April 15, 2022 • Volume 108 No 2
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In this issue


Junior Academy of Science State &  Regional Competition Winners 2022

Students from around the state participated in the New Mexico Junior Academy of Science Paper Competition during March and April of 2022. Students from 6 NM regions qualified to participate in the state competition held at New Mexico Tech on April 2, 2022.


First Place:  $400 Award: Daniel Kim & Andres Iturregui       
Exhibit Number_NMSEF-ENG  PH-046
Title   Developing a Control Algorithm and Simulation for Thrust Vector Controlled Rockets
Second Place: $300 Award: Aditya Kousil
Exhibit Number_NMSEF-BMH SBE 113
Title   CIRCA-CircularRNA for Cancer Active Immunotherapy: A machine learning model to predict liver cancer and top genes for cancer vaccine
Third Place: $200 Award: William Burris
Exhibit Number  NMSEF-BMH  SBE 013
Title:  Optimizing Methods for Analysis of Novel Corona-Virus SARS-CoV-2 Receptor ACE2 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms
Honorable Mention: Chloe Rychener
Exhibit Number  NMSEF-BIOC  HEM 026
Title: What’s Lurking in Your Mask?

First Place: $400 Award: Tate Plohr
Exhibit Number   NMSEF-JR-P H-053
Title:  Relationship Between Bboiling Temperature of Water and Altitude: Also Can I Guess How Salty Ocean Water Is?
Second Place: $300 Award: Anna Simakov and Liv Niklasson
Exhibit Number   NMSEF-JR-Bl OBMHS-044
Title:  Abundance of Bacteria Contaminating Daily Lives
Third Place: $200 Award: Ahana K. Koushik
Exhibit Number   NMSEF-JR-E    V-083
Title:  Microplastics and BPA


San Juan Region, Gail Silva, Regional Director
Junior Division
1st Place          Odin McMinn, Hermosa Middle School, Farmington
2nd Place         June Loukinas, Tibbetts Middle School, Farmington   
Senior Division
1st Place          Kinvel Binas, San Juan College High School, Farmington
2nd Place         William Burris, San Juan College High School, Farmington
3rd Place         Tamarron Austin, Navajo Prep. High School, Farmington
Northeast Region,  Maureen Romine, Regional Director
Junior Division
1st Place          Anna Simakov & Liv Niklasson, Los Alamos Middle School, Los Alamos
2nd Place         Gavin Bent, Los Alamos Middle School, Los Alamos
3rd Place         Tate Plohr, Los Alamos Middle School, Los Alamos
Senior Division
1st Place          Daniel Kim & Andres Iturregui, Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos
2nd Place         Kelly McTeigue, Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos
3rd Place         Michael Bane, Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos
Central Region, Malva Knoll, Regional Director
Junior Division
1st Place          Ahana Koushik, Albuquerque Institute for Mathematics & Science (AIMS)
Senior Division
1st Place          Aditya Kiran Koushik,  La Cueva High School, Albuquerque

NMAS VP Babu Chalamala Named to Two Prestigious Societies

Babu Chalamala, an engineer and manager of Sandia’s energy storage group, was recently elected fellow of two prestigious national societies. On Jan. 26, he became a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. On Dec. 7, he became a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

According to AAAS, Babu was selected to be a fellow “for technical contributions and leadership in grid energy storage technology, his research contributions to electronic materials and devices, and committed service to the global science and engineering community.”

Energy storage systems are important for capturing renewable energy when it is produced and saving it for when it is needed. Energy storage systems, including lithium-ion battery storage, can increase the stability, reliability and resiliency of the power grid.

“I believe that I’ve had an impact in grid storage as a thought leader, providing the vision for where we need to go in R&D, engineering and what are the big things we need to focus on as we consider the future of the electric grid,” Babu said. “Being elected fellow of these two societies means I’ve made enough of an impact over my career to be recognized by my peers.”

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals. Since 1874, AAAS Fellows have been a distinguished group of scientists, engineers and innovators recognized for their achievements across disciplines ranging from research, teaching and technology; administration in academia, industry and government; and excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.

The National Academy of Inventors is an organization of universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes, with over 4,000 individual inventor members and fellows. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. Election as an NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors, according to the academy.

Outstanding Scientist Award 

Since 1962, the Academy has intermittently presented awards to distinguished New Mexicans for their outstanding contributions to science or science education. The award is given across all science disciplines for works supporting the purposes of the Academy. These purposes include the following:

  •  to promote science and science education within the State of New Mexico
  • to improve communication among scientists, science educators, the New Mexico general public, and governmental representatives
  • to recognize excellence in scientists, science educators, and science students
  • to encourage scientific research
  • to increase public awareness of the role of science in human progress and human welfare

 Awardees in the past have included Dr. W. Randolph Lovelace II, Chief of the U.S. Army Air Corps Aero-Medical Laboratory and founder of Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, Clyde Tombaugh, NMSU, the discoverer of Pluto, and Norris Bradbury, Los Alamos, for whom the Bradbury Museum is named. The award was last presented in 2020, to Dr. Angela Wandinger-Ness, UNM.

If you have a worthy candidate who exemplifies the goals or mission of the New Mexico Academy of Science, submit this person for the NMAS Outstanding Scientist Award.   Complete information is available on the website:

Call to Support Science & Science Education

Help get students back on track after Covid set-back!

To:  Science Educators, Professionals, and Business Leaders
From:  New Mexico Academy of Science
Subject:  Support & Promotion of Science Events for NM Students
Date:  October 1, 2021
Public reactions with anti-Science sentiments have emerged over the past year.  NMAS needs your support to continue our science programs and education efforts for students from kindergarten through post-secondary level across all of New Mexico.  We also encourage you to support efforts of  other organizations, schools, and universities who sponsor events for these budding scientists K-12 and post-secondary.
Several student science competitions were cancelled in 2021 and participation in 2022 Competitions  decreased due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

How can you help?  Advertise and post announcements for science organizations.  Encourage membership and/or donations to science organizations in the community.  Provide volunteers for the established programs including NM regional Science Fairs, Jr. Academy of Science, Jr. Science & Humanities Program, Science Olympiad, Super-Computing competitions and others.  Continue your sponsorship of science-events and competitions at your specific site and help competitions adapt to virtual presentations as needed due to state-wide Covid mandates. 
Become familiar with the New Mexico Academy of Science and its programs for  educators, students, and the general public.  Access information at the NMAS website about our programs at
  1. Junior Academy of Science annual written research paper for students, grades 6-12
  2. Outstanding Science Teacher Award for formal or informal educators, grades 6-12
  3. Annual meeting / symposium for undergraduate and graduate students
  4. Journal of Science annual publication of research from science professionals and students
  5. National Youth Science camp for high school seniors
Thank you,
NMAS Board of Directors 2022


Want to be a part of your local science community? Becoming a member will help support events such as the Junior Academy's paper competition, our National Youth Science Camp selection, and the Outstanding Educator awards. Our membership is our greatest asset when advocating for science education, so please renew today.

It is easy to become a member! We have a very simple way to do it via PayPal from our website. You can use any credit or debit card (you do not need a PayPal account). This also allows us to add your email directly to our mailing list. Here is the link.

Membership categories are:
  • Regular Membership ($25/year)
  • Student Membership ($15/year or included with NMJAS entry)
  • Institutional Membership (Libraries Only; $25/year)
  • Life Membership (3/4 of Amount Goes to NMAS Endowment; $400)
Our mailing address is ​P.O. Box 36885 • Albuquerque, NM 87176
You can reach us by email at 

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New Mexico Academy of Science · ​P.O. Box 36885 · Albuquerque, NM 87110 · USA

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