Two students at Midvale Middle are part of a group that has received the regional President’s Environmental Youth Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Trojans Abigail Slama-Catron and and Eric Snaufer, along with two others from the Beehive Science and Technology Academy, earned the prestigious award for their "Bionic Scarecrow" device, which was created with the aim of keeping birds away from nesting in the wetlands around the Salt Lake International Airport. 

Last Thursday, Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Suzanne Bohan visited the middle school to present the award to Midvale Middle's Slama-Catron and Snaufer and Timothy Holt and Allison Drennan, who previously attended Sunrise Elementary and now attend Beehive Academy. The group of sixth-graders also demonstrated the award-winning project and answered questions from other students about their research and methods.

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe also attended the award presentation and congratulated the students on their ingenuity and dedication.

“These student winners are exemplary leaders, committed to strong environmental stewardship and problem solving,” EPA Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Suzanne Bohan said. “Environmental education cultivates our next generation of leaders by teaching them to apply creativity and innovation to the environmental challenges we face as a nation. I have no doubt that students like these will someday solve some of our most complex and important issues.”

The Environmental Youth Award recognizes outstanding environmental education and stewardship projects from sixth- through 12th-grade students. Students from all 50 states and U.S. territories submit life-changing innovative projects to the EPA for consideration.

The region includes Utah, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Abigail also produced a winning Canyons District Film Festival film on the project.

See the students' appearance on ABC4 "Good Morning Utah" during which they talked about the proejct.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert was among the dignitaries who attended an open house and ribbon-cutting for RizePoint, a software company that is re-locating to the Canyons District community.

At the Wednesday, March 23 event at the firm’s new beachhead, 2890 E. Cottonwood Parkway, the District received 10 $500 scholarships to be used on STEM-related activities. Herbert presented the scholarships to Board of Education members Nancy Tingey and Amber Shill during the festivities.

"While academic achievement is our main focus, the Canyons Board of Education is also dedicated to maintaining relationships with the business sector. Only by working together can we build up world-class schools that will prepare students for the demands of the 21st century global marketplace," said Sherril H. Taylor, president of the Canyons Board of Education.

"We welcome the support that RizePoint brings to our community and express appreciation for the company's generosity in helping our students excel in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics."

RizePoint software is used by five of the top eight hospitality brands, including Marriott, Intercontinental, Hilton, and Wyndham, and five of the top eight food-service brands, including McDonald's, Starbucks, Wendy's, and Pizza Hut.
When more than 400 hundred business and marketing teachers meet this summer for a statewide conference, one of the first things they will see is Brady Hartog’s colorful handiwork.

The artwork on the cover of the conference program is a crisp and snappy design that was created by the Hillcrest High freshman, who won the chance to have his work featured. 

Teacher Ed Mondragon encouraged Hartog to enter the Utah State Office of Education-sponsored cover-design contest, which was Hartog’s first-ever entry to such a competition.

Mondragon praised his student for blending his computer-science skills with his creative side. “He’s artistic — and he does programming, too,” Mondragon said of Hartog, who also is a member of the school’s Future Business Leaders of America chapter. “He’s someone who can help our FBLA program for several years.” 

Laura DeShazo, the business and marketing specialist from the USOE, recently visited Hillcrest to announce Brady as the winner of the competition.

In addition to the publication of his work on the conference covers, Hartog also received an Adobe Creative Suite software license.

For his part, Hartog says it’s “great to get my work seen by so many people.”

What’s clear, however, is that the sky is the limit for the well-spoken ninth-grader. While he “can’t deny the possibility” of becoming a professional graphic designer, he says he also “could be an engineer. Or maybe the President of the United States.”

Who will win the Canyons District Science Fair? Help us decide!

Volunteer science fair judges are being sought to evaluate hundreds of entries in the Science Fairs for Canyons District elementary and secondary students.  

Judging for the elementary fair will be 4-7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 9 in the Professional Development Center of the Canyons Support Services Center, 9361 S. 300 East. A training meeting for judges will be 3:30-4 p.m.

The secondary fair also will be in the Professional Development Center of the Canyons Support Services Center. Judging will be 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The judges’ training meeting will be 3:30-4 p.m.

Interested? You can fill out an online registration form and volunteer application on our website.

All volunteers must pass a criminal background check in accordance with state law.

Brandon Cui knows how to remove heavy metals from water using a banana peel, process data with waves of light, and make a simple baking-soda volcano — and it all started in his mother’s kitchen.

The Hillcrest High senior — one of only 40 students in the nation to qualify for the final level of competition with the Intel Science Talent Search — has always had a love for science, thanks to his mother and the experiments they did together at home. He started small, making a pH meter out of cabbage and exploding baking soda volcanoes, then moved on to entering his projects in the science fair at age 10 — and every year since.

“When I went to competitions I was able to see what everyone else was researching and I found it so incredible that everyone in the scientific community — we work to better the world,” Cui says. “All of us are working together for the scientific frontier. It’s not about one of us working the lab alone, it’s working together for humanity.”

This year, Cui’s project, “Demonstration and Characterization of Split-ring Resonators as Terahertz Wave Guides,” was chosen out of 1,800 entries to be a finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition. Historically, students who have participated in the Science Talent Search have gone on to receive more than 100 of the world's highest honors, according to a statement from the organizers of the competition. Science Talent Search alumni have won eight Nobel Prizes, two Fields Medals, five National Medals of Science and 12 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships. 

"The 40 finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search are some of the best and brightest young scientists in the nation," said Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of Society for Science & the Public and publisher of Science News.

Cui is the only student from Utah to be selected to participate in the finals of the March 5 competition and receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. He will compete for more than $1 million in awards from the Intel Foundation. The honor is one in a list of accomplishments for the young scientist. Cui has been selected as a winner of the First Step to the Nobel Prize in Physics. He is one of just five students in the world to achieve such a prestigious recognition.

“I’m hoping to go there and do well, but truly I’m just looking forward to meeting the other finalists and seeing what they’ve done,” Cui says of the Intel competition. “I think that’s what this experience is about — going there and meeting 40 other people who have an interest in science. I think that is incredible.”

The gist of Cui’s project allows information to be transferred optically, through light, rather than electronically. The technology would allow you to, say, transfer a highdefinition movie through a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection in seconds, rather than hours. His experiment shows how it is possible to use a super lens to see DNA without any other aids, or create cloaking-field technology. His project would take more development to reach that point, Cui says, but the concept and application is already there and available.

Cui loves science so much he wishes all of his school-age peers would participate in science fairs. That’s why he helped found the Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair Student Advisory Board in 2012. Cui helps tutor refugees, mentor and judge elementary and middle school science fairs, and run an annual benefit event to make sure the Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair has enough funds to continue.

“For me, science started with the smallest things, the smallest little experiments in my kitchen,” Cui says. “That’s what the benefit does, help people become exposed to science and develop a love for science. It’s an integral part of our lives.”

This year’s benefit carnival will take place from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 23, at the Salt Lake Center for Science and Education, 1400 Goodwin Ave. in Salt Lake City. Visitors can donate directly to the science fair or purchase tickets to participate and view demonstrations that will, “Inspire people to love science the rest of their lives,” Cui says. Tickets are $3 per person and $12 per family. Children under age 5 are free, and everyone is welcome.


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