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Nikhil Patel is a ninth grade student at Oviedo High School in Seminole County and is a member of the Beta Club and Mu Alpha Theta. A science researcher since sixth grade, Nikhil is now a dual enrollment student at Seminole State College while also conducting research at the Synthetic Reality Lab at the University of Central Florida.

Nikhil was selected as one of the top 30 middle school science researchers in the country and competed in the Broadcom Masters competition in Washington, D.C. Nikhil is also a competitive fencer with the Stocatta Fencing Academy in Longwood, Fla.

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Catherine Li is a Junior at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orange County where she is involved in the ASPIRE Research Program, varsity volleyball, varsity track, Mu Alpha Theta and serves as president of both the Student Government Association and National Honor Society. She is inspired by scientific research and its potential to improve human conditions around the globe.

Over the past few years, Catherine has had the amazing opportunity of researching at the CREOL College of Optics and Photonics and the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida. With strong interest in biomedical engineering, Catherine’s project focuses on the development of a new method to synthesizing nanoparticles especially designed for drug delivery applications, with an ultimate goal of cancer treatment.

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Alexandra Gabrielski is a freshman at Viera High School in Brevard County. Since third grade, Alexandra has competed in science fairs and her projects have all focused on the environment.

Her current three-year project on algae biofuel demonstrates her commitment to sustainability. Alexandra has been fortunate to receive many awards for her science fair projects, including first place at regional, state and Orlando Science Center fairs as well as receiving multiple special awards.

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This weekend is the 16th Annual Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition! Every day this week, we'll spotlight one of the five finalists.

Zachary Loeb is a senior in the Business and Finance Academy at Viera High School in Melbourne, Fla. He has a strong interest in marine biology, green chemistry and finding solutions to prevent and eliminate chemical pollutants/contaminants that endanger the life in our lakes and waterways. For the past five years, Zachary has conducted research on endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC’s) and their effects on aquatic life. He was privileged to conduct his research at the Orange County Utilities Laboratory this year.

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On Thursday, April 3rd, Orlando Science Center hosted the Inspire Science Breakfast. The event is an opportunity to celebrate the Science Center's role as a vital community resource that ignites the spark for tomorrow's leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The event included several notable speakers, including Shiv Gaglani and Dr. Sandy Shugart.

Shiv Gaglani, an MD/MBA candidate at the John Hopkins School of Medicine and Harvard Business School, is passionate about medical and educational innovation, having co-founded two accelerator-backed startups; one in education called Osmosis, and the other in medicine called Smartphone Physical. Gaglani is also a three-time winner of the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition here at Orlando Science Center!

Dr. Sandy Shugart, president of Valencia Community College since January, 2000, also spoke at Inspire Science Breakfast. For more than a decade, Dr. Shugart has led the college in a process of deep change designed to put student learning first and achieve quantum improvements in completion. He is also the winner of the 2011 inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence; an award that named Valencia College the nation's top community college.

Orlando Science Center's vision is to be the community partner that fosters creativity and curiosity for Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM); which stimulates the kind of innovation that transforms our economy and enhances lives. It is your continued support that allows us to make that vision a reality. Check out photos of this year's Inspire Science Breakfast below, and be sure to mark your calendar for next year!


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On Thursday, March 13, 2014, Orlando Science Center educators ventured to Castle Creek Elementary to facilitate “Engineering is Elementary” training to second grade teachers. The workshop was sponsored by Lockheed Martin and part of the "Engineering our Future" initiative.

Teachers engaged in hands-on, interactive STEM-based engineering design challenges. This particular unit, "Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills,” highlights the field of mechanical engineering and educates the understanding of air as wind to design and create wind-powered machines. Teachers used their mechanical engineering skills to design sailboats and windmills that catch the wind, and will use the knowledge gained from the workshops to better educate their students.

EiE was developed by the Museum of Science, Boston and aims to increase students' interest in and confidence about engineering. EiE's 20 units present fun, engaging engineering challenges that allow students to apply science knowledge.


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On March 5, 2014, Orlando Science Center and partners including Lockheed Martin, Florida State University's National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Museum of Science and Industry (Tampa), STEM Sim Ex, FIRST and Team Orlando converged in Tallahassee to facilitate discussion with state legislators; engage them in active participation of hands-on STEM activities; and promote the value of science centers and strategic partnerships as a tool to inspire and encourage our youth to pursue STEM careers.

In this video, Orlando Science Center President & CEO JoAnn Newman talks about the STEM crisis and what science centers, industry and education are doing about it; Tobi Allen, Community Relations Manager at Lockheed Martin, talks about the importance of getting kids excited about STEM careers; Science Center Educator Emily Duguid breaks down the life-size Angry Birds activity; and Rep. Charles McBurney of Jacksonville comments on the impact STEM learning can have on today's youth.

Special thanks to Dave Heller for shooting and editing this video.


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777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • TTY: 407.514.2005 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: gservices@osc.org
  Orlando Science Center is supported by United Arts of Central Florida, host of power2give.org/centralflorida and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.
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