John Curtis Christian School’s Pizzolato Among 30 Of The Nation’s Middle School STEM Students To Compete For $100K+ In Awards

Rachel Pizzolato

NEW ORLEANS – John Curtis Christian School student Rachel Pizzolato, a top competitor at the Greater New Orleans Science & Engineering Fair (GNOSEF), has been named a top 30 finalist in the seventh annual Broadcom MASTERS,® the nation’s most prestigious Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) middle school competition, founded and produced by the Society for Science & the Public.

         Pizzolato will be competing for more than $100,000 in awards, including a top prize of $25,000.

         Pizzolato was selected by a panel of distinguished scientists and engineers from a record high of 2,499 applicants in 37 states, Puerto Rico and the Department of Defense overseas. The applicants were nominated to compete in the Broadcom MASTERS by placing among the top 10 percent of middle school competitors at Society-affiliated regional and state science fairs, including the Greater New Orleans Science & Engineering Fair. And for the second year in a row, there will be an equal number of male and female finalists competing in this prestigious competition, which seeks to inspire young scientists, engineers and innovators who will solve the grand challenges of the future.

         Pizzolato’s project is titled Generating Electricity By Harnessing Air That Flows Around A Skyscraper Using Bernoulli's Principle And The Venturi Effect With Special Emphasis On Biomimicry. “Is it possible to generate electricity by harnessing the wind that flows between skyscrapers?” Pizzolato asked. A trip to Disney World’s Epcot Center inspired her to think about using the wind energy that flows around structures. Pizzolato read up on aerodynamics. According to the Bernoulli principle, air flowing faster in a horizontal direction has less pressure than that flowing more slowly. She also learned about the Venturi effect. Basically, when there’s constant energy, fluid moving through a smaller, restricted area will speed up. The concepts explain the wind that often results as air flows between skyscrapers. Pizzolato wanted to put that energy to work. Pizzolato was a first place winner in the Junior Division and a Junior Division Grand Award Winner at the Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair held in February 2017.

         Finalist projects cover multiple disciplines of science, including environmental and earth science, medicine and health science, electrical and mechanical engineering, microbiology, biochemistry, bioengineering, computer science, software engineering, behavioral and social sciences, energy and sustainability, animal science, chemistry, and plant science.

         “Pizzolato is a stellar example of the type of students who have been participating in the Greater New Orleans Science & Engineering Fair for more than 60 years,” said Annette Oertling, Ph.D., GNOSEF co-director. “We are extremely proud of her accomplishments and already consider her a winner.”

         Winners will be named on October 24 in Washington, DC after finalists complete in a rigorous competition that will test their abilities in STEM, critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration.

         "These talented young scientists, mathematicians and engineers, whose projects range from computer science and mechanical engineering to microbiology and sustainability, are part of the generation that will solve the grand challenges we face today,” said Paula Golden, president of the Broadcom Foundation. “For many of our finalists, their first spark of curiosity was struck by a dedicated teacher, parent or friend who took the time to ignite their personal passion. Congratulations to each of our finalists and their adult role models and mentors who have put them on their road to discovery.”

         “I’m thrilled to see that for the second year in a row we have an equal number of male and female Broadcom MASTERS competitors,” said Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of Science News. “I am proud that the Society for Science & the Public, along with the Broadcom Foundation, is able to inspire and support such extraordinary young people.”

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