RA Students Shine at Governor's STEM Comp

Renaissance Academy Knights Honors Biology students, Pearlyn Sathish (9th grade), and Gabrielle Yablonski (9th grade), recently participated in the 2023 Governor's STEM Competition. The competition brought together students from across Pennsylvania to showcase their skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Pearlyn and Gabrielle presented a project called "Study of Light Wavelength as an Enhancer of pgm-1 Plant Strains Growing Under Microgravity", which aimed to develop the main conditions for plants to be grown in microgravity for agricultural purposes in space colonization. Their project tested a particular genetic background (pgm-1) and analyzed how red, blue, and white light affected plant growth. To simulate microgravity, the students constructed devices called "clinostats" that rotate at a fixed speed. This was a very ambitious project that had never been done before at any university.

The students passed the first round of the competition successfully and received a trophy from the Governor. Their project was remarkable and not only opened up an authentic collaboration between Renaissance Academy and the sponsors of the project, The  Ohio State University but also a potential collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh to extend this research to the evolutionary aspects of plant cultures on Mars.

The plants & Microgravity project developed by Pearlyn and Gabrielle will be offered to AP Biology students at Renaissance Academy in the coming years, allowing them to expand on their research in space exploration and genetics.

Renaissance Academy high school AP biology and anatomy teacher, Dr.Raphael Molina, comments on our student's projects and is thrilled for our students and their accomplishment. “Remarkably, these two students developed such an ambitious research project on topics that NASA actively promotes and finances. Who knows, perhaps one day some of our students might be behind the technology feeding future human colonies not only on Mars but also across the stars.”

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