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Student science project gains national recognition
Science FairLyla Arnold, a seventh-grader at YWLA, has been named by the Society for Science & the Public as well as the Broadcom Foundation as one of the Top 300 competitors in the 2020 Broadcom MASTERS® - the nation’s premier STEM competition for middle school students. 

“After I learned that my project ranked in the Top 300 among middle school science projects, I was overwhelmed with emotion,” said Lyla. “The first thing I thought of was all those who helped me get here: my mentor, teachers, and family. They always encouraged me to pursue my own interests, giving me the space to learn through trial and error and share my work. Furthermore, Broadcom has lifted my confidence and has shown me that my project is both meaningful and relevant to our  environmental health.”

Lyla’s project, A Prototype Device for Early Detection of Harmful Algae Blooms in Marine Ecosystems, was designed and built to predict when extreme algae bloom conditions were likely to appear in a body of water. 

“The device measures the color of the water and uses predictive models to anticipate the algae blooms,” said Rosanne Volpert, YWLA sixth- and seventh-grade science educator. “Extreme algae blooms can cause dead zones in a body of water, areas where aquatic life struggles to survive. The early warning this detector can provide will assist efforts to mitigate the dead zones’ impact on life.”

The Top 300 MASTERS were selected from the largest pool of applicants the competition has ever had, with 3,476 students from 42 states and Puerto Rico applying to be a Broadcom MASTER.  

Thirty of the top 300 Broadcom MASTERS will be selected as finalists by a panel of scientists, engineers and educators from around the nation on Sept. 16, 2020, and will compete for over $100,000 in awards and prizes.

“I am honored to congratulate the top 300 Broadcom MASTERS during what is a very challenging time,” said Maya Ajmera, president & CEO of the Society for Science & the Public.  “We are thrilled to be able to celebrate these amazing young scientists, who are poised to solve the world’s most intractable challenges.”

Science fairs across the country had to cancel their competitions in the spring of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In reaction, the Society and Broadcom Foundation opened up the Broadcom MASTERS competition to any student who registered to compete in a Society-affiliated science fair. Previously, only students who are named in the top 10% of their science fair were eligible to enter the Broadcom MASTERS, which is the only middle school STEM competition that leverages Society-affiliated science fairs as a critical component of the STEM talent pipeline. 

“Every Middle School student who had the passion and fortitude to complete his or her science or engineering project with hardships imposed to schooling and research is a hero and heroine in our eyes,” said Paula Golden, president of Broadcom Foundation. “They inspire us all and give us hope for the future.” 

In addition to a $125 cash prize, the Top 300 Broadcom MASTERS will receive a prize package containing an award ribbon, semifinalist certificate of accomplishment, Broadcom MASTERS backpack, a Broadcom MASTERS decal, a specialized Invention Journal, a one-year subscription to Wolfram Mathematica software, and a one-year family digital subscription to Science News magazine. 

In recognition of the role that teachers play in the success of their students, each designated teacher also will receive a Broadcom MASTERS tote bag; a special edition booklet of Science News for Students’ Invention & Innovation articles from The Lemelson Foundation; and a one-year digital subscription to Science News magazine. 

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