North Point Students Advance to International Science Fair

Most high school students dread the time of the year when they must break out their backboards, composition notebooks, and research skills. Science fair time. Not so for Katherine Bomkamp (‘10) and Cayley Dymond (‘12), two North Point students who have advanced to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), held this year from May 9 through 14 in San Jose, California.


              ISEF brings 1,500 outstanding science students from forty nations around the world to a week long fair where they present their projects and vie for millions of dollars in awards and scholarships. In order to reach this fair, Charles County students must win one of two grand awards conferred at the county level science fair. Grand award winners are chosen from the first place winners in each of seventeen categories from environmental analysis to microbiology.


              This is the second consecutive year that these two students have won the grand awards and participated in the international fair. Last year, Dymond won a fourth place award from the Coast Guard, along with $500 and an honorable mention from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.


              “The ISEF was a great experience in that it allowed me to explain my project to the judges and have them understand what I was talking about since that were people with degrees in physics or astronomy,” said Dymond. “I had a lot of fun [and] got to meet some people from all over the world.”


              This year, Dymond’s project was titled “Satellite Constellations – A New Way for Determining Atmospheric Densities” and dealt with finding a new way to determine air density at high altitudes through the use of satellites. The project took three to four weeks for her to complete, working constantly on nights and weekends.


              Bomkamp agrees that the international fair was a positive experience, remarking that “ISEF last year was amazing…It was incredible to meet some of the smartest kids in the world, some of whom are now my very close friends.”


              Last year, Bomkamp won a fourth place grand award in Bioengineering and Materials. Her current project is a continuation of her previous one – constructing a prosthetic leg that incorporates biofeedback, potentially curing phantom limb pain in amputees.


              Both students believe that science will be a large part of their lives in the future. Dymond plans become an aerospace engineer or physicist and Bomkamp hopes to work on future developments with her project or pursue a career in the science or technology industries.


At the conclusion of this year’s International Fair Cayley Dymond received a third place award and an honorable mention from the Meteorological Society, with cash awards totaling $2000. Katherine Bomkamp won an honorable mention from an engineering organization.