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Hours of hard work pay off for Sunnyside science students

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Sunnyside High School senior Sarah Berumen's science project earned top honors at the Mid-Columbia Regional Science and Engineering Fair, as well as numerous other awards.

KENNEWICK - Last week the science projects so many Sunnyside students spent hours laboring over were transported to Columbia Center Mall for the Mid-Columbia Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

All the effort paid off for many of those students, especially Sarah Berumen of Sunnyside High School.

She was the grand prize winner for her project entitled "Bacticidal Behavior and the Effects of Nanoparticles in the Environment."

That means Berumen automatically qualifies for an all-expenses paid trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz. this coming May.

"I used commercial products containing nanosilver and tested them against three common bacteria and euglena," Berumen said, explaining the premise of her project.

She said nanoparticles are one-billionth of a meter in size. They are commonly used in medical engineering. Computer chips are made of nonoparticles, as well.

Berumen said euglena are tiny green creatures at the base of the food chain.

"By observing the effects of nanosilver on euglena I could obtain an idea on how the rest of the food chain is affected," said Berumen.

She said she also used metal tubes lined with nanosilver and nanogold to see if the two substances could be useful for water purification purposes.

Berumen's science project, which required approximately 140 hours of work to complete, also garnered the U.S. Air Force certificate for achievement, the USDA Agricultural Research Service and Washington State Potato Commission Outstanding 12th Grade Biological Science Project honors, and Berumen was presented the Eastern Washington Chapter of the Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers and SigmaXi best use of the scientific method awards.

Several other Sunnyside High School students received recognition at the regional event.

Edgar Perez earned the U.S. Army Certificate of Achievement; Amanda Bestebreur was presented honorable mention honors, the Office of Naval Research Senior award and the Structural Engineers Association of Washington award; Payton Sample's project was recognized with honorable mention honors, the USDA Agricultural Research Service and Washington State Potato Commission Outstanding 10th Grade Biological Science Project honors, GENIUS Olympiad trip to SUNY in Oswego, New York, and Water Environment Federation-Stockholm Junior Water Prize; Thalia Borja earned the USDA Agricultural Research Service and Washington State Potato Commission Outstanding 11th grade Biological Science Project honors and Water Environment Federation-Stockholm Junior Water Prize; Gardena Contreras won awards from the Society of Women Engineers, Mu Alpha Theta and Society for In Vitro Biology Certificate of Outstanding Achievement; Jasmine Gonzalez earned honorable mention honors and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers award; and Leah Diddens was presented the Jerry Finnegan Memorial award.

Gabriela Estrada earned the Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society Outstanding Project Enhancing the Avian Environment award; Hunter Zieske earned honorable mention honors and the Paul Rittman award for the best project involving ballistic technology; and Trajen Frank earned honorable mention honors.

Awards of distinction for clarity of project were presented to Zach Zamora, Jacqueline Kranz, Stanley Martinez, Angelica Mercado, Cintia Navarette, Edgar Perez, Eunice Perez, Claudia Rivera, Crystal Cruz, Leah Diddens and Marlenne Garibay.

For creativity Thomas Waywell, Mariana Gonzalez, Vianca Herrera, Jacquie Limon and Trajen Frank were all honored.

Thalia Borja, Fernando Farias and Zach Halma were all presented awards of distinction for engineering; Matalynny Meyers, Alexis Ozuna, Jasmine Paxton and Victor Vargas were recognized for data analysis; and for experimental design, Gabriela Estrada, Jayleen Leon, Aaron Andrade, Juan Casas, Babriela Estrada, Christian Murphy, Karla Negrete, Samantha Rodriguez and Jasmine Starke were recognized.

Awards of distinction were also presented to Maria Alvarez, Brandon Bliesner, Mariana Cardenas, Anthony Chavez, Gardenia Contreras, Ashley Davis, Salvador Delgadillo, Xavier Hernandez and Hunter Zieske for novelty; perseverance recognition was presented to Lindsay Schilperoort, Alyson Spidle and Javier Tapia; distinction honors for scientific thought were presented to Payton Sample, Sarah Berumen and Jasmine Gonzalez; and the award of distinction for thoroughness was presented to Amanda Bestebreur and Carlos Correa.

Sunnyside Christian High School's Zach Halma was also a winner at the regional science fair. He earned third-place honors, the U.S. Air Force Certificate of Achievement and the Office of Naval Research Senior awards.

Students at Harrison and Sierra Vista middle schools participated at the Mid-Columbia Regional Science and Engineering Fair, as well.

Sierra Vista Middle School student Maricela Santana earned Society of Women Engineers honorable mention honors for her project.

From Harrison Middle School, Andrew Diddens was presented with the Office of Naval Research Junior award, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers award, eighth grade Life Science runner-up honors and a Broadcom MASTERS national competition invitation.

Janessa Frank earned sixth grade honorable mentions, Allison Davis earned the Washington Apple Education Foundation certificate of excellence, Daisy Abonza earned seventh grade Life Science honorable mentions and Michael Condie earned seventh grade Life Science third-place honors and an invitation to the Broadcom MASTERS national competition.

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