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Huntington Beach Union High School District

WHS MERITS Team Selected as a National Finalist of ExploraVision Challenge!

Westminster High School team from the MERITS program was selected as one of the National Finalists of the 30th annual ExploraVision challenge, the largest K-12 science competition designed to build problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills. The WHS Queen Bees’ project titled Genetically Engineering A Neonicotinoid-Degrading Microbiome Bacteria Using CRISPR Technology to Create a Probiotic that Combats Bee Mortality earned each student $5000 savings bond each. The national winners of ExploraVision 2022 were invited to participate in an award ceremony on Friday, June 3 in Washington, D.C., during which winners had the opportunity to showcase their winning ideas in a presentation to scientist, engineer, comedian, author and inventor, Bill Nye the Science Guy. The event culminated with an awards ceremony where students were  formally recognized for their creativity and accomplishments.

For 30 consecutive years, ExploraVision has helped children to expand their imagination and have fun while developing an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education at an early age.

Principal Amy Sabol of Westminster High School notes that “The students within the MERITS program continue to excel in the area of STEM education. A culture of pride has been established within this program and the bar has been set extremely high. Even throughout the pandemic, our MERITS students never stopped taking on challenges to push themselves academically and as a result, they rank amongst the top in the County, State and Nationally.

ExploraVision participants were challenged to come up with potential solutions to solve problems that may exist in ten years or more. Ryuji Maruyama, Chairman and CEO, Toshiba America, Inc, comments, “We applaud our winners and all our entrants for their resilience as well as their ideas for new technologies and smart solutions that improve and enhance our lives and communities.”

Using real scientific research, students outlined methods to plan and test their ideas and built webpages and short videos to communicate and exhibit their ideas to the public.  

“The level of creativity and dedication these students have shown through their projects is truly amazing. Their imaginative ideas are shining examples of the innovation teachers of science try to foster every day in science classrooms, museums and zoos nationwide,” said Eric Pyle, NSTA President.

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