Shamik Mascharak – Santa Cruz High School
In mid-May, over 1,500 students from over 50 countries worldwide competed at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), this year held in Reno, Nevada. Four Santa Cruz area students participated afterwinning top honors at the Santa Cruz County Science Fair. Shamik Mascharak from Santa Cruz High School won a prestigious second award in chemistry, a gold medallion special award from the U.S. Army, and an honorable mention from the American Chemical Society for his project “Synthesis of Fluorescent Silica Nanoparticles Conjugated with RGD Peptide for Detection of Invasive Human Breast Cancer Cells”, a potential means to improve breast cancer detection. This is Mr. Mascharak’s second year with a winning project at ISEF. Last year, he also received a prize in chemistry for his project “Fingerprinting with Genipin: A Green Reagent for Protein Detection in Solution and on Surfaces”, a bio-friendlier chemical for fingerprint detection using an extract from gardenia plants.