Altamont Science Students Garner Top State and National Awards

Posted: March 11, 2011

The strength of the Altamont science program has been on display this year at several major fairs and competitions. Altamont’s Robotics and Engineering program won first place in the UAB BEST Robotics Competition with their robot The Hauler. Several key innovations such as a rack and pinion data collection port and hand cut coaster wheels gave The Hauler distinct advantages.

Altamont competed in the University of Alabama Regional Science Olympiad on Saturday, February 12th. Simon Tomlinson ’14 placed first in Compute This; Nathan Sorscher ‘15 and Alden Dowdy ’15 placed second in Microbe Mission; Jonathan Hurowitz ’14 and Andy Vahle ’14 placed second in Solar System; Nathan Sorscher ‘15 and Will Pannell ’15 placed fourth in Disease Detective; and Harlan Brown ’16 and Jordan Booth ‘17 placed fourth in Ornithology.

The 2011 Regional Science Paper Reading Competition, involving a PowerPoint presentation and paper defense, was held at Altamont on February 15th. Rakesh Goli ‘12 placed first in Biology; Peter Johnsen ‘11 placed first in Physical Science; Shawn Tuteja ’11 placed first in Engineering; and Olivia Dure ‘13 placed second in Humanities, Medicine and Health. At the state competition in Jacksonville, Alabama held March 3rd and 4th, Peter Johnsen placed first in Physical Science; Olivia Dure placed first in Humanities, Medicine and Health; and Shawn Tuteja placed first in Engineering. Peter Johnsen and Shawn Tuteja each received a State Gorgas Award (cash prize). Only three Gorgas Awards are given each year. Shawn Tuteja also earned a paid trip to Nationals to be held in San Diego, California April 27th – May 1st.

The 2011 UAB Regional Science Fair was held Saturday, March 5th and Altamont earned numerous places and special awards. Senior Division Place Awards Progressing to the State Fair are as follows: Olivia Dure – 1st place in Medicine and Health (Project Title - Brain Plasticity: The Effect of Age), Rakesh Goli – 1st place in Biology (Project Title – Can a Bacterial Pigment Kill Flesh Eating Bacteria? A Study on the Cytotoxic Nature of Pure Violet Pigment on Multidrug Resistant and Methicillin Resistant Strains of Staphylococcus Aureus: Year III Continuation Study), Peter Johnsen – 1st place in Chemistry (Project Title – An Environmentally Friendly Solution for Destroying Wastewater Drugs and Toxic Chemicals), Leah Swinford ‘12 and Addison Pollard ’12 – 3rd place in Behavioral Science, and Ellis Powell ’13 – 3rd place in Earth Science. Junior Division Place Awards Progressing to the State Fair are as follows: Will Pannell – 1st place in Energy, Maclaine Fields ’16 – 2nd place in Medicine and Health, and Josie Niedermeier ’16 – 2nd place in Behavioral Science. Senior Division Honorable Mentions went to Ruthie Gresham-Jacobs ’13 in Behavioral Science and Laure Bender ’14 in Chemistry. Junior Division Honorable Mentions went to Mihir Limdi ‘16 in Medicine and Health, Molly Kauper ’16 and Katie O’Neal ’16 in Behavioral Science, and Sydney Calhoun ‘17 in Chemistry. Ellis Powell and Peter Johnsen received Stockholm Water Society Awards, and Ellis Powell also received the International Sustainable World Award for Excellence in Environmental Research. Both Olivia Dure and Rakesh Goli earned Intel International Awards which are invitations to the International Science Fair to be held in Los Angeles, California May 8th- 13th. Rakesh Goli was also elected Vice President of the Alabama Junior Academy of Sciences.

Mohit Limdi ‘12 co-authored Warfarin Dosing in Patients with Impaired Kidney Disease which documents a year-long study of how the kidneys affect liver function. His article was published in The American Journal of Kidney Disease, the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation.

Peter Johnsen was named a Siemens Semi-Finalist, one of three from Alabama and the only student selected from Birmingham. He was also named an Intel Semi-Finalist, one of three hundred in the country and the only student selected from Alabama.

Congratulations to all of these talented students and to the Altamont Science Program for an outstanding year thus far!

Last Updated: April 5, 2011

Olivia Dure, Rakesh Goli, Mohit Limdi, Peter Johnsen and Shawn Tuteja