Photo Credit: Mitchell Coleman

CalBotSoc K-12 Student Science Fair Prizes

The Society awards prizes from time to time to K-12 student scientists for botanical projects presented at recognized California science fairs. The program was initiated in 2018 to encourage our next generation of botanists.

Anyone interested in judging or in helping in their county’s science fair can contact Justen Whittall who can help coordinate judging and awards. Most California counties have science fairs and the Society is currently only sponsoring Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. Many Bay Area counties, including Marin, Mendocino, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano, Sonoma, and West Contra Costa, have local science fairs and funnel their top-ranked students to the Golden Gate STEM Fair competition. It would be great if the Society could have a presence at all these science fairs to support the future of botany.

Please volunteer and spread the word!

2021 Recipients

2021 Synopsys Championship (Santa Clara County, California) (Virtual due to Covid-19)

  • Sia Agarwal, Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA: The Effect of Metal Pollution on Zoospore Development of Giant Kelp Macrocystis pyrifera (1st place High School division)
  • Alisa Grebin, The Harker School-Upper Campus, San Jose, CA: Can Mulch be Effective Against Stopping the Spread of Wildfires and Prevent the Growth of Additional Flammable Material? (Runner Up High School division)
  • Swara Ruchirkumar Shah, Challenger School-Berryessa Campus, San Jose, CA: Wonderful Wood: What is the effect of sapwood on the purity of water? (1st place Middle School division)
  • Hima Thota, The Harker School-Middle School Campus, San Jose, CA: Detecting Nutrient Deficiencies and Optimizing Plant Health Using Machine Learning (Runner Up Middle School division)
Alisa Grebin
Swara Ruchirkumar Shah

2021 Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair (Virtual due to Covid-19)

  • Bethany Mansfield: Horse Poop Planting! (1st place Middle School division)
  • Nolan Wilson: Are more Monarch butterflies passing through Santa Cruz in the fall or spring? (Runner Up Elementary School division)
  • Caleb Cmaylo: Flame Resistant Wood in the Santa Cruz Mountains (Runner Up Middle School division)
  • Farrah Hartje: How do Wildfires Affect the Growth of New Plants? (Runner Up Middle School division)
  • Levi Tabor: Does Lettuce Grown Hydroponically Grow Taller than Lettuce Grown in Soil? (Runner Up Middle School division)
Bethany Mansfield
Caleb Cmaylo
Levi Tabor

2020 Recipients

2020 Synopsys Championship (Santa Clara County, California) (Virtual due to Covid-19)

  • Tavleen Kaur, Adrian C. Wilcox High School, Santa Clara, CA: Improving crop health and pollinator safety using eco-friendly fertilizers, pesticides, and fire-retardants (1st place High School division)
  • Ananya Aswan Kumar, Los Gatos High School, Los Gatos, CA: The effects of biochar treated soil on the ability of Escherichia coli to infect plants (2nd place High School division)
  • Benjamin Allen Cha and Brandon Zau, The Harker School-Middle School Campus, San Jose, CA: The Effects of Pondweed on Plant Growth (1st place Middle School division)
  • Maryam Zehra and Katherine Helena Fields, The Harker School-Middle School Campus, San Jose, CA: Purified water vs filtered water vs natural water and its effect on plants (2nd place Middle School division)

2020 Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair (Virtual due to Covid-19)

  • Jonica Wilson, qualified independently: Post-wildfire Recovery of Native vs. Invasive (1st place Middle School division)
  • Larkin Steely, Ocean Grove Charter School, Boulder Creek, CA: Salt of the Soil: How much Salt can California Plants Take? (1st place Elementary School division)
Jonica Wilson

2019 Recipients

2019 Synopsys Championship (Santa Clara County, California)

  • Royal Huey III, Oak Grove High School, San Jose: Effects of simulated microgravity through perpetual falling on Raphanus raphanistrum root network development (1st place High School division)
  • Charlotte Lara, Notre Dame High School, San Jose, CA: Allelopathic effects of California native trees on a California native grass, Fistula californica (2nd place High School division)
  • Brian Chen, The Harker School-Middle School Campus, San Jose, CA: Validating novel algorithm generated crop rotations (1st place Middle School division)
  • Vishnavi Katta, Ruhi Batchu, Cabrillo Middle School, Santa Clara, CA: Watering efficiently (2nd place Middle School division)
  • Maryam Zehra and Katherine Helena Fields, The Harker School-Middle School Campus, San Jose, CA: Purified water vs filtered water vs natural water and its effect on plants (2nd place Middle School division)
Justen Whittall, Madroño Editor, with Charlotte (left) and Royal (right)
Justen Whittal, Madroño Editor, with Vishnavi (left) and Brian (right)

2019 Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair

  • Katherine McCormick, Helen Leslie Schafer-Dews, San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA, Ruby Howard, Coast Redwood High School, Felton, CA: Water Percolation in Relation to the Quantity of French Broom in the San Lorenzo Valley Watershed (1st place High School division)
  • Trevor Cambron, Natalie Owens, San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA: Trails, Soil, and SOD (2nd place High School division)
  • Ruby Evans, San Lorenzo Valley Middle School, Felton, CA: Do Plants Absorb Microplastics (1st place Middle School division)
  • Eva Ramirez-Truse, Santa Cruz Children’s School, Santa Cruz, CA: Which Trees Take the Longest to Burn (2nd place Middle School division)
  • Jonica Wilson, Pacific Elementary School, Davenport, CA: The Effects of Wildfire on Seed Germination of Native and Invasive Plants of California’s Monterey Pine Forests (1st place Elementary School division)
Justen Whittal, Madroño Editor (left), and Josie Lesage, Nemophila Editor (right) with (starting from left) Jonica, Ruby Evans, Eva, Natalie, Trevor, Katherine, Helen Leslie and Ruby Howard

2018 Recipients

2018 Synopsys Championship (Santa Clara County, California)

  • Anaya Subramanian, Los Altos High School, Los Altos, CA: Enhancement of mitochondrial function and seed germination by pterostilbene, ellagic acid and nicotinamide riboside (1st place High School division)
  • Alexander Michael Noriega, Oak Grove High School, San Jose, CA: Antimicrobial Synergies of the Digestive Juices Formed by Nepenthaceae Plants (2nd place High School division)
  • Ayana Rose Wilmot, Oakwood School, Morgan Hill, CA: Factors Affecting the Rate of Photosynthesis of California Lichens (1st place Middle School division)
  • Arjun Rajaram, Challenger School-Almaden, San Jose, CA: The effect of different plants on firescaping (2nd place Middle School division)
Justen Whittall, Madroño Editor, with Arjun (left) and Ayana (right)

2018 Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair

  • Emma Schaefer-Whittall, Scotts Valley High School, Scotts Valley, CA: Alkaloid Quantification of Catharanthus roseus and Vinca major and its Effects on Cell Viability (1st place High School division)
  • Isabel O’Malley-Krohn, Pacific Collegiate School, Santa Cruz, CA: Trees for the People: Socioeconomic Distribution of Street Trees (2nd place High School division)
  • Caitlin Sullivan, Holy Cross School, Santa Cruz, CA: Effects of X-Ray Radiation on Plants (1st place Middle School division)
  • Ashlyn McDaniel, Baymonte Christian School, Scotts Valley, CA: Vinegar Stops Mold on Strawberries (2nd place Middle School division)
Justen Whittall with (starting from left) Ashlyn, Caitlin and Emma

 ©2024 California Botanical Society

c/o Jepson Herbarium 1001 Valley Life Sciences Building Berkeley, California 94720-2465

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