SYNOPSYS ALAMEDA COUNMTY SCIENCE & ENGINEERING FAIR
We are pleased to announce that Shreya Ramachandran is one of 30 students from a field of 2,343 outstanding applicants from 300 Broadcom affiliated fairs nation –wide to be selected as a Broadcom Masters competition finalist for her 2016 science fair project. Shreya attends Stratford School in Fremont and is currently in the 8th grade.
In order to qualify for the national Broadcom Masters competition, when in the 7th grade, Shreya first registered and applied to the Synopsys Alameda County Science & Engineering Fair (SACSEF) where she was one of two middle school grand award winners which qualified her to move on to the national and state competitions. Incidentally her project also won a first place award at the California State Science Fair. The Synopsys Alameda County Science & Engineering Fair, held annually in March, is sponsored by the Synopsys Outreach Foundation, Oracle, Chevron, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia Laboratory, Cisco, East Bay Community Foundation, Professional Engineers in California Government, Alameda County Water and Wastewater Agencies and Galaxy Press.
The Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) rewards sixth, seventh and eighth grade students who follow their personal passions in science or engineering at 300 regional and state science fairs and inspires them to continue their studies in math and science throughout high school. As the students apply Project-Based Learning to the scientific method and the engineering process through hands-on challenges and competitions, they learn the 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity.
Shreya’s project is a timely one involving a better way to reduce fresh water and grey water for irrigation use. Shreya investigated and came up with a better choice than saving grey water to use for drought water saving gardening purposes. Shreya notes, that “many commercial laundry detergents have harmful chemicals.” In contrast, she says, soap nuts are a natural detergent made from the Indian soap berry. Shreya tested how wastewater from washing with soap nuts might work for irrigation.
Tactics and Results: Shreya planted 48 samples of tall fescue grass. One half grew in sandy soil. The other half was in sandy loam. Every three to four days, Shreya watered samples with one of four types of water. Regular tap water served as a control. Grey water from soap nuts, an organic detergent and a non-organic detergent were the three other types of water. Each week Shreya measured plant height and health conditions. She also took weekly samples of leachate, the liquid that passed through the soil. After six weeks, Shreya measured the biomass of thep lant tissue in each sample, and performed a detailed chemical analysis on the plants, soils and grey water. “The soap nut greywater treatment led to similar levels of soil and plant nutrients when compared to the regular water treatment,” she reports. In other words, it worked just as well. In contrast, Shreya found, the non-organic detergent led to high levels of boron in both soils and plant tissue. And while organic detergent wastewater did not have that problem, plant growth for those samples was less, on average. Also, Shreya notes, the organic detergent cost more than twice as much as the soap nuts.
Other Interests: Shreya loves participating on debate teams. She also enjoys Indian classical music, especially singing and playing a stringed instrument called the veena. Reading, bicycling, art and gardening are among her other favorite pastimes. Shreya hopes to become a medical doctor. “I think it is a great way to help people,” she says.
“Broadcom MASTERS inspires middle school students from all walks of life to envision their future as scientists, engineers and innovators. We are delighted to see growing interest in STEM fields among both girls and boys," said Paula Golden, President of the Broadcom Foundation. "This year marks the Broadcom MASTERS highest competition pool ever, with thousands of nominees nationwide entering their research projects for consideration by prestigious scientists and engineers throughout the nation.
Synopsys ACSEF is now registering students and accepting applications for the 2017 science fair.