Middle school STEM students attend LACSEF, win in four categories


Photo credit: Jerilyn Joel

The 10 middle school students who participated in LASEF, pose for a picture at the fair. This year’s conference took place in March, and the State Fair will occur later this month.

Ecology, pharmacology and space sciences were a handful of the competition categories at the annual Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair [LACSEF] in Pasadena, CA.

This year, 10 middle school students participated in the competition under the advisement of science teachers Larisa Carter and Jerilyn Joel. The students traveled to the venue on Friday, Mar. 23 and Saturday, Mar. 24.

According to Joel, 878 students from 117 different schools competed in the fair. The Archer delegation included seventh graders Shayna Bresnick, Sydney Frank, Karen Garcia, Coco Greene, Violet Jean, Katie Hadsock-Longarzo and Allison Stein, and eighth graders Quincey Gordon, Ava Rothenberg, and Noa Wallock.

Science teacher Larisa Carter highlighted the middle schoolers’ dedication to their individual projects.

“Each eighth grader worked on her project outside of school on her own time. There were only three eighth graders, and they all worked on their projects alone,” Carter said. “I’m so proud of them and thrilled that they had a memorable experience at the fair.”

Infographic by Cybele Zhang ’18.

In total, there were 22 disciplines that students could participate in, and Archer students won in the following categories: ecology, pharmacology, space sciences, plant biology and physiology. Rothenberg and Wallock, who placed first and second in their respective categories, will compete in the state fair later this month.

“[LACSEF] was the most professional environment I’ve ever been in,” Rothenberg wrote in an email interview. “I definitely want to pursue a career in a scientific field, so this felt like a really immersive experience in that area.”

Rothenberg also emphasized how appreciative she is of Archer’s STEM program.

“I really love that Archer has so many opportunities for students [interested in science],” Rothenberg wrote. “There should definitely be more chances for kids in general to try things like this because LACSEF was an amazing experience.”