Meghal Sheth and Sophie Shoemaker are making school history

Two CHS sophomores qualify for International Science and Engineering Fair

CHS sophomores Meghal Sheth (left) and Sophie Shoemaker have each qualified for an all-expenses paid trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz., next month. There are only 10 students total in the state of Washington who earned this honor.

State science and engineering fair awards

There were 16 projects from 17 students in the Camas School District at the state SEF in Bremerton, Wash. All of the students received awards: Eva Solevad, first-place trophy and second-place Association for Women Geoscientists Award of Excellence; Madeline Sheppard, second-place trophy; Emily Sheppard, first-place trophy and “Outstanding Project” from Central Valley Garden Club ($50); Brooke Hyland, second in category; Claire Kerofsky, second in category; Sophie Shoemaker, first in category, Pacific Science Center Award, Evergreen State College trimester scholarship, WSU renewable scholarship, Mathematica finalist; Meghal Sheth, first in category, Ohio Wesleyan renewable scholarship, WSU renewable scholarship, Mathematica finalist, U.S. Army Research Award, U.S. Army McClellan Award, overall bronze medalist, all-expenses paid trip to ISEF; Jon Bartlett, first in category, Ohio Wesleyan renewable scholarship, Mathematica finalist; Charles Teames, second in category; Eden Pollock, second in category; Yun Teng, third in category, BPA award; Levi Holscher, second in category; Lizzy Nickerson, first in category, BPA award; Jenny Wourms and Cierra LeBlanc, second in category; Caroline Keahola, first in category; and Reesab Pathak, first in category, Olympic College best technology in 10th grade award.

Meghal Sheth and Sophie Shoemaker are making Papermaker history. They are the first Camas High School students to qualify for the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz.

In addition, they are just sophomores and only 10 students across the state of Washington were selected for the prestigious event.

“At first, I was in shock,” Shoemaker said. “I wasn’t really expecting it, but it was great to know something I worked on was rewarded.”

Added Sheth, “It was surprising, but I was really happy because I put a lot of effort into my project. It was nice to see the hard work pay off.”

Sheth qualified at the state competition, where she received a $20,000 a year renewable scholarship to Wesleyan University, and a $3,000 a year renewable scholarship to Washington State University, among other awards. Shoemaker received a trimester scholarship to Evergreen College, a $3,000 a year renewable scholarship to WSU and other awards. Both girls received an all-expenses-paid trip to ISEF, which will run May 12-16. Students from 75 countries will be at the event.

“It feels absolutely amazing as their coach,” said teacher Ron Wright. “They will learn what it is like there at ISEF and will be able to bring back to us what they have learned. And perhaps they will apply it to accomplish even more next year.”

Shoemaker’s research project involved working with the Oregon Primate Research Center to investigate characteristics in ape placenta tissue for certain factors that may affect obesity, and may be related to obesity in young children.

Her mentors at the research center were Dr. Victoria Roberts and Jessica Walker. She also had a CHS mentor, biology teacher Kim Newman. Her project was funded by the Murdock Charitable Trust.

Sheth investigated the effects of various common chemicals, such as BPA, on hearing in fish, with application to hearing loss in young children. She worked with Dr. Allison Coffin at Washington State University Vancouver.

Both girls are a bit nervous, but extremely excited about attending ISEF.

“It will be really cool to represent Camas there,” Shoemaker said. “The school has never sent anyone before, and now we are both going.”

Added Sheth, “We get along really well so we’re able to help each other out through some of the confusion (with paperwork).”

Wright added he wouldn’t be surprised if the girls won a prize or two at the international competition.

“Both of their projects are excellent, and each of them is very knowledgeable on their topic, excellent presenters, and very quick to learn to process,” he said. “Thus, I also won’t be surprised if either or both does win a prize or two.”

Wright added that he was extremely proud of all the participants in the state Engineering and Science Fair. At state, projects, created by students from first-grade through 12th grade, are judged and awarded prizes.

“Every one of them earned a medal,” he said.