Students Named Finalists in Middle School STEM Competition

Shreya Ramachandran and Aalok Patwa are finalists in the Sixth Annual Middle School STEM Competition

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (September 22, 2016) — The nation’s most prestigious middle school competition in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) — Broadcom MASTERS® — has named two students from Silicon Valley-based educational leader Stratford School among the program’s 30 finalists.

Shreya Ramachandran of Fremont and Aalok Patwa of San Jose were awarded a trip to Washington, DC October 27-November 1 to compete for $100,000 in prizes. They will join 150 Broadcom MASTERS alumni who have achieved the highest national middle school STEM accolades. Shreya and Aalok were among more than 6,000 students nominated nationwide.

Monisha Gupta, Senior Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Stratford School, said, “Academic competitions are a cornerstone at Stratford. The strong foundation offered at Stratford helps our students excel in these opportunities every year. Students welcome a chance to compare their skills with the broader community and share their interests in these subjects.”

Shreya Ramachandran’s entry is titled, “The effect of Soap Nut Grey Water on the Environment.” Due to a drought, experts have encouraged California households to conserve water by not watering their lawns. Another water-saving choice is to use so-called grey water. Grey water might not be safe for drinking, but it still might work for other purposes. Used laundry water is one example, but, as Shreya notes, “Many commercial laundry detergents have harmful chemicals.” In contrast, she says, soap nuts are a natural detergent made from the Indian soap berry. Shreya tested how wastewater from washing with soap nuts might work for irrigation.

Aalok Patwa’s entry is titled, “Do I Grind? A Wearable System That Detects Bruxism Ahead of Its Effect on Teeth” One day Aalok’s dad woke up with a cracked tooth, which required him to undergo a root canal. It turned out that Aalok’s dad had bruxism, a condition where someone excessively clenches the jaw or grinds the teeth. Many people with bruxism experience jaw pain as a symptom. Oddly enough, Aalok’s dad hadn’t known he had the condition. “I decided to make a device that would inform someone if they had bruxism before the lasting damage occurred,” says Aalok.

“It’s rewarding to see our students achieve this level of excellence. Many of them have been with us at Stratford since their preschool years. STEM learning truly begins at the preschool level and culminates with an outstanding middle school program,” expressed Sherry Adams, Stratford School Founder and Chief Academic Officer.

The Broadcom MASTERS were created to inspire students to pursue their passions and become the next generation of scientists and engineers. Their goal ties in directly with Stratford School’s goal, to inspire learning that prepares students for jobs that don’t exist…yet.