The annual Science Fair offers students the opportunity to experience the practices of science for themselves. Many of our students compete at a regional level and have won top spots! Stay tuned for this years science fair details.
St. Thomas Aquinas School values STEM and promotes a collaborative focus on project based learning in science. Students at St. Thomas Aquinas School has participated in the Central New Mexico Science and Research challenge for over 20 years. Students from our school have placed in the top of the category for most, if not all, of the years with many students advancing to state (winning awards) and on one occasion as an observer to the International Science Fair. In this time Mr. Eric Vigil, the middle school science teacher, has overseen about 2,000 projects making sure that all paperwork is completed and has served as a mentor to the students doing the research. He has worked with many volunteers from the school serving as members of the combined SRC/IRB committee to review projects for prior approval. For students doing vertebrate animal projects, Mr. Vigil acts as the liaison between these students and UNM's IACUC who approves all vertebrate animal research for this region of New Mexico.
In 2018, the competition was opened to 4th and 5th grade students with the help of Mrs. Lawton. Since then, we have been able to send students in grades 4 and 5 along with middle school students to compete in the regional competition. This year, we sent 17 students to compete with 7 students earning top of category awards between 2nd place and honorable mention. Eleven students won "special awards" with combined prize money of almost $2000.
In 2020, Mr. Vigil helped several students compete in the New Mexico SuperComputing Challenge. This challenge gives students another opportunity to conduct research projects connecting with mentors from around the county. In 2020-2021, the students won the "Magellan Award" by successfully completing their projects even under remote learning conditions. In 2021, students were able to win top of category awards in this challenge as well. This year, we have 2 students competing, one of which also won a special award in this year's regional science fair with her project.
In the future, St. Thomas Aquinas hopes to add ongoing research opportunities for students in the field of robotics and coding along with natural sciences to better prepare them for their futures.
We are proud to recognize our 2023 students for their work on scientific research and their collaborative projects in the Central New Mexico Science and Research Challenge.
2023 Top of Category Prizes:
First Place: $100, gold medallion and certificate
Third Place: $50, bronze medallion and certificate
Second Place: $75, silver medallion and certificate
Honorable Mention: Medallion and certificate
Chemistry - Honorable Mention - Medallion and certificate - Connor Stone
Elementary Life Sciences - Second Place - Brenden Sanchez
Junior Behavioral & Social Sciences - Second Place - Ella Duque & Joshua Montano
Junior Animal Sciences - Second Place - Sienna Salvas
Junior Medicine & Health Sciences - Honorable Mention - Nneka Anozi
Junior Plant Science - Honorable Mention - Patrick Branch
Catherine Sedillo - Albuquerque Astronomical Society Award $175 and membership in TAAS
Cooper Garvin - FBT Architects Award $250
Ella Duque & Joshua Montano - Regional Research Challenge Junior Encouragement Awards $20 & Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge Certificate of Recognition and an Invitation to submit project to the Thermofisher Junior Innovators Challenge
Izabella Aguilera Albuquerque - Astronomical Society Award $75 and membership in TAAS
James Mcgonigle & Nicholas Gomez - Allen Sigmon Real Estate Group Award $250 & Springer5 Investments Award $200
Nneka Anozie - Regional Research Challenge Junior Encouragement Awards $35
Patrick Branch - Regional Research Challenge Junior Encouragement Awards $35
Sienna Salvas - Don't Stop Now Award $50 & Regional Research Challenge Junior Encouragement Awards $35
Vincent Cichy - ENLACE Statewide Collaborative Excellence Award $25 UNM Bookstore Gift Certificate