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ICMS student named STEM semifinalist

A local middle school student is working her way to the top of a national STEM competition by becoming one of only two semifinalists in Georgia.

Ava Jane Teasley, an eighth-grader at Indian Creek Middle School, was named one of 300 semifinalists nationwide for the Broadcom MASTERS, according to the Foundation and Society for Science and the Public (SSP). The fourth annual competition is the nation’s most prestigious Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) such for middle school students, according to a Newton County School System (NCSS) press release.

The Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, Engineering for Rising Stars) encourages middle school students to follow their personal passion in science or engineering and continue their studies in math and science throughout high school. Students are introduced to the scientific method and engineering process through science fair competitions and hands-on challenges that teach them the 21st century skills or critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity by focusing on project-based learning and teamwork in their areas of interest.
Teasley’s recognition stems from the work she did on her seventh-grade science fair project, “Preventing a Pain in the Butt!” She used infrared equipment to assess body temperature in livestock, and the project won first place in the Animal Science Division of the Griffin RESA Regional Science Fair and fourth place in the Junior Division of the Georgia Science and Engineer Fair at the University of Georgia. She also won the Georgia Veterinary Medical Auxiliary Award at last year’s state science fair.

“The Newton County School System is extremely proud of Miss Teasley,” said Craig Lockhart, NCSS deputy superintendent of schools. “Receiving a nationally recognized accolade in the STEM arena is a crowning achievement, and it serves as a testament to the wonderful work our students do every day. We commend Ava Jane for representing herself, her family, Indian Creek Middle and (NCSS) in such (a) grand fashion.”

Semifinalists were selected from more than 2,054 applicants after each project received three independent reading and evaluations by distinguished scientists, engineers and educators, according to the release. Nominees qualified to enter the Broadcom MASTERS by being among the top 10 percent of the participants at their SSP-affiliated science fairs.

As a semifinalist, Teasley will receive an award ribbon, a certificate of accomplishment, a Broadcom MASTERS backpack, a one-year family digital subscription to Science News magazine and a one-year subscription to Mathematica+ courtesy of Wolfram Research. In recognition of the role teachers play in the success of their students, each semifinalist’s classroom will receive a collection of Sally Ride Science Career Books courtesy of Deloitte.

“Now in its fourth year, the Broadcom MASTERS is enabling more middle school students of all levels to regard math and science as helping them gain the critical skills that lead to rewarding careers in STEM,” said Paula Golden, executive director of Broadcom Foundation and director of community affairs for Broadcom Corporation. “We are extremely proud of the thousands of young people who were nominated by their regional and state fairs to compete this year and applaud the 300 semifinalists who now compete for a slot as one of the 30 finalists in the 2014 Broadcom MASTERS.”

Finalists will be announced on Sept. 17. If Teasley makes the cut, she will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington D.C. Oct. 24-28 to showcase her science fair project and compete in a four-day STEM competition for awards and prizes, including the top education award of $25,000 presented by the Samueli Foundation.