Throughout the years, Hills West has prided itself on maintaining students who are not only intelligent but innovative. Earlier this month, a team of three Hills West students – Alexis D’Alessandro, Victoria Sacchetti, and Victoria Kim – participated in Hills West’s first Toshiba ExploraVision Regional Awards Competition. Alexis, Tiffany, and Victoria – all Juniors- are exceptional students and were recognized as such within the competition. Their team was recognized out of thousands, as one of only six Regional winners within the interval of grades 10 – 12.
With students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, the competition invigorates students to develop a vision for the technology of the future. Encouraged to apply their assignment to technology relevant to their own lives, students are required to research certain aspects of technology and provide their take on how it will alter in the future.
Essentially, the girls’ presentation focused on the advancement of technology in regard to the degenerative disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as ALS. Working together, the girls developed the idea of a drug encapsulated by a multilayered nanoparticle. The drug would then catalyze the ubiquitination of mutant SOD1 ( a mutant protein linked to ALS), thus alerting the cell’s prexisomes to destroy the mutant trait.
When asked about her most recent accomplishment, Alexis D’Alessandro said, “Being a regional finalist or Toshiba Exploravision has been a great experience and I am incredibly proud of my team for working so hard on this project.” D’Alessandro goes on to mention how meaningful the recognition really was. Alexis’ uncle, Craig Koch, is bravely fighting against ALS and inspired the girls’ project.
The girls did not only receive the title of Regional Winners, but each received their own Toshiba tablet as well. A congratulatory banner and celebratory plaque have also been placed for display within the halls of Hills West. The tablets received by the girls are updated with the most modern software, enabling them to compose a website, prototype and video for their presentation in the next round. If the girls’ success continues, they can win up to $10,000 dollars in bonds and an expense-free trip to Washington, D.C., the national level of the competition.
As of now, the girls are working hard in hopes of having success on the national level. They are in the midst of developing a website and creating an extensive presentation. Alexis, Tiffany and Victoria are excited and look forward to moving on in their scientific developments.