Sigma Xi Awards Teamwork at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

May 18, 2016

Judges Intel ISEF 2016When members of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society judge at the world's largest high school research competition, they not only look for quality research. They seek the best examples of teamwork. Through its membership network, Sigma Xi brings together professional and student researchers from different disciplines. Similarly, at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), Sigma Xi's judging team awarded $6,000 in total as Sigma Xi's Special Awards for Team Science to promote research collaborations. 

"Colleagues on the Judging Advisory Committee, on which I have served for several years, were impressed with Sigma Xi's goals of awarding good team science that makes a difference where the students are. Nobody else looks at projects this way," said Linda Mantel, a Sigma Xi judge at Intel ISEF and president of Sigma Xi's Columbia-Willamette Chapter.

Approximately 1,700 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, or territories showcased their independent research for Intel ISEF. They competed for more than $4 million in awards May 8–13 in Phoenix, Arizona. The fair is a program for Society for Science & the Public. It is funded jointly by Intel and the Intel Foundation with additional support from organizations such as Sigma Xi. Students earned an invitation by winning affiliated local, regional, state, and national science fair competitions.

Eman Ghanem, Sigma Xi's director of Membership, Chapters, and Programs, presented a session titled, "Too Young to Publish Science? Think Again." She discussed Sigma Xi's refereed journal for pre-college research, Chronicle of The New Researcher.

The following Sigma Xi members, listed with their Sigma Xi chapter affiliation, volunteered as judges. They evaluated approximately 280 poster presentations in 22 research disciplines to select Sigma Xi's Team Science Award winners. Janelle Simmons, Sigma Xi's manager of programs, coordinated the judging process.

  • Nadia Chacko, Member-at-Large

  • Alfred Cocanower, Arizona State University Chapter

  • Ben Colombi, University of Arizona Chapter

  • Eman Ghanem, Research Triangle Park Chapter

  • M.C. Horton, Arizona State University Chapter

  • Linda Mantel, Columbia-Willamette Chapter

  • Michael Quinlan, Arizona State University Chapter

  • Malgosia Wilk-Blaszczak, University of Texas at Arlington Chapter

  • Tug Yasar, Arizona State University Chapter

"It was uplifting to see that there is a strong, new generation with fresh, bright ideas," said Sigma Xi judge Tug Yasar of the Arizona State University Chapter.

The following teams won Sigma Xi's 2016 Intel ISEF Team Science Awards. In addition to their monetary prize, these student researchers were invited to become members of Sigma Xi and to submit a paper for publication in Chronicle of The New Researcher. In addition, their schools will receive a gift of a one-year digital subscription to Sigma Xi's magazine, American Scientist

Life Science

First Place $2,000 Award

Category: Animal Science

Winners Intel ISEF 2016

A Silk Sheath Production Frame Developed from Negative Geotropic Spinning Behavior of Silkworms Resulted in Silk Sheath with High Homogeneity (Also won a Grand Award for second place in their category)

  • Charuntorn Doungnga, 18, Damrongratsongkroh School, Chiang Rai, Thailand

  • Runglawan Charpugdee, 17, Damrongratsongkroh School, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Second Place $1,000 Award

Category: Translational Medical Science
Predicting a Cancerous Outcome: Creating a Novel Test for Assessing Risk of Human Papilloma Virus-Associated Oropharyngeal Cancer (Also won the Grand Award for first place in their category and won the Intel ISEF “Best of Category” Award)

  • Prashant Sai Godishala, 18, Breck School, Golden Valley, Minnesota

  • Brennan Scott Clark, 18, Breck School, Golden Valley, Minnesota

Physical Science

First Place $2,000 Award

Category: Embedded Systems
Eye-controlled Wheelchair: A Low-cost Open Source Hard- and Software System Allowing Independent Mobility for People with Severe Disabilities (Also won a Grand Award for second place in their category)

  • Myrijam Stoetzer, 15, Franz-Haniel-Gymnasium, Duisburg, Germany

  • Paul Foltin, 16, Franz-Haniel-Gymnasium, Duisburg, Germany

Second Place $1,000 Award

Category: Environmental Engineering
Desalination by Pervaporation System (Also won a Grand Award for fourth place in their category)

  • Haya Ahmed Mohamed, 16, STEM School for Girls, Benisuef, Egypt

  • Mdouna Attaalla, 17, STEM School for Girls, Cairo, Egypt

Photo captions
Top Photo:
Most of the Sigma Xi judging team at the 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. 

Bottom photo: The winners of Sigma Xi's Special Awards for Team Science, pictured with Sigma Xi's Director of Membership, Chapters, and Programs Eman Ghanem, fourth from left, and Sigma Xi's Manager of Programs, Janelle Simmons, third from left.

More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety