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RE students excel in scientific poster competition

Max Vallone ’22 won a top scientific poster award at the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies SciX 2021 symposium in Providence, R.I., on September 26 as seven posters by Ransom Everglades students were included among 33 finalists. The symposium, which continued with poster sessions throughout the week, bills itself as the premier meeting for analytical chemistry and allied sciences, drawing poster submissions from graduate students, college students and post-docs.
Vallone won one of three major awards, earning recognition along with two graduate students.

Vallone was the lead author on two of RE’s posters and collaborated on all seven of them, working with Isa Camacho ’22, Francisco Gomez Rivas-Vazquez ’24, Nicole Miquilarena ’23, Gideon Shaked ’22 and James Lee Brown-Urmeneta ’24 as well as faculty members Claudia Ochatt and Bob DuBard. The students are members of RE’s Young REsearchers Program.

"The fact that our student researchers produced professionally peer-reviewed and accepted work at this preeminent annual conference of analytical chemistry is remarkable, but to win one of only three awards in a poster session of seventy accepted entries is another thing entirely," RE's STEM Department Chair Doug Heller said. "We were the only high school to participate; all other entrants represented university, government, or industry labs. I congratulate the entire Young REsearchers Program student initiative under the leadership of Dr. Claudia Ochatt with engineering mentorship by Mr. Bob DuBard."

The students and faculty members traveled together to Providence for the symposium, and even made time to join Head of School Penny Townsend at a memorial service on Sept. 26 for Henry Anderson ’38, the legendary RE alumnus who died last year. The students met members of several of RE's founding families.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students to meet in person the Anderson, Cameron and Ludington families that contributed to making Ransom Everglades,” Dr. Ochatt said. “The photo with Mrs. Townsend, the Andersons and the young researchers is a wonderful reflection of that history, and embodies the RE pride and gratefulness to our school founders the students carried with them as RE representatives.”

The work of RE’s students, whose abstracts and posters were accepted by peer review, has been published in the Federation for Analytic Chemistry and Spectrometry 2021 annals. About 750 people attended the SciX event (some attended virtually), and about 70 posters were exhibited.

 “The young researchers’ maturity, professionalism, and manners make us proud,” Dr. Ochatt said.

RE’s posters:
  • FAPS_ A Cost-Effective Software-Controlled 5-Axis Positioning System for LIBS. Lead author: Vallone
  • Quantitative LIBS_ Changing Analytical Determination to Quantitative LIBS Determination. Lead author: Vallone
  • Programmable Motorized-LIBS Enhances Detection of Aqueous Cobalt (II). Lead author: Brown
  • Quantitative-LIBS and Stage-Mounted Profilometer Used to Determine an Indicator of Copper Actual Content in Coins. Lead author: Camacho
  • Semiquantitative Aqueous Cu(II) Detection Using LIBS-integrated Robotized Positioning Systems. Lead author: Gomez Rivas-Vazquez
  • Fast and Inexpensive Detection of Agarose-Immobilized Aqueous Manganese2+ Using a Programmable Motorized. Lead author: Miquilarena
  • Precise Acquisition LIBS Movement Software An Easily Usable Control Software for Robotized Optomechanical Systems. Lead author: Shaked
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.