FSHA Students Awarded Grants for Research Program

Photo courtesy FSHAAmelia Andrews, Genevieve Spiotto, Michelle Liu, Cate Doud, Ellis DeJardin, Darcy Michero, Claire Villegas and Lauren Risha
Photo courtesy FSHA
Amelia Andrews, Genevieve Spiotto, Michelle Liu, Cate Doud, Ellis DeJardin, Darcy Michero, Claire Villegas and Lauren Risha

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy students in honors scientific research (aka SciSearch) have been awarded three Archer STEM Research Grants, a STEM initiative sponsored by the Archer School for Girls. Grant recipients include Amelia Andrews, Ellis DeJardin, Cate Doud, Michelle Liu, Darcy Michero, Lauren Risha, Genevieve Spiotto and Claire Villegas.
More than $20,000 was available through the merit-based application process; all of FSHA’s students who submitted proposals received funding, for a total of $5,500.
The institutional support from FSHA is the primary source of funding for student projects. Outside funding makes it possible to purchase a major analytical instrument and expensive reagents that extend the scope of the work proposed by these eight students.
Only a select group of students are chosen to participate in the intensive research class. Students must meet a specific grade threshold and are also interviewed to ensure that they are willing and able to take on the extra workload in addition to their other classes. These students soon realize that conducting undergraduate to graduate level research requires more than intelligence, but a strong work ethic and resilience.
The research projects were chosen to address current world problems in medicine and the environment. The first year the students studied the lipid content of algae in order to optimize the production of biofuel. During the second year, the students further expanded their research of biofuel from algae, in addition to beginning research into possible solutions to antibiotic resistant bacteria.
The students discovered that by keeping algae in the dark and feeding it molasses — a byproduct of extracting sugar from sugar cane — it dramatically increased the speed in which the algae grew. Thus, solving both a problem of waste management, as well as enhancing production of biofuel.
The students are not only gaining skills they will need to succeed in the field of science, they are becoming ambassadors of science to their community.

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