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Walnut valley Unified School District

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Three Diamond Bar, Walnut High Seniors named Semi-Finalists in Intel Science Competition

NEWS                                                               Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            880 S. Lemon Avenue
March 1, 2011                                                  Walnut, CA 91789

 Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204

Three Diamond Bar, Walnut High Seniors named Semi-Finalists in Intel Science Competition

Walnut High’s Bonnie Lei Advances to Finals in Washington, DC

 DIAMOND BAR, CA— Congratulations to three Walnut Valley high school seniors Brandon Sim, Curtis Wang, and Bonnie Lei, who have been named semi-finalists in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search.

Brandon Sim and Curtis Wang from Diamond Bar High, and Bonnie Lei from Walnut High were among 300 seniors from 172 high schools nationwide to receive the honor. The semifinalists were selected from 1,744 entrants. 

Bonnie Lei has been selected to advance to the Finals where students will compete for $1.25 million in awards.  Intel Science Talent Search is the oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition that brings together the best and brightest young scientific minds in America. 

The students submitted independent research projects. Each semi-finalist received $1,000 award from Intel Foundation with an additional $1,000 going to his or her respective school.

Brandon Sim’s project was titled Two-dimensional Arrays of Gold Nanoparticles. Curtis Wang’s research focused on the “Effect of Organic Sub-structure on the Topology of Crystalline Divalent Metal-Organic Polymers”.  

“Brandon and Curtis are two very talented young men,” said Diamond Bar High teacher Angela Jensvold, who was designated the Teacher of Merit by both students.  “They both have a passion for science that is exciting to see,” she said.

Walnut High senior Bonnie Lei’s project was titled “Cryptic Species and Syonyms: A Reclassification of the Spurill Genus Based on Morphological and Molecular Phyogeology.”  She combined DNA and anatomical analysis of sea slugs for her Intel Science Talent Search animal sciences project.

As a finalist in this competition, she will be among the 40 seniors who received an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. from March 10-15 to participate in final judging, meet with notable scientists, and compete for the top award of $100,000. The top winners will be announced at a black-tie gala award ceremony at the National Building Museum on March 15. 

“Bonnie Lei is an amazing student with remarkable talent,” said WHS Grade Level Coordinator Jennifer Tucker. “She has a kind hearted spirit and a yearning to make this world a better place.  And she will always been known as one of Walnut’s finest.”

Bonnie has a love and commitment to science research and of sea slugs! Bonnie studied two different tropical sea slug species and found that they were genetically indistinct. She also found that a Bahamas population of these sea slugs was genetically distinct enough to be a separate species, and has proposed a new taxonomic name for it. Her analysis indicated that the populations diverged some five million years ago, when a sea channel closed, partially isolating the Bahamas area from the Atlantic Ocean. Her work may provide crucial insight into the biodiversity of this genus.

Bonnie simultaneously reached the Finals in another prestigious science competition - the Morehead-Cain Scholar, one of the oldest merit scholarship programs in the country. She participated in the final interviews among 118 candidates at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on February 27 and 28 for the last stage of the competition.  According to program officials, scholarship winners will be notified by email on Thursday, March 3. 

Congratulations and Best of Luck!