In 2017, Beckman Foundation and Chapman University partnered on this award, which is now called the Beckman-Chapman Young Scientist Award.

On August 18, Schmid College recognized the first Chapman-OCSEF Youth Innovation Award winners, a group of middle and high school students who participated in this year’s Orange County Science and Engineering Fair
(OCSEF). Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, OCSEF is a nonprofit organization that highlights innovative research done by students in the Orange County area. Chapman’s involvement not only highlighted the best student research the fair had to offer, but also allowed Schmid College to partner with Ideation Lab to provide visually creative presentations of the work.

STEAM Students and Dean Andrew Lyon

From left to right: Dr. Andrew Lyon, Daniel Kuai, Elise Rio, Ruoxi Michelle Chen, Thomas Yoshizumi, Winnie Wang, Hayato Kato and Shashvat Gupta.

The Chapman-OCSEF Youth Innovation Award was given to 8 students from around the Orange County area. Their research was deeply complex, ranging from mathematical models tracking the growth of stem cell driven cell clusters to the creation of a device inspired by mosquitoes to accurately identify and locate humans. Arnold Sugarman, a former Chapman professor who retired in 2010 and who is on the board of directors for OCSEF, helped to facilitated Schmid’s recent involvement with the fair.

Speakers at Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF)

Eric Chimenti (center), an Associate Dean for Wilkinson College and the man in charge of Chapman’s Ideation Lab, with Dr. Andrew Lyon (right), Dean of Schmid College Dean, join in congratulating middle and high school students and their families.

The awards recognized the scientific “process” as much as the “results” of the students efforts. “We saw something special in these projects,” said Schmid College Dean, Andrew Lyon. “These projects exemplified the value of being a scientist.” An incredible amount of scientific inquisitiveness on the part of these students drove them to not only ask the questions, but to also try and find the answers.

Students at the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF)

Student Thomas Yoshizumi demonstrates how to levitate lightweight objects using sound.

The research itself covered many topics within the realm of science and each project was incredibly in-depth. Take Thomas Yoshizumi, a student at Oakridge Private School whose project entitled “Levitation with Sound” involved building a transducer/reflector kit to test whether using a “standing wave” could exert enough force big enough to levitate small objects. Yoshizumi was able to achieve lift off for light objects like paper and Styrofoam balls, but a locknut proved too heavy for the device. The project was such a success that he even tried building and testing a similar device out of a car backup collision detector, though those tests proved less successful.

Student at the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF)

Student Shashvat Gupta shows off his Mosquito-inspired machine.

Shashvat Gupta, a student from Ladera Ranch Middle School, chose to focus his efforts on building a device that was able to accurately locate and identify people using multiple sensory cues emanating from humans. The theory and device were inspired by mosquitoes- whose uncanny ability to detect nearby humans, find uncovered spots of flesh, and map out a path to the human make them not only annoying but also an incredibly impressive specimen. Gupta’s project resulted in a device that used a nondispersive infrared CO2 sensor to try and mimic how a mosquito’s receptors analyze and map out the surrounding landscape for humans. The conclusion? The device could be further enhanced with better technology, but it was ultimately able to detect and verify that a human was present.

Just as complex as this research was the presentation of the research. Eric Chimenti, an Associate Dean for Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the man in charge of Chapman’s Ideation Lab, was essential in helping present the student research. “The question was ‘How do we make these projects visually appealing while highlighting the assets of the project?’” Chimenti said. Chimenti and his team of three undergraduate students spent a total of about 30 hours processing and building the information into the projects you see above. Working closely with Dean Lyon and the students themselves, the team figured out what important information was worth highlighting while also consciously designing with the limitations of Irvine Lecture hall’s cabinets in mind.

Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF)

Students were finally able to see the Ideation Lab’s redesign of their research in Irvine Lecture hall. The cabinets (seen right) presented design flaws that Professor Chimenti and his students had to take into consideration.

This was the first of what will hopefully be a very long lasting relationship with OCSEF. The awards and the displays represent a very unique cross section of art and science at the educational level.
The displays are currently in the lobby area of Irvine Lecture Hall. 

2015 Chapman-OCSEF Youth Innovation Award winners

Elise Ro
School: University High School
Subject: The effect of environmental factors on brain coral fluorescence

Shashvat Gupta
School: Ladera Ranch Middle School
Subject: Minibot – Inspired by mosquitoes to accurately identify and locate humans

Ruoxi Michelle Chen
School: Sage Hill School
Subject: Mathematical models of the growth of stem cell-driven cell clusters

Winnie Wang
School: Troy High School
Subject: Identification of fly groups through microsatellite frequency analysis

Juwon Lee
School: Lakeside Middle School
Subject: Juwon’s Green Wind: Solving desertification with plants

Daniel A. Kuai
School: Acaciawood College Preparatory Academy
Subject: Investigating regional plant evolution with chloroplast sequencing

Hayato Kato
School: University High School
Subject: The control of an inverted pendulum by the use of a self-learning algorithm

Thomas Yoshizumi
School: Oakridge Private School
Subject: Levitation with sound

2016 Chapman-OCSEF Youth Award winners

  • Harsha Thangavijayan of Fairmont Private School – Anahem Hills: “Can Light Control Heart Rate?”
  • Justin Wang of Irvine High School: “Phasor-FLIM Analysis of Metabolic Effects of Caffeine and Cisplatin on a Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cell Line”
  • Ethan Hung of Jeffrey Trail Middle School: “Reducing Global Warming through Chemosynthesis”
  • Justine Sato of Lakeside Middle School: “Increasing Cellulosic Ethanol Biofuel Production with Ultrasound and Cellobiase Enzymes”
  • Annabelle Fowler of Our Lady Queen of Angels: “The Effect of Storm Drain Runoff on the Concentrations of Chloride Ions and Dissolved Oxygen in Newport Harbor’s Back Bay”
  • Alexis Kim of Rancho San Joaquin Middle School: “The Effect of Ascorbic Acid and Phosphate on Copper Corrosion”
  • Pelin Ensari of Santa Margarita High School: “The Preparation & Testing of a Biologically Produced Acne Cream”
  • Ariel Hirschberg, Guy Darel, and Etan Hassan of Tarbut V’ Torah: “HandAid”
  • Charles Noyes of Villa Park High School: “Pandora: A Blockchain-Driven Secure Multiparty Computation Market at Scale”
  • Elizabeth Salmond of Villa Park High School: “Livin’ the Hydra Life: Hydra Regeneration as Affected by Various Types of Symbiotic Algae”