School: Freshman at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto, graduated from Yavneh Day School in Los Gatos
Science Fair Project: “Can Children Perceive If Their Peers Are Truly Smiling?” Mentors on the project were Mr. David Oliver, middle school science teacher at Yavneh Day School and Dr. Mindy Penzias Dirks. This project won the following awards:
- First place in the behavioral sciences category in the middle school division for the 2012 Synopsis and Silicon Valley Science and Technology Championship.
- “Outstanding Psychological Project” in the middle school division from the American Psychological Association for this project.
- One of 77 projects out of more than 800 from the high school and middle school division in the Synopsis and Silicon Valley Science and Technology Championship chosen to represent Santa Clara County at the State Science Fair in Los Angeles in April 2012. All of the projects were scored and the top 77 were chosen to participate in the State Science Fair.
- Fourth place in the behavioral sciences category in the middle school division in the California State Science Fair. Most of the participants in the State Science Fair did not even place.
- To put this win in context, according to the California Department of Education website, in 2004, there were approximately 1.47 million students enrolled in public middle schools in California. This number does not account for the population increase over the past eight years and does not account for the number of children in private schools. The vast majority of middle school-aged children participate in school science fairs, with the best projects going on to represent the school in the County Science Fair. Assuming that only 10 percent of 1.5 million children statewide chose to do a behavioral science project, that would be 150,000 students and Shira’s project was ranked fourth.
- Straight “A” student at Kehillah Jewish High School;
- Member of the Latin Club and participant in Latin competitions;
- Member of the cross-country club at Kehillah;
- Celeste #2 in the spring musical, “Sunday in the Park with George”
- Volunteer at the JCC nursery school;
- Saber fencer at Almaden Fencing Academy
Key to Awesomeness: "Doing what you think is right and doing what you enjoy regardless of peer pressure."