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Saudi students reap honors in US science fair

Saudi high school students have recently received eight awards at the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, (Intel ISEF), in Phoenix, Arizona. The Saudi team ranked third globally behind the Canadian and American teams, attaining the same ranking as their Chinese counterparts.
The Saudi team comprised students from private and public schools in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam.
Intel ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, which allows students to compete and showcase their independent research work to a panel of experts. This year, approximately 1,600 finalists from more than 70 countries competed to win awards and prizes totaling over $ 4 million for their innovative research. From Saudi Arabia, 22 school students participated with 18 different innovative studies and projects in different fields such as engineering, animal sciences, behavior and social science, biochemistry, chemistry, cellular and molecular biology, medicine and health, mathematical science, physics, astronomy and plant science.
Almost all students had been given internships and access to King Abdullah University of Science and Technology’s laboratories in order to develop their research and projects. The four-day event commenced with students and mentors registering and installing their projects in the booths allocated to them. Judges passed by every booth and interviewed the students about their projects.
On the final day, Saudi students dressed in their traditional attire and holding the national flag, cheered on their teammates who won the awards.
The winners of this year’s fair were 17-year-old Otham Alodan and 17-year-old Abdulamlik Aloufi, from Deffi High School in Jubail. They each won a special award from the International Honor Society in Psychology for their project on improving the cognitive abilities of secondary students in the Kingdom through reading specific text colors.
In addition, Alma Alhussaini, another 17-year-old student from Dahran Schools in Alkhobar, received a special award from the Society for Experimental Mechanics Inc. for the research she conducted on the effectiveness of novel digital image correlation in obtaining accurate full-field displacement measurements.
In the field of sciences, 17-year-old Ahmed Halawani, from Dar Althiker School in Jeddah, was given a special award from the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Physical Society for his research on diluted magnetic semiconductor (Gd Doped Zn0). Reem Al Rabiah from Altarbia Alislamia Schools in Riyadh, received the fourth award, worth $ 500 in environmental sciences for her research on the effects of ecological differences on biofilm composition in the Red Sea.
Rand Tawfiq and Sarah Al Abdullatif from Dhahran Ahliyya Schools in Dhahran were awarded the $ 500 prize in engineering, materials and bioengineering for their research on the use of nanoparticles to decrease the coefficient of refraction in oil reservoirs for improving 4D seismic surveys.
A 16-year-old student from Dhahran Ahliyya School in Dhahran, Mohammed Aldajani, also received the $ 500 prize, for coming in fourth in the category of medicine and health science for conducting research on establishing a novel pathophysiology of autism and cryptogenic epilepsy.
The third award in biochemistry, with a prize of $ 1,000 was awarded to Hassan Khdary and Khaled Alkozman from Manarat Al-Riyadh School in Riyadh for their research on the effects of applying a novel silica nanoparticle compound medication to effectively eradicate malaria.
Finally, 17-year-old Abdullah Bu Khamsin from Dhahran Ahliyyah School in Dhahran won the second award worth $ 1,500 in plant sciences for his research on meeting the future demands of world crop consumption, entitled, “A novel construction method for the generation of dTALE constructs for gnome engineering applications.”
“The Saudi finalists showed great promise in harnessing the power of science and innovation to solve problems and create solutions as well as opportunities for our global community,” said Abdulaziz Al Nogaiher, general manager of Intel in Saudi Arabia.

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