Aviara Oaks Middle School students picked as finalists in national competition

Aviara Middle School students Aiko Lozar and Pajaka Lakshmin with a teacher. Courtesy photo.

By Bart Grundig

The Carlsbad Unified School District in June 2017 announced that two eighth-graders at Aviara Oaks Middle School have been selected as finalists in the 2017 ProjectCSGIRLS National Competition.

Aiko Lozar and Pajaka Lakshmin, one of 30 finalist teams, received all-expense paid trips to the National ProjectCSGirls Gala in Washington, D.C. June 3-4. (The CS stands for Computer Science.) The Gala featured national leaders in STEM who made presentations and conducted hands-on workshops and tech talks for the students.

The students were challenged to design a solution to a real global challenge. Aiko and Pajaka’s project solution idea is an artificial photosynthesis device, which chemically converts sunlight into an alternative fuel source, potentially reducing the environment’s carbon footprint. The link to the project video summary is www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pUb6x1rK8U. They were awarded Honorable Mention for their work.

Lozar and Lakshmin also participated in the ProjectCSGirls competition last year, and were also selected as finalists.

“I learned that there will always be critics, people who say you can’t do it,” Lakshmin said. ”But you have to ignore them – it’s just noise in the background. You need to follow your dreams. Failure is just a warning that you should try again.”

“If you find something that you enjoy it is important to take advantage of every opportunity, Lozar added. “Just do it. Challenge yourself. Remember that there will always be people who will catch you, guide you, and help you pioneer your path.”

ProjectCSGIRLS is a national nonprofit dedicated to closing the tech gender gap by running a national science competition for middle school girls.



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