Broadcom MASTERS recently announced its top middle school students, spotlighting 300 young innovators from across the country who have made their mark in the fields of math, applied science, technology and engineering. After a multi-tiered selection process, nine Orange County students made the cut.
Every year, the Broadcom Foundation partners with Society for Science to organize one of the nation’s leading science competitions for middle schoolers. The students first competed in affiliated science fairs nationwide, placing in the top 10 percent of projects in the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade divisions. From there, 1,807 students applied for the national contest, where a panel of scientists, educators and engineers chose 300 top scholars.
Six of Orange County’s nine semifinalists were from the Irvine Unified School District. Audrey and Marissa Huang from Lakeside Middle School, Sasha Lichtman from Bonita Canyon Elementary School, Brianna Liu from South Lake Middle School, Ashvik Sai Nacham from Rancho San Joaquin Middle School, and Abhijith Sivaprakash from Deerfield Elementary School were each recognized for their analyses and innovations from projects submitted this past school year.
Before placing among the top competitors in the Broadcom competition this month, the Irvine Unified students presented their projects at their districtwide fair and the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair.
At the countywide competition, Ashvik, a seventh-grader, placed first in the junior division for environmental science and engineering. Eighth-grader Brianna and sixth-grader Abhijith won second and third place in the same category, respectively. In the junior division, Sasha, a sixth-grader, took second place in the zoology category, while eighth-graders Audrey and Marissa won first place in the behavioral sciences category.
Seventh-grader Zane Shaiyen and eighth-grader Anika Nunes from Fairmont Private School in Anaheim were also selected as competition semifinalists for their projects on magnetic linear accelerators and influenza vaccine engineering.
In addition to Irvine, Saddleback Valley Unified School District student Hussein Hirani was recognized by the program for the project, “AquaSafe — A Device To Prevent Drowning.” Overall, California residents made up 17 percent of all competition entries, taking the top spot in the nation.
“Congratulations to the Top 300 2022 Broadcom MASTERS,” Broadcom Foundation President Paula Golden said in a statement. “These young scientists, engineers and innovators will define our future. We need them to bring their passion and skill to help solve the grand challenges of our time and create sustainability here on Earth.”
In the competition’s final round, the scholars will work as teams in STEM-related activities and present their individual projects as they vie for honors as a Broadcom MASTERS top 30 finalist. They will also compete for a grand prize of $25,000, along with other stipends for coveted STEM programs. The 30 winners will be announced on Sept. 21.
The Broadcom MASTERS seeks to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators to solve the grand challenges of the 21st century.
Below are Orange County’s semifinalists in the Broadcom Top 300 MASTERS:
Sasha Lichtman “Do Different Genres of Music Affect the Amount of Food My Tortoise Consumes” Sixth grade, Bonita Canyon Elementary School, Irvine Unified School District
Abhijith Sivaprakash “Which Material Stops Water From Getting to Coastal Cities Best?” Sixth grade, Deerfield Elementary School, Irvine Unified School District
Ashvik Sai Nacham “Optimizing Removal of Nitrates From Water Using Household Waste (Eggshells)” Seventh grade, Rancho San Joaquin Middle School, Irvine Unified School District
Zane Shaiyen “Magnetic Linear Accelerator: Effect of Number of Magnet Stages on Ejection Distance” Seventh grade, Fairmont Private School – Historic Anaheim Campus
Anika Nunes “Engineering Effective Influenza Vaccines Using Novel Interdisciplinary Approaches” Eighth grade, Fairmont Private School – Historic Anaheim Campus
Brianna Liu “The Productivity of Composting and Its Response to Moisture Content” Eighth grade, South Lake Middle School, Irvine Unified School District
Audrey Huang “Identifying Asian Hate on Twitter With Machine Learning” Eighth grade, Lakeside Middle School, Irvine Unified School District
Marissa Huang “Identifying Asian Hate on Twitter With Machine Learning” Eighth grade, Lakeside Middle School, Irvine Unified School District
Hussein Hirani “AquaSafe — A Device To Prevent Drowning” Eighth grade, Serrano Intermediate School, Saddleback Valley Unified School District