Junior Academy of Science State & Regional Competition Winners for 2023
Throughout the spring, students from around the state participated in the New Mexico Junior Academy Science Paper Competition. The winners from the participating New Mexico regions qualified to participate in the statewide competition held at the New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair April 15-16, 2023. Congratulations to all the students that competed, gaining this valuable experience doing science and learning how to share it with a broad audience, and many thanks to their mentors. We are proud to list the statewide and regional winners here.
Students competed in the Junior Division (Grades 6-8) or the Senior Division (Grades 9-12). Up to the top four papers received case awards in both Divisions and Levels of the competition: Regional ($250, $200, $150, and $100) and State ($400, $300, $200, and $100).
Statewide Senior Division
1st place – Daniel Kim, Los Alamos High School, Engineered Underwater Vehicle for Ocean Litter Mapping – see abstract below
2nd place – Sebastian Stoker, Albuquerque Institute for Math and Science, Analyzing the Most Effective Methods for Sequestration of Aquatic Microplastics
3rd place – Marcus Nahalea, Navajo Preparatory, Farmington, Analysis of the Aquas Zarcas Carbonaceous Chondrite Meteorite & Comparison with Asteroids
4th place – Paul Melendres, Eldorado High School, Albuquerque, Human Cerebral Cortex Structure and a Mathematical Construct to Further Medical Research
Statewide Junior Division
1st place– Andy Stoker, Albuquerque Institute for Math and Science, Using Ant Graphs to Test Ant Communicator Skills
2nd place – Oliver Groves, Jefferson Middle School, Albuquerque, Children’s Health & Contact with Microorganisms in Outdoor and Indoor Activities
3rd place – Lucas Rychener, St. Teresa of Avilia Catholic School, Grants, How Effective is Your Sunscreen?
4th place – David Brooke, Albuquerque Institute of Math and Science, Creating an Efficient and Inexpensive Desalination Device
San Juan Region Senior Division
1st place – Marcus Nahalea, Analysis of the Aguas Zarcas Carbonaceous Chondrite Meteorite and Comparison with Asteroids
2nd place – Jordyn Begay, Identification of the Artificial Synthesis of Aromatic Amino Acid Tyrosine, Based on Pi to Pi* Absorbance Peaks
3rd place – Haylei Redhouse, The Physics and Aerodynamics of Archery Arrows on a 20-Pound Recurve Bow with a 27 Inch Draw Length
4th Place – Aspyn Kaskalla, Journey of the Talking Shard: Analytical Chemistry as Applied to a Native American Pottery Shard
4 Corners Region Senior Division
1st place – Chloe Rychener, The Effect of Chemical Pollutants on Water Ecosystems
4 Corners Region Junior Division
1st place – Harry Lee, Oryctolagus cuniculus Urine Fertilizer
2nd place – Lucus Rychener, How Effective is your Sunscreen?
3rd place – Emma Munson, Bending Light
Central Region Senior Division
1st place – Sebastian Stroker, Grade 9, Analyzing the Most Effective Methods for Sequestration of Aquatic Microplastics
2nd place – Paul Melendres , Grade 11, Human Cerebral Cortex Structure and a Mathematical Construct to Further Medical Research
3rd place – Jacob Trappett , Grade 12, Malicious URL Identification with Open-Source Security Tools
4th place – Charlie Groves, Grade 9, Health Hazard Particulate Matter Present in Smoke
Central Region Junior Division
1st place – Oliver Groves, Grade 8, Children’s Health and Contact with Microorganisms in Outdoor and Indoor Activities
2nd place – David Brooke, Grade 7, Creating an Efficient and Inexpensive Desalination Device
3rd place – Anderson Stroker, Grade 7, Using Ant Graphs to Test Ant Communication Skills
Northeast Region Senior Division
1st place – Daniel Kim, Engineered Underwater Vehicle for Ocean Litter Mapping
Engineered Underwater Vehicle for Ocean Litter Mapping
Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos NM
This project explores the possibilities of pairing an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) with a deep-learning computer vision model for marine debris mapping. A cost effective, 3D-printed AUV with a motorized ballast system was designed to collect underwater footage continuously at various depths for several weeks. A simulated underwater environment using hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) procedures was used to test and evaluate the AUV. A trash detection machine learning model was developed to analyze the footage for underwater litter. To assess the accuracy and capabilities of the trash detection model, footage from various underwater vehicles was compiled and run through the model, yielding five areas of highly concentrated ocean debris at depths of 500-800 meters below the surface. This study highlights how many pieces of marine debris – undetectable by satellite data – can be mapped and categorized with the proposed AUV and trash detection model.
KEYWORDS: Autonomous underwater vehicle; Hardware-in-the-loop; Tracking and mapping; Marine debris; Real-time object detector; Machine learning.