Tag Archive for: science and engineering

Each year, hundreds of students in middle and high schools throughout San Diego County participate in the Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair at Balboa Park. Photo: Water Authority

Future Water Leaders Shine at 2024 Science and Engineering Fair

The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors on April 26 honored six star students for top-tier water projects in the 2024 Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. The awards are part of the agency’s effort to inspire young people to solve water-related challenges and pursue water industry careers.

This year’s middle school and high school science and engineering projects displayed a wide range of innovative solutions to real world water problems. They were each honored with a plaque and a scholarship ranging from $100 to $300.

In the senior division, Lilian Zeng won first place by tackling a widespread, emerging issue – “forever chemicals” such as PFAs in drinking water.  The tenth grader from Del Norte High School was inspired by her research on using naturally occurring substances and life forms — like active carbon and white rot fungi — to help mitigate issues caused by synthetic chemicals.

Leaning into new technology to solve existing problems

Sanya Kapoor, also a sophomore from Del Norte High School, captured second place in the senior division. She designed a machine learning algorithm that can optimize energy consumption at wastewater treatment and desalination plants.

Malik Mansour, a freshman at Bright Horizon Academy, secured third place in the senior division with his creation of a solar powered robot that cleans debris from rivers and other bodies of water.

Middle school students look for solutions to benefit the world

Middle school students like Aminah Siddiqui displayed their forward-thinking science and engineering knowledge and skills at this year’s event. Photo: Water Authority

In the junior division, eighth grader Aminah Siddiqui from Bright Horizon Academy won first place with her development of a water filtration system that can be used in developing countries, where resources and funding may be difficult to find. Aminah explained that her travels and personal experiences inspired her to look for solutions that could benefit underserved communities around the world.

Virginia Zhu, an eighth grader from Oak Valley Middle School, won second place in the junior division by designing and building an electronic smart watering system. Virginia’s idea came from her observations of her own garden as well as agricultural challenges throughout the state.

Emilio Castaneda Martinez, an eighth grader from Chula Vista Middle School, won third place in the junior division with his project that displayed data and solutions for tracking and filtering total dissolved solids in drinking water throughout San Diego County.

Inspiring the next generation of water professionals

Thousands of people across all levels of educational attainment work at the Water Authority and its 23 member agencies to provide safe and reliable water supplies to the region. Engineers, environmental scientists, system operators, maintenance technicians, customer service representatives, and utility workers are just some of the many careers available in the water industry.

As water agencies look for the next generation of industry professionals and leaders, participating in events such as the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair helps current water professionals connect with students who may be interested in joining the water workforce.