Senior Maya Breitenstein headed to prestigious national science competition

March 25, 2015

Senior Maya Breitenstein recently took second place overall in the regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) Program, one of the toughest juried science competitions that exists for students. She wrote a 40-page paper on her original research project, entitled “Engineering a Novel Prototype of Offshore Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines with Floating Foundations to Produce CleaEnergy.”  Translation: Maya built two different prototypes of wind turbines and investigated which would be more efficient. 

She had to summarize her research in a formal 10-minute PowerPoint, and then orally defend her work when questioned by high-level judges. Later this month, she will represent the region on an all-expenses paid trip to present at nationals in Maryland for four days.

Maya’s project was conducted as part of our Investigative Research in Biomedical Innovation (IRBI) class, which is taught by Allison Hennings, a 2014 Golden Apple Award finalist. The work of the class is for each student to investigate a high-level research project of his or her own design. 

Three other OPRF students made it to the JSHS level, though they will not be moving onto nationals:
o Kathleen Coogan--biomedical engineering. Kathleen investigated how a common antimalarial drug called proguanil could potentially disrupt the folic acid cycle and thus embryonic development.
o Olivia Lenzo--biomedical engineering. Olivia investigated how a novel pharmaceutical agent made up of umbelliferone and resveratrol can reduce biofilms on joint replacements.
o Hannah Gorin--engineering. Hannah investigated different prototypes that she built as far as being able to be a potential new product for prosthetic devices.

Left to right: Kathleen Coogan, Maya Breitenstein, Olivia Lenzo, and Hannah Gorin.