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NMHU Regional Science and Engineering Fair Student Wins at International Science Fair
5/21/2010


Majdolene Khweis, left, of Taos High School won top honors at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, Calif. Right, Rosalie Martinez, director of the Highlands University Northeastern New Mexico Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

NMHU Regional Science and Engineering Fair Student Wins at International Science Fair

A student from Highlands University’s Northeastern New Mexico Regional Science and Engineering Fair won top honors at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, Calif., May 9 – 14.
 
More than 1,600 high school students from 50 countries competed in the Intel science fair, the world’s largest pre-college science competition.
 
Majdolene Khweis, 17, of Taos High School received $9,000 for winning first place in the Earth and Planetary Science category for her research project, ‘Don’t Let it Slide IV: Fire Factor!’
 
 “This year I was working to find a successful method of re-growing areas damaged by wildfires that mitigates the problems of erosion,” Khweis said. “I used a biodegradable polymer, polyethylene oxide, and ammonium nitrate to prevent water erosion and stimulate plant growth. I found that polyethylene oxide helped to prevent water erosion by margins up to 94 percent.
 
“I am so thankful to NMHU for continuing to host the regional fair year after year, and for giving me the opportunity to be a part of it,” Khweis said.
 
Alexander Kendrick, 17, of Los Alamos High School also competed in the university’s regional science fair. He went on to win third place and $1,000 at the Intel international science fair in the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering category for his project, ‘Underground Imaging.’ In addition, Kendrick won an $8,000 scholarship from the Office of Naval Research.
 
For 54 years, Highlands University has sponsored the Northeastern New Mexico Regional Science and Engineering Fair for youth 6th through 12th grade. The university’s science fair is the second largest in the state, and this year had the highest number of first place finishers at the statewide competition who went on to compete at the Intel international science fair.
 
Rosalie Martinez has directed the university’s regional science and engineering fair for 12 years.
 
“Our science fair promotes, encourages, showcases and rewards the achievement of the students in various sciences by developing skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Martinez said. “We’ve seen the science fair grow from 200 student participants per year to approximately 400. Thirteen school districts participate.
 
“This inquiry-based, hands-on approach to learning science works. I’m so proud of the students, and it’s an honor to see them walk on stage to accept their awards. You can see the determination on their faces. They come to win,” Martinez said.
 
Martinez said the university’s professors play a vital role in the success of the science fair each year by judging the entries. Biology professor Ben Nelson chairs the Scientific Review Committee.
 
 “The professors give invaluable feedback to the students about how to enhance their science projects for the state competition,” Martinez said. “Students leave our NMHU regional science fair ecstatic, and even more convinced that science is a very worthwhile endeavor.”
 
 
 
 
 
 



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