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Taft STEM Fellows Compete at State Science Fair; Sophie Chiang '23 Wins First Place Award

Taft STEM Fellows Compete at State Science Fair; Sophie Chiang '23 Wins First Place Award
Jackie Waters
On May 5, St. Mark’s Taft STEM Fellows participated in the High School Massachusetts Science and Engineering Fair at MIT. Students from across the state competed with more than 300 project entries in categories such as: biology, chemistry, psychology, engineering, computer science, and mathematics. When the results were announced May 9, three St. Markers were recognized for placing among the top 50 projects; Jiayi Yu ’23 and Arianne Motakef ’23 each earned an Honorable Mention, while Sophie Chiang ’23 won a First Place Award.

“By the numbers, Sophie had the fifth-highest scoring project at the whole fair!” shared Lindsey Lohwater, biology teacher and director of the Taft STEM Fellowship.

Chiang also won the Pauline J. Lamarche Award for "a project that displays excellence in design and implementation.” Chiang’s project, entitled “Attenuating Social Isolation-Induced Sickness Behavior in D. melanogaster using Minocycline,” highlighted minocycline as a potential treatment for social isolation-induced social withdrawal. You can read the abstract on page 18 of this Abstract Book for the fair.

At St. Mark’s, Taft STEM Fellows are chosen in the spring of the preceding year of the program and spend all summer conducting literature reviews of their topics, developing their research question, and beginning to speak with mentors. In the fall, fellows design the procedure for their experiment and execute this procedure. Then they compete at the regional fair in March, and those who qualify are able to compete at the state fair. St. Mark’s is also allowed to send two direct entries to the state fair each year.

“I am so proud of all the fellows,” said Lohwater, “and it is so nice to see a few of them given this extra recognition.”

Congratulations to this year’s Taft STEM Fellows!

Pictured: St. Mark’s Taft STEM Fellows Judy Xie, Sophie Chiang, Arianne Motakef, Yolanda Zhou, and Jiayi Yu.
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