WUFT News

Gainesville Middle School Student’s Ingenuity Gets State’s Attention

By on October 3rd, 2013
Balachandar presenting her project at Broadcom.

Courtesy of Broadcom Masters and the Balachandar Family

Balachandar presenting her project at Broadcom.

Abraham Lincoln Middle School student Sidhika Balachandar won second place in the engineering category of the Broadcom Masters National Science competition.

Balachandar’s seventh grade science project, “Can You Keep It Down,” placed first in its division at the Alachua County Regional Science and Engineering Fair and second in the state competition.

Her project, which compared soundproofing and aesthetic qualities of various materials, had a unique yet practical inspiration.

“I play the flute and so whenever I do these activities my mom gets disturbed, so I wanted to know if I could soundproof my room so it could help her while she’s working,” Balachandar said.

Balachandar tested materials such as roofing tile and tapestry by placing speakers in a box and measuring the amount of sound that was absorbed.

Balachandar beat 6,000 students to become a finalist in the Broadcom Masters National Science competition. The competition highlights middle school students’ projects and problem-solving skills.

Balachandar’s success qualified her for an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete with other finalists for more than $60,000 worth of prizes in science, technology, engineering and math categories.

Her prizes for second place were a $2,500 scholarship and an iPad. She plans to use the scholarship to attend science camp.

Balachandar said her love for science was partially inspired by her parents. Her mother is a computer scientist and her father is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Florida. 

“My parents and my friends have been really supportive each step of the way and I’m really thankful for them to be there,” Balachandar said. “I’m excited because I feel a lot more women are getting into the STEM fields, and if I do that, then I can help encourage more women to do that as well.”

Fueled by her goal to inspire, Balachandar is already planning for the future. She is enrolled in Lincoln’s advanced LYCEUM program and is taking a high school chemistry course.

River Grace of Melbourne, Fla. won first place overall and a $25,000 scholarship for his study on endangered tortoises.


This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Education

Students at Norton Elementary School wait in line as they're served dinner for the first time at school. Norton Elementary now serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner; Norton Elementary Serves It All

In addition to breakfast and lunch, Norton Elementary School now serves dinner to students enrolled in its after-school program. Dinner is currently scheduled to be served at 2 p.m.


Yes For Marion County Schools table at the Journey Into Reading event at Central Florida State College. The theme of the event was "seasons" and we were designated as "winter."

Amendment 4 Could Bring Back Marion County Teachers And School Programs

On Election Day, Marion County voters will vote on Amendment 4, which calls for the millage rate to increase. The extra money will go toward school programs and teacher salaries, potentially bringing back laid-off, first-year teachers.


Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.22.22 PM

New FCAT Replacement Test To Be Computer-Based

The new test set to replace the FCAT this March will be computer-based. Some educators are worried the test may be a disadvantage for students who are not used to working on a computer on a daily basis.


Dunnellon Elementary School's Maria Gonzalez helps her fourth grade students with classwork. She received the Excellence in Education Award earlier this month from Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Local Hispanic Teachers Receive Excellence In Education Award

Maria Gonzalez of Dunnellon Elementary School and Grisell Santiago of P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School received the Excellence in Education Award earlier this month. The annual award was sponsored by Volunteer Florida, the Florida Department of Education and the Executive Office of the Governor as a part of Hispanic Heritage Month.


Students from Idylwild Elementary School launch a water rocket at Flavet Field. Fourth and fifth grade students from Idylwild Elementary School visited the University of Florida on Oct. 30 to learn about engineering and other STEM-related studies.

The University of Florida College of Engineering Reaches Out to Elementary Students

University of Florida engineering students hosted a day of science activities on campus for fourth- and fifth-grade students from Idylwild Elementary School on October 30.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments