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Rhoades Middle School students take top awards at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair

The 69th Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair was held on March 15, 2023 at The Balboa Park Activity Center. The GSDSEF is the bi-county STEM research fair for San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Students that present the top projects are awarded scholarships, educational experiences, and cash prizes and selected to attend additional prestigious fairs. These include the Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge for middle school students, The California Science and Engineering Fair in April, and six high school students will be given all-expense paid trips to attend The Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair held in Dallas.

Nine students from The Rhoades School participated which resulted in the highest performing middle school in the county with 8 students winning 1st place awards (one project was a team project), 7 students qualifying for state (California Science & Engineering Fair/CSEF), and 4 students qualifying for national (Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge/ TFSJIC – Formerly Broadcom MASTERS).  

Of special note, Rhoades School students received 3 of the 8 top awards for the Junior Division:  

Junior Division – Life Sciences

Lily Long, The Rhoades School, Gr. 8, Advisor: R. Hunker, Exploring Academic Setting Applications of a Turing Test Derivative

Samuel Sternson, Gr. 7, The Rhoades School, Advisor: R. Hunker, Production of Natural UV-absorbing Sunscreens in Plant Leaves

Junior Division – Physical Sciences

Keanu Zeller, Gr. 7, The Rhoades School, Advisor: Roxanne Hunker, Tilt Angle Effects on Eddy Current Impacts

 Several students also received professional society awards:  

  • Lily Long: San Diego Psychological Association, and Association for Women in Science  
  • Sami Sternson: DOD STEM Leadership Prize, and Society of American Military Engineers
  • Keanu Zeller: Professional Engineers in California Govt., and American Society of Non-Destructive Testing
  • Adam Jaimovich & Zakari Sayed: San Diego Section, American Chemical Society
  • Medha Ravi: San Diego Psychological Association; and John Powers: Marine Technology Society 


  • CC Capaldi: Investigating the Effectiveness of a UVC Wand on Bacteria Mortality, 1st Place, CSEF qualified and TFSJIC qualified
  • Medha Ravi: EarYe! EarYe!: Effects of Earbuds, Ordinary Headphones, and Noise-Canceling Headphones on Desire Music Decibel Level, 1st Place, CSEF qualified
  • Adam Jaimovich & Zakari Sayed: Efficacy of Various Spice Extracts in Combating Potential Stimulant Hazards, 1st Place, CSEF qualified
  • Olivia Go:– Assessing Empathetic Results Based on Audi vs. Visual Stimuli, 1st Place
  • John Powers: Investigating Optimal Weight Distribution for Stability of a Homemade ROV, 3rd Place

In the Senior Division, Rhoades School alumni, Tejas Ravi & Bhadra Rupesh, also earned 1st Place awards 

Congratulations to all of our Rhoades students who participated!

For more information and a complete list of winners, visit www.gsdsef.org.


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