April 13, 2001

Sweetwater District Students Win at Science Fair

Studying the effect of ultraviolet light on genetic mutations in molds, exploring whether soybean oil can stop the spread of bacteria and examining the impact of electromagnetic energy on the heart rate of water fleas—are just a few of the award-winning projects developed by 37 Sweetwater district students for the 47th Annual Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair.



Winner in microbiology, Jessica Gomez, a senior at Chula Vista High, placed first at the 47th Annual Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair.


"We're very proud that so many students in the district were rewarded for their outstanding work," said Sweetwater's Board President Bob Griego. "It also shows what a fine job our science teachers are doing in promoting the fair and engaging students in hands-on scientific research."

For his science fair project, Maurice Zissen—a senior at Chula Vista High—explored the use of soybean oil to kill spores and stop the spread of bacteria. In addition to taking a first place in microbiology, Zissen received a special award from the American Society of Microbiology and another from the Biomedical Research Institute of America who also presented him a check for $1,000. Zissen has been accepted at Stanford and UCSD and hopes to become an anesthesiologist or a radiologist.

Among this year's 37 district students to receive awards, the following first-place winners are eligible to enter the California State Science Fair in May:

Senior Division

Student Category School Teacher

Jessica Gomez Microbiology Chula Vista High S. Rodecker
Christopher Saroki Biochemistry Chula Vista High S. Rodecker
Maurice Zissen Microbiology Chula Vista High S. Rodecker

Junior Division

Student Category School Teacher

Dan Nguyen Botany Rancho del Rey Middle J. Tanis
William Ward Med-Health National City Middle P. Ratner

Christina DeJesus, second-place winner in the senior division for botany, also won special awards from the San Diego Natural History Society and the Friends of Famosa Slough. In her study, DeJesus proved that the cellular structure of halophytes could withstand higher concentrations of salt than other marsh plants. According to science teacher, Steve Rodecker— who had five students winning first and second place awards—De-Jesus worked hard for five months on her project. "Christina spent a huge amount of time trying to discover a method that would work for collecting that data."

Second, third and fourth place science fair winners from Sweetwater district are:

Senior Division

Student Place Category High School Teacher

Christina DeJesus 2nd Botany Chula Vista S. Rodecker
Angelo Manuel 2nd Engineering Montgomery W. d'Ablaing
Christian Martinez 2nd Engineering Montgomery W. d'Ablaing
Raissa Vidal 2nd Earth Space Southwest R. Kane
Albert Villanueva 2nd Zoology Chula Vista S. Rodecker
Cindy Alvarado 3rd Engineering Montgomery W. d'Ablaing
Judith Campos 3rd Zoology Montgomery W. d'Ablaing
Jonathan Gonzalez 3rd Zoology Southwest R. Kane
William James 3rd Biochemistry Southwest R. Kane
Joshua Krohn 3rd Zoology Southwest R. Kane
Michael Metra 4th Environment Montgomery W. d'Ablaing

Junior Division

Student Place Category Middle/Jr. High Sch. Teacher

Jennifer Arriola 2nd Physics Rancho del Rey Middle J. Tanis
Darrold Connor 2nd Behavior Sci. Granger Junior M. Molina
Veronica Cuevas 2nd Engineering Granger Junior E. Jones
Erika Go 2nd Environment Montgomery Middle U. King
Christian Gomez 2nd Engineering Granger Junior E. Jones
Lauren Rodriguez 2nd Const. Sci. Rancho del Rey Middle P. Osuna
Janine Sparks 2nd Zoology Bonita Vista Middle P. Maduriski
Yo Wakita 2nd Const. Sci. Rancho del Rey Middle P. Maduriski
Erika Crail 3rd Engineering Rancho del Rey Middle J. Tanis
Brittany Forzisi 3rd Const. Sci. Rancho del Rey Middle L. Thomason
Jacob Helfman 3rd Chemistry Castle Park Middle N. Whittemore
Chamaine Norde 3rd Earth Sci. Castle Park Middle N. Whttemore
Priscilla Pena 3rd Zoology Chula Vista Middle J. McLeod
Claudia Santiago 3rd Med. Health National City Middle K. Prosser
Al Sison, III 3rd Engineering Montgomery K. Thornton
Daniel Gaytan 4th Engineering National City Middle M. Jualhati
Lina Othman 4th Micro Rancho del Rey Middle J. Walker
Rosalinda Robledo 4th Micro National City Middle M. Lualhati
Jesse Sethi 4th Botany Bonita Vista Middle P. Madurski
Diana Wong 4th Behavior Sci. National City Middle M. Lualhati
Joel Zavala 4th Zoology Mar Vista Middle K. Thornton

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