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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • Students compete at worlds largest science competition

  • After competing at local, regional and state science fairs, Nate Lax and Mike Hirsch had the opportunity recently to compete at the international science fair.
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  • After competing at local, regional and state science fairs, Nate Lax and Mike Hirsch had the opportunity recently to compete at the international science fair.
    The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition that provides a forum for more than 1,700 high school students from 70 countries, regions and territories around the world to showcase their independent research.
    Nate and Mike attended the fair in Los Angeles, Calif., from May 11-16 with their project titled: “The Effects of Various Adaptions to PEGASUS 1 (an Unmanned Drone Carrier).
    While this is Nate and Mike’s first trip to ISEF, they have attend the International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project Olympiad three times.
    Having started competing in science fairs in the seventh grade, both young men graduated from St. Mary’s High School recently, meaning this is their last year competing in science fairs.
    They said their experience at the last ISEF was a bitter sweet. The ISEF competition is exclusively for students in grades 9-12.
    While their own projects are impressive, the young men said what has impressed them most during their tenure of science fair competitions is how young people think of ideas that are able to affect future technologies.
    “Over the years what has impressed me most is the amount of extremely impressive, thought out and extensive projects that have been done or are still in progress,” Nate noted.
    The project Nate said he was most impressed with at ISEF this year was a project done by a student who had a growth and spine disorder and in his project he created a new spine that would fix the disease that he had.
    Mike said he was impressed with the project that won the ISEF competition. Nathan Han, 15, of Boston, was awarded first place for developing a machine learning software tool to study mutations of a gene linked to breast cancer.
    When not competing, Nate and Mike had a chance to see some of Los Angeles including the sand dunes where they drove dune buggys in the desert, toured Hollywood and Beverly Hills, visited the WWII plane museum and experienced a private party at Universal Studios.
    Nate is the son of Randy and Diane Lax. His future plans include attending South Dakota State University to study engineering technology.
    Mike is the son of Thomas and Sharon Hirsch. His future plans include attending the University of North Dakota to study mechanical engineering with an aerospace focus.

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