2016 Donaldson STEM Award Winners

Peter Olson

Peter OlsonRecognized on Saturday, January 16 at African Americans in Science
Olson, a junior at Cloquet Senior High School, was nominated for the Donaldson Science Award by his science research teacher and mentor, Dr. Cynthia Welsh. Olson is a hard worker, excelling as a student, an athlete, and a leader at his school. He was nominated not only for his work ethic, but also for his passion for science and his willingness to go the extra mile with his research and classes. He takes initiative to further his education in the STEM fields, asking questions, researching, and participating in local and national science fairs. Olson works beyond the classroom, researching in his free time and volunteering to help middle school students with their own projects and ideas. He hopes to pursue a career in the medical field and with his enthusiasm, passion, and hard work, he’s well on his way to achieving that goal.


Christian Agaba

Christian AgabaRecognized on Saturday, January 16 at African Americans in Science
Agaba, an 8th grader at Farnsworth Aerospace Upper in Saint Paul, was nominated by Cindy Schreiber, Farnsworth Aerospace coordinator. Agaba, whose family comes from Uganda, has shown leadership among his peers and school staff by serving as a WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) leader, acting as a role model and mentor for younger learners. He plans to continue his education through Project Lead the Way - an engineering program for middle school and high school students. He is interested in pursuing an electrical engineering degree because he wants to understand how electricity works.


Carlos Sanchez

Carlos SanchezRecognized on Saturday, January 23 at Amantes de la Ciencia!
Sanchez, a senior at Breck School in Golden Valley, was nominated by his teacher, Lois Fruen, for being a motivated, organized, and dedicated student. Sanchez started in the FIRST Robotics program as a designer and builder. He later applied to be in the Breck Advanced Science Research Program, which led him to participate in a summer program with the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota. There, his attention to detail, systematic research style, and clear communication skills were vital to the success in his lung cancer research and product development. He and his partner designed and engineered a breath-flow adaptor to better analyze volatile organic compounds in human breath. Outside of school and family commitments, Sanchez has enrolled himself in online math and science classes. He also runs his own photography business. He hopes to go to college and become as engineer.


Kira Vega

Kira VegaRecognized on Saturday, January 23 at Amantes de la Ciencia!
Vega, an 8th grade student at Highland Park Middle School in Saint Paul, was nominated by her teacher, Shannon Timmer. Current events and environmentalism have influenced her interests. Last year, she learned microbeads were going to be banned from commercial products, so she decided to test how, exactly, microbeads affect plant life. She is currently in the early stages of investigation, and plans to present her work at an upcoming science fair. Vega’s leadership and interests extend beyond the classroom, too, where she is a member and leader in many clubs. She is also looking forward to learning more about stem cell research, and wants to continue her education so she can help people who need organs.


Trentin Russell

Trentin RussellRecognized on Saturday, January 30 at American Indians in Science
Russell, a junior at Cloquet Senior High School, was nominated by his science teacher and mentor, Dr. Cynthia Welsh. His passion for science became evident five years ago, when he conducted a research project on exercise and heart rate that advanced to the National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since then, his interests and research on various topics have been recognized and awarded at several state, national and international STEM events. Russell’s Ojibwa culture is important to him. He regularly participates in cultural events on the reservation, including Pow Wows and ricing. He also participates in the Manoomin Project, a camp that focuses on wild rice on lakes within the reservation. This year, he’ll be attending a Native American NASA camp focusing on Global Climate Change. Most recently, Russell has worked with a partner and with physics professors from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, to develop a small cosmic ray detector. In the coming year, he plans to program a Raspberry Pi computer that will communicate with the cosmic ray detector, traveling on a weather balloon in the atmosphere. The computer program will then transfer this data to a smart phone application. Russell plans to attend college and is looking forward to someday having his own physics lab.


Zamaan Hashmi

Zamaan HashmiRecognized on Saturday, February 13 at Asian Americans in Science
Hashmi, a senior at Mankato West High School, was nominated for the Donaldson Science Award by his school counselor, Amanda Bomstad. He serves as captain of a competitive Rube Goldberg team and co-captain of the Math League and the Knowledge Bowl team. He is currently working with professors at Mankato State University to design and execute experiments that monitor nanodevice mechanisms in antithrombotic therapy. He is learning about the relationship between nano technology and human disease prevention, stem cell differentiation, and genetic disorders. Hashmi plans to go to college, and wants to study biotechnology or biomedical engineering.





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