Flintridge Prep Science Fair Showcases Students’ Understanding of the Scientific Method

The Flintridge Preparatory School Science Fair, held this year on Feb. 13 and 14, is a high point for the entire middle school. One hundred 7th and 8th graders exhibit their work in the gym, with high school students, faculty and family coming by to wander the displays.


“It’s wonderful,” says science teacher Hilary Thomas. “It’s about the only night with the middle school and their families gathered together, showing their work. The whole school really turns out for the fair.”


Every 7th grader submits a traditional science project, while 8th graders show off their Community Impact Project (CIP), which combines work in the community with scientific evaluation of the results. Judges from the parent body and larger community who are professionals in science and philanthropy vote on the top projects in both grades, quiz the entrants and award prizes.


Creating a project is an integral part of the middle school program. Most students’ projects spring from an interest: cooking, music, animals, sports; science projects were inspired by World War II, duct tape and magnetism.

CIPs by 8th graders are intended to grow into projects that they can continue in high school, and many students said they planned to keep up their CIPs throughout their Prep careers.


This year, 7th graders investigated Frisbee aerodynamics (Ryan Huntley ’19); the relationship of workouts, gender and lung capacity (Alex Bucur ’19); the effect of chilling onions on their stinging capacity (Kyla Kikkawa ’19); the moisture preference of pill bugs (Claire Liu ’19) the smudgability of mascara (Delila Brown ’19), and the best ear bud (Helen Rossi ’19). They competed in three broad categories: Psychology, Physiology and Athletics; Biology and Product Science; and Physics, Math and Chemistry.


Eighth graders volunteered all over the San Gabriel Valley, with their projects falling into the categories of Nature and Philanthropy; Children, Elderly and Disabled; and Health, Hunger and Homelessness. In addition to overseeing and working on their own projects, each 8th grader was required to volunteer for a classmate’s project.

Stephanie Meyer ’18 organized a Christmas party for CAPS, a day care center for adults with Alzheimer’s. She organized and directed the caterer, found a karaoke host, recruited a jazz band from LACHSA, and, with a $100 budget for decorations, worked with student volunteers to make snowflakes and wrap boxes to create a festive atmosphere. Nine fellow students helped with the party on the big day.

“Everybody sang along to Karaoke, and it was super adorable,” Stephanie reported. She is currently helping CAPS with creating arts and crafts to enhance and improve clients’ cognitive skills.

Scott Lew ’18 created a Neighborhood Emergency Plan and plans to widen the scope of his simple, effective program to bring neighbors together in times of emergency. James Ayers ’18 shared his love of the cello with members of an elementary school orchestra. Inspired by his mother, Max Boldes ‘18 created a project to supply books on wellness to people facing cancer.

“Let’s Bag Poverty” by Lauren Dundee ’18 was a multi-pronged effort to help families in need. In all, 65 families were fed for one day; 26 families got toiletries; seven received a night’s shelter; 34 received a set of school supplies; eight families were able to stay overnight at Ronald McDonald House, and 43 people received an outfit. Lauren put in 102 hours, with businesses donating 33 hours, neighbors 61, students 27, and her friends and family 46. Ninety-five percent of her volunteers felt a sense of achievement and 100% would volunteer again.

A small but significant portion of the science fair is the high school section. High school students exhibited their projects in physics, engineering and biology, using 3-D printers, liquid nitrogen, and nano technology, prepping for the LA County Science Fair.


Named Best of Fair in the High School category was Vick Liu ’16, for his blood separation device. Best of Fair Middle School Science winner was Bavan Rajan ’19 for his project, “It’s a Sweet Tongue not a Sweet Tooth,” and Best of Fair Community Impact Project winner was Kat Lazier ’18 for her equine therapy work.

Fair winners in all categories are listed below. Congratulations to all the participants in this year’s science fair, and big thank you to the judges who provided invaluable input to Prep students.


Best of Fair Winners
High School: Vick Liu
Middle School: Bavan Rajan
Community Impact: Kat Lazier

High School Division
1st Place: Nikhil Poole
2nd Place: Makayla Campbell
3rd Place: Nanita Balagopal

Middle School Psychology, Physiology, Athletics
1st Place: Melissa Grande
2nd Place: Ryan Huntley
3rd Place: Lara Friedman

Middle School Biology and Product Science
1st Place: Evy Molebash
2nd Place: Delila Brown
3rd Place: Nicole Song

Middle School Physics, Math, Chemistry 1st Place: Sean Browne
2nd Place: Matt Ng
3rd Place: Joshua Perkins

Community Impact: Nature and Philanthropy
1st Place: Cole Slater
2nd Place: Katie Lee
3rd Place: Wylie Kasai

Community Impact: Children, Elderly and Disabled
1st Place: Sophia Pawlek
2nd Place: Jade Whaley
3rd Place: Stephanie Meyer

Community Impact: Health, Hunger and Homelessness
1st Place: Izzy Wachtel
2nd Place: Lauren Dundee
3rd Place: Mona Cesario

Honorable Mentions
Olivia Markowitz and Jonathan Wang (Team)
Isabela Apodaca
Dima Bazzi
Brett Bell
Nicholas Davis
Clarice Hooley
Scott Lew
Conrad Oakes
Olivia Wang
Kelly Yang
Alex Bucur
Robbie Case
Christina Fan
Chris Johnson
Claire Liu
Mei-Li Okumura
Sydney Yates

Presentation Awards 8th James Ayers
Gabi Bennett
Max Boldes
Sivert Glarum
Nikki Glover
Majeed Ismail
Kat Lazier
Scott Lew
Sophia LePera
Mounir Saunders-Newton
Cole Slater
Jade Whaley
Olivia Wong

ACL Award Olivia Wong

Presentation Awards 7th Christina Fan
Helia Fotoohi
Lara Friedman
Ryan Huntley
Chris Johnson
David Kim
Kyla Kikkawa
Gillis Linde
Bavan Rajan
Rithik Jain
Nicole Song

Flintridge Preparatory School, 4543 Crown Avenue, La Cañada Flintridge, (818) 790-1178 or visit www.flintridgeprep.org.

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