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Three Pioneer Valley High School students dominated a recent science conference at UC Santa Barbara after showing off projects they completed in the school's Summer Science Institute.

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) conference attracted about 500 people from throughout northern Santa Barbara County and some of the state's most cutting‐edge experts and companies in the fields, including Oracle, the Bay‐area computer giant.

To the pure delight of the crowd, PVHS students Edith Camacho, Xavier Aguilar and Jonah Mau presented projects that they worked on throughout the summer. Those projects were:
• Investigating the efficacy of various brands of sunscreen;
• Testing how and whether dirt affects solar panel efficiency; and,
• Analyzing how Monster energy drinks affect heart rates.

The students then took time to explain all the steps and excitement they gained from each experiment.
PVHS Summer Science Institute Founder and Science Department Head, Riccardo Magni, said the work the students completed was nothing short of a smash hit.

"Many visitors were SO impressed with the research they did,'' Mr. Magni said. "Many visitors found the work our students did just fascinating.''

PVHS Senior Edith Camacho said she appreciated the opportunity to attend the conference and the feeling of accomplishment that it produced.

"It was an awesome feeling knowing that many of our adults and some college students were so interested in our projects,'' Camacho said.

Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Superintendent, Dr. Mark Richardson applauded the students' efforts.
"This is just one more example of how a little extra hard work pays off for the students and teachers who make up our district,'' Dr. Richardson said. "We are all very proud of them and can't wait to see what they come up with next.''

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