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The race to find out who is the nation's top young scientist began today as Discovery Communications, Inc. announced the 400 middle school students from around the country, including 16 from Colorado, are selected as semifinalists in the 2006 Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge (DCYSC). Colorado ranks 5th behind Florida (36), California & Texas (32), Missouri & Utah (18) and Ohio (17) in number of students selected as semifinalists. This is by far the most semifinalists Colorado has had in all the years of this competition.

The 16 students selected from Colorado are:

Robin Betz, grade 8, of Boulder, CO for her project entitled Evolving Solutions: Methods of Solving Sudoku Puzzles. Robin took 1st Place in Math & Copmuter Sciences and was the 2nd Place Junior Division Individual Project winner at CSEF.

Isaiah Branch Boyle, grade 7, of Durango, CO for his project entitled Solar Integration: The Key to Passive Solar Efficiency. Isaiah took 2nd Place in Environmental Sciences at CSEF.

J. Raleigh Burt, grade 8, of Monte Vista, CO for his project entitled Deflation Evaluation: Investigating Passive Air Loss from Butyl Bicycle Tubes. Raleigh took 1st Place in Engineering at CSEF.

Candace Fleck, grade 5, of Del Norte, CO for her project entitled Which Wood Would You Prefer?.

Davis Goodin, grade 7, of Boulder, CO for his project entitled LED Headlights: Illuminating the Path to the Future.

Elizabeth Hardwick, grade 7, of Boulder, CO for her project entitled Well, That Was Random.

Abbi Helfer, grade 7, of Colorado Springs, CO for her project entitled Attitude Adjusted. Abbi received an Honorable Mention in Physics at CSEF.

Trevar Hobbs, grade 8, of Ordway, CO for his project entitled The Tel 1 Mutation and Its Effects on Drosophila melongaster Life Span. Trevar took 2nd Place in Zoology at CSEF.

Carson Kahn, grade 6, of Boulder, CO for his project entitled Beware of the WYDSIWYG (What You Don't See Is What You Get): A Study of Inattentional Blindness.

Alexa Major, grade 6, of Fowler, CO for her project entitled Old Problem, New Solution: Managing Salinity.

Hannah Piekenbrock, grade 6, of Conifer, CO for her project entitled Erosion in the Denver Metro Area. Hannah took 1st Place in Earth & Space Sciences at CSEF.

Radhika Rawat, grade 8, of Boulder, CO for his project entitled Got Vitamins?.

Katy Schneider, grade 6, of Durango, CO for her project entitled The Mind's Eye. Katy took 1st Place in Behavioral & Social Sciences at CSEF.

Alan Seltzer, grade 8, of Boulder, CO for his project entitled A Dose of Detergent and Duckweed. Alan took 1st Place in Botany at CSEF.

Aarthi Shankar, grade 8, of Colorado Springs, CO for her project entitled Dirty Laundry Secrets. Aarthi received an Honorable Mention in Microbiology at CSEF.

Rahul Shankar, grade 6, of Colorado Springs, CO for his project entitled To Switch or Not to Switch. Rahul took 2nd Place in Math & Computer Sciences at CSEF.

"Discovery is proud to continue the tradition of supporting middle school education and cultivating the next generation of American scientists," said John Hendricks, Founder and Chairman, Discovery Communications. "Each year, the breadth of knowledge demonstrated by the DCYSC's 400 semifinalists is inspiring and a bit humbling. These young men and women have the intelligence, energy, creativity and dedication to become the nation's scientific trailblazers of the future. We remain committed to celebrating their achievements and scientific learning."

About the Semifinalists
The 400 semifinalists, and contenders for the title of "America's Top Young Scientist," come from 43 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia and were selected from a group of 1,900 formal entries, initially chosen from a pool of 70,000 students who entered science fairs nationwide.

The 400 projects selected to advance to the semifinals run the scientific gamut, from biochemistry to physics, from zoology to health, and from mathematics to engineering. Each of the students submitted projects that were innovative and imaginative, with a level of complexity that might make the average adult's head spin. These semifinalists were also chosen for their ability to effectively communicate the reasoning and purpose behind their projects.

"As the United States struggles to compete with other nations in the fields of science and technology, Americans need goal-oriented, knowledgeable and imaginative students who excel in these areas. This year's semifinalists fit the bill exquisitely," said Steve Jacobs, DCYSC Head Judge. "Even more impressive, and a fundamental part of our competition, is their skill in explaining their work to others, a prerequisite of scientific leadership."

The countdown to choosing America's Top Young Scientist continues next month, on September 14th, when the field of 400 semifinalists is narrowed by the DCYSC judges to the "Final Forty." The young scientists will use their scientific know-how to find solutions to this year's five-part challenge. The students will compete for more than $100,000 worth of scholarships and special prizes, as well as the title of "America's Top Young Scientist of the Year."

About the Competition
In 1999, Discovery created the DCYSC to be a part of the solution to alleviate America's chronic underachievement in science and math. The contest responds to evidence that academic performance and interest in science among American students declines dramatically as students get older - particularly during the middle school years.

The DCYSC identifies and honors America's top middle school student who demonstrates the best skills in leadership, teamwork and scientific problem solving. In addition, the ability to be an effective science communicator - a goal that reflects Discovery's philosophy that scientific knowledge is most valuable when it is communicated and shared - is a key component of the judging.

More than 13,000 children have entered the DCYSC since its inception eight years ago. Winners have received approximately $700,000 in scholarship awards and federal government recognition, and have participated in science-related trips that have taken them to the far corners of the globe.

Discovery is pleased to have Elmer's as a DCYSC sponsor. Elmer's has a proud tradition of supporting education, including science. Elmer's believes science taught through Science Fairs serves as a major benefit to students, allowing students to develop skills in problem solving, research, writing, public speaking and time management.

Discovery Communications, Inc. is the leading global real-world media company with operations in 170 countries and territories reaching 1.4 billion cumulative subscribers. DCI's over 100 networks of distinctive programming represent 28 trusted brands including Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet. DCI's other properties consist of Discovery Education and COSMEO, a revolutionary online homework help service, as well as Discovery Commerce, which operates more than 100 Discovery Channel Stores in the U.S. Discovery brings the real world to the whole world through its global multiplatform initiatives including Discovery Travel Media, Discovery Mobile and multiple broadband services. DCI's ownership consists of four shareholders: Discovery Holding Company (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB), Cox Communications, Inc., Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, the Company's Founder and Chairman. More information about Discovery and its businesses can be found at

Science Service is the non-profit organization that administers the DCYSC. Based in Washington, DC, Science Service is dedicated to advancing the understanding and appreciation of science around the globe through its publications, outreach, and educational programs. A leading and widely respected organization advancing the cause of science, Science Service has a sterling reputation for producing high-quality competitions on the national and international level, including the Intel Science Talent Search and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair; and for publishing the weekly Science News magazine and the online Science News for Kids.

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Last modified 10/25/16