Southern Arizona had its fair share of winners in an international science competition this year, including a young man from Oro Valley whose potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease won him three top awards, a scholarship to the University of Arizona and a trip to next year’s Nobel Prize ceremony.
Jeremiah Pate missed his graduation from Basis Oro Valley High School on Friday to collect his awards in Los Angeles at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, said Liz Baker, deputy director of the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation, or SARSEF.
Baker said the Dudley R. Herschbach Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar Award is one of the top three prizes at the competition. It includes a week-long trip to the Nobel Prize ceremony.
Pate won a total of $8,000 in cash prizes, the trip to Stockholm and an offer of a four-year UA scholarship worth $40,000 for his science fair entry, which proposed a potential therapy and path to arrest the progress of Parkinson’s disease.
Awards of $1,000 each were also given to Pate’s high school and to SARSEF, which puts on the Southern Arizona science fair.
Joseph Galasso, a home-schooled student, won a $1,000 third-place award and was offered scholarships to both the UA and Arizona State University for his invention of a device to make seawater potable by using super-absorbent polymers in the filtering process.
Amanda Minke, of Immaculate Heart High School in Oro Valley, was also offered a UA scholarship.
Baker said it was Minke’s fourth year of working on devices to filter lead from water and that she used a welder in her garage to fabricate this year’s device. It uses algae as a filter.
Natalia Jacobson, of Empire High School, was offered an ASU scholarship for her work on Nosema apis, a fungal parasite that infects bees and is suspected of being a factor in colony collapse.
A team of high-school freshman from three different schools were awarded $1,000 for their work on 3-D printed aids for healing fractures in wild birds.
Jeremy Wang, Catalina Foothills High School; Meena Ravishankar, University High School; and Vishakk Rajendran, Basis Tucson North, had previously competed together in elementary grades, said Baker.
Baker said the showing by the Southern Arizona students was gratifying.
“The fact that we had so many do so well is remarkable,” she said.