Local students show off their science projects to the pros at JPL

Eight local students participated in a science project showcase hosted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge on Tuesday.

The group was among 57 students from more than 30 schools across Los Angeles County to showcase their projects, which they’d already presented in a county science fair this year.

On Tuesday, however, the students also had the opportunity to mingle with and get advice from JPL scientists and staffers, said David Seidel, event coordinator and deputy manager of the lab’s education office.

PHOTOS: Local students share scientific discoveries at NASA's JPL

“The kids work hard on their projects and only have one or two opportunities to display them,” Seidel said, adding that a similar fair was held at the center in 2010. “This is a chance to showcase their work and interact with JPLers — people that are doing the work.”

Among those showcasing science projects was 12-year-old Amanda Rush Bova, a sixth-grader at Mountain Avenue Elementary School in La Crescenta, who built a model car with a solar panel after developing an interest in how solar energy works.

“I thought that if we had more solar-panel cars, it would have more of a difference on our Earth,” Amanda said. “The pollution and gases that go into the air will affect the ozone layer.”

Her classmate, 11-year-old Anna Allahverdian, studied how gems were different from jewels, while 13-year-old Joshua Pitney analyzed the inventions in “Back to the Future, Part II.”

One student from Clark Magnet High School in Glendale, Bhavin Shah, also participated in the event.

Meanwhile, 13-year-old Sarah Garelick, an eighth-grader at John Muir Middle School in Burbank, studied how the rate of insulin released would affect the glucose levels in an artificial pancreas. She was inspired by her father, who she said had most of his pancreas removed several years ago.

Along with sharing her project, Garelick was excited to tour the JPL campus and talk to employees, as well as other students.

“It’s amazing to learn about NASA, I always hear about it on the news,” she said. “I get to come here and see what happens behind the scenes.”

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