbal antibiotics today. Scientists are still researching antibiotics for various types of disease. E. coli is a single-celled organism that can be manipulated and killed with no ethical concerns. It has a rapid growth rate and is very easy to culture and grow. E.coli is also present in the human body and the effect of spices on the E.coli can tell us more about how our body benefits from different substances. Therefore, I used E.coli for my experiment, which is available in the lab. I used two different strains of bacteria; good E.coli bacteria and bad E.coli bacteria. The specific type of strain was chosen based on availability and price. The E.coli was then mixed with pinches of ground spices. The mixture was added to LB broth and grown on a petri dish. The results were then observed, analyzed, and compared. Sterile lab equipment such as spreader and inoculating loops, which were available in the lab, were also used throughout the experiment. The spices I used were: cinnamon, turmeric, and garlic. The color changes and the increase in the number of colonies of the bacteria indicated that there is definitely a direct effect on certain spices in the human gut.
Project Title: Hypercholesteralemia
Research Abstract: Familial hypercholesterolemia is a disorder that causes high levels of LDL at birth, and heart attacks at a young age. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is found in the cells of the body. Cholesterol is essential for the body to function properly and to make substances that help with food digestion. However, if an excess amount of cholesterol is present in the bloodstream, it accumulates on the wall of the arteries and increases the risk of heart disease. Familial hypercholesterolemia is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. In autosomal dominant inherited conditions, a parent who carries an altered gene has a 50% chance to pass on that gene to his or her offspring. The gene mutation that causes this disease is located on chromosome number 19. It contains the information the LDL receptor (a protein) that is responsible to clear up LDL from the bloodstream. One in 500 individuals carry a gene mutation like this. Individuals who inherit this mutation from both parents have a much more severe form of hypercholesterolemia, with heart attack and death often occurring before age 30. People with FHC have one vital limitation, which is not eating various types of foods. They have to keep a steady diet and try to exercise as much as possible. They are just like everyone but the people diagnosed with FHC have chest pains and problems associated with obesity.
Winning Projects (Grades 6-8)
Project Title: Creating a Biogas Digester
Research Abstract: Biogas is the natural product of bacterial digestion of organic waste. It is 50 to 65% methane gas, which is a powerful greenhouse gas when released into the atmosphere. Methane can be burned as a fuel for cooking, heating or even running a generator. It is cleaner than gasoline or wood. Biogas can be made either aerobically (in contact with the air) or anaerobically in a sealed chamber, which is the more common approach because it makes collecting the gas simpler and avoids unpleasant odors. A small-scale double digester can be constructed and used at home. The purpose of this project is to create a biogas digester that can be used to generate energy from house hold waste. After creating a biogas digester by following a complicated procedure, I found out that digestion was occurring because of the absence of oxygen. Anaerobic digestion is a collection of processes in which microorganisms break down bio-degradable material in the absence of oxygen. The process is used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste and/or to produce fuels. The methane energy generated in the Biogas Digester can be converted into heat energy which in turn can be used in the generator to produce electricity. Biogas is very toxic and explosive. Improper handling of the biogas digester is a risk factor and can cause serious accidents with injuries. Through my finding, I hope to create a safer and cheaper biogas digester in the future.
Project Title: Immune System
Research Abstract: What protects your organs from illnesses that are coming into your body? What really saves you from the common diseases like, “Influenza?” Its the Immune system. Without the Immune system, other organs in your body will not have any role. No animal can go without it. It is due to the Immune system, diseases don’t rule the world. The Immune system is like a firewall on technology. Firewalls stop viruses from getting into the internal hard drive. Using the same concept, the immune system stop the pathogens from entering the body. Pathogens are bad germs, bacteria, or any other microorganism that can cause disease. These pathogens can cause huge epidemics like the Black Death, the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic, etc killing over ? of the population in a country. When Pathogens are about to penetrate through the body’s frontline defense, the skin, they are most probably not successful, because the primary reason of the Skin is to keep things out as well as to keep some things in. If pathogens do succeed, the next battlefront is inside the body. It is the digestive tract. The digestive tract is the first part that appears after the skin. This is where most of the white blood cells attack. These white blood cells also have a category of cells that they fit in which is called, “Leukocytes.” These Leukocytes can move freely anywhere in the body, except the brain and the spinal cord. These cells move around in the circulatory system, and when they sense an infection, they ooze through the capillaries that form up the veins. This process of oozing through is called, “Diapedesis.” A specific type of Leukocyte that is part of the innate immune system is the, “Phagocytes.” Phagocytes eat any other invading microorganism that they sense through the process of “Phagocytosis.” When Leukocytes find something bad, the immune system identifies the pathogen, along with killing it, so that none of the same kind can attack again because the immune system will be ready for them. Pus is an inflammatory response that occurs when a certain type of Leukocytes “suicide bombs” any infection. Inflammatory responses are actions that our bodies complete when pathogens are kicked out of the body after they are killed. Pus, mucus, swelling are all examples of inflammatory responses. Inflammatory responses are also the cause of allergic reactions. When the human immune system performs a inflammatory response when a non-dangerous outsider, like a peanut, enters: swelling, rashes, itching are all common due to the reflexes of the human body. There are many other types of cells inside the body that is part of the immune system such as the Natural Killer cells, Dendritic cells, B cells, etc which also play a huge part in our human body. We can see that the Immune system is the most important part of the human body. No organ system can even play a role if the Immune System doesn’t perform its function.