Visitation Among First Place Awardees from DC STEM Fair


After placing first in the Senior Division at the DC STEM Fair in March, Cat Lemus ‘19 will head to Pittsburgh next week, where she will represent Washington, DC in the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair. Cat was among four Visitation juniors, including Sofia Flynn, Caroline Magro, and Isabella Sobolewski, who participated in the STEM Fair, and one of three who placed first in her category. All received special awards.

Caroline placed first in Biomedical and Health Science for her project to improve regular cardiac testing, using coding to display graphic representation of the heartbeat from a stethoscope. “I have always been fascinated by math and its problem-solving applications. Science and especially the study of the human body intrigues me and I enjoy researching solutions to common medical ailments,” Caroline said. “STEM incorporates both of these topics and allows me to brainstorm treatments and devices that may impact the future of medicine.”

Science teacher Quillian Haralson helped the girls to prepare for the STEM Fair and accompanied them at the competition. “Our students are consistently presenting exceptional projects,” he said. “... I am extremely proud that our students are being recognized as potential future scientists.”

Caroline credits Mr. Haralson with helping her to “incorporate my prior anatomical knowledge of the heart with newfound coding and engineering techniques,” and introducing her to coding and its applications in healthcare. She hopes to study Biochemistry or Biomedical Engineering in college, followed by medical school to pursue her dream of becoming a pediatric cardiac surgeon. While she knows her math and science classes are integral to STEM success, she is also thankful for her English teachers, and has worked to improve her writing “to ensure that I effectively communicate the findings of my projects.”

Awards presented to Visitation students include:

  • Cat placed first in her category, Energy: Physical, for her engineering project harnessing water waves to generate electrical energy;
  • Sofia placed first in Systems Software for coding a Python program capable of calculating the value of the decryption key in RSA encryption;
  • Isabella received more than five special awards, including first place from the Association for Women Geoscientists, for her project to determine if a natural weed killer made from allelopathic plants could suppress plant growth more than a store-bought weed killer.
  • AllSchool
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