Take a minute to recognize the achievements of our students for the 2011-2012 school year.

10th Grade Student Pushkar Aggarwal repeats his Project Math Minds award!

Pushkar Aggarwal repeats his Project Math Minds award!

For the second year in a row, Pushkar Aggarwal, a sophomore has been awarded a $5,000 scholarship in the Project Math Minds Competition sponsored by The Actuarial Foundation through Mu Alpha Theta (MAT). Project Math Minds is an actuarial-related project designed for Mu Alpha Theta students to work on during the school year. Winners present their projects to other members of the Honor Society at the Mu Alpha Theta National Convention.

The purpose of the Project Math Minds assignment is to introduce the student to the math used by the actuarial profession to manage risk. This year’s assignment challenged participants to complete an estimate of the total cost of attending college and the financial return after leaving college. Participants were asked to choose three different schools, three different financing assumptions and a desired profession in mapping out their estimate. Actuaries develop and evaluate these projects.

While there was no single correct or incorrect answer, projects were rated on the participant’s ability to demonstrate thoughtfulness and understanding of concepts related to finance and the time value of money. As Pushkar put it, “The challenge encouraged me to tackle a real world problem and forced me to find answers based upon systems thinking. The competition is a driving force in generating the interest of students in the risk and return on investment industry.”

Student Wins First Place in Poster Contest!

Lisa Shimomoto, a rising junior in the Science, Mathematics, and Computer Science House, earned first place in the "Soil to Spoon" poster contest sponsored by the Montgomery County Soil Conversation District. This annual contest, sponsored by the National Association of Conservation Districts, focused on the connection between food and soil. Lisa's poster has now been submitted to the MD State Division competition.

Student From Poolesville High School Scores High Rank In 2012 National Cyber Security Competition

Congratulations to Ashwin Sekar, ranked fourteenth in the nation in the 2012 Spring Cyber Foundations competition where over 600 high school students competed nationally!

Cyber Foundations is the entry-level competition in a series of increasingly challenging contests sponsored recognized by the US Cyber Challenge -- chartered to identify and nurture talented Americans who can become the future cyber guardians and cyber warriors of United States.
Opportunities for students who do well in these competitions range from awards and recognition by elected leaders, to internships and scholarships sponsored by the SANS Institute and the US Navy. And the winners stand out in the competition for college placement.

Student wins First Place in the Washington Statistical Society Curtis Jacobs Awards contest!

Congratulations to Pushkar Aggarwal for winning first place! The Curtis Jacobs Award for outstanding statistics project is an opportunity for fun,experience, and recognition. Its aim is to encourage high school students to gain an understanding of the design of statistical studies and their uses.

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2012 Grand Results

Society for Science & the Public, in partnership with the Intel Foundation, announced Grand Awards of the Intel ISEF 2012. Student winners are ninth through twelfth graders who earned the right to compete at the Intel ISEF 2012 by winning a top prize at a local, regional, state or national science fair. Congratulations to the following students!

Category Computer Science - Presented by Intel

Third Award of $1000
"Quantitative Modeling of Processing Cost and Energy Consumption for Cryptographically Enhanced Secure Internet Routing Protocol " Vinay Kotikalapudi Sriram, 16, Poolesville High School

Fourth Award of $500
"Hierarchical Automatic Image Based Human Age Estimation Using Relevance Vector Machine Regression and Multi-Classifier Fusion" Pavleen Thukral, 17, Poolesville High School

Botball Competition Results

A number of students from Poolesville High School belong to Explorer Post 1010, which is an engineering club sponsored by Lockheed Martin and organized under the national Learning-for-Life Exploring Program. Several of the Explorer Post Robotics teams include some Poolesville students had major victories during the local regional robotics tournaments.

2012 Maryland Regional Botball Tournament

The Explorer Post 1010 (12-0162) team received the following awards:
First Place Overall
First Place Double Elimination
First Place Seeding
Judge’s Choice Certificate: Outstanding Documentation
Judge’s Choice Certificate: Spirit Award

The 162 team includes the following PHS students:
Matthew Wade (11) – Team leader
Priyanka Patel (11)
Anirudh Neti (11)
Aesha Doshi (10)
Ayush Goyal (10)
Navya Nanda (9)

The Explorer Post 1010 (12-0389) team received the following award:
Finalist Double Elimination

The 389 team includes the following PHS students:
Ani Gubba (10)
Yogith Topaka (9)

Student takes First Place!

We have another achievement here at Poolesville. Every year the “Centro Español de Washington” and the Embassy of Spain hold the “Annual Essay Competition for High School Students in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area.” Poolesville often has winners and this year is no exception!

Out of the whole DC area, Isaac Jackel won 1st place and will receive a Certificate of Appreciation AND a monetary prize!

AbilityOne Design Team makes TV News!

Rebecca Lock, Alice Huang and Marianne Zhao were featured on WUSA9 "Cool Schools" program. Click HERE to view video!

Student work published in The Journal of Experimental Secondary Science (JESS)

Weilong Li has had an internship article "Droplet Generation in Flow-Focusing Microfluidic Devices for the Creation of Artificial Cells" published in the April 2012 issue of JESS. Click HERE to read the article. Congratulations to Weilong and Dr. Mallow!

Performing Arts Gala and Awards Night Recognition!

Superintendent Josh Starr presented awards to some of the best actors, dancers and theatre techs in MCPS. Receiving awards from Poolesville were Kimberly Lartz, Michael Knudson, and Logan O’Farrell.

Music student nominated for 2013 All-Eastern Honors Orchestra!

Justin Park has been nominated for membership into the 2013 All-Eastern Honors Orchestra. The All-Eastern Honor Band and Orchestra is comprised of musicians taken from the top performers in the all-state orchestras from Maine to Maryland and all of the east coast states in between. This is an MENC (Music Educators National Conference) sponsored event.

This is one of the singular highest honors possible in public school music education.

MCPS Environmental Film Festival Winners!

Gongratulations to Hannah Canetti and Hope Dunlap for their winning environmental documentaries. Almost 50 films were entered in the MCPS Environmental Film Festival this year that was held at the American Film Institute in Silver Spring. Hannah’s film on Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation Center won first place. Hope’s film on the C&O Canal Historic Park and the famous Billy Goat Trail won second place. Both young women worked alone on their films and did a fabulous job.

University of Maryland Chem-a-thon Results!

The Poolesville Chemistry Club competed at the University of Maryland Chemathon on Saturday. They placed higher as a team than any previous team with some 1st place finishes. Congratulations to the following:

Level l:
1st place Viscoelastic Bounce - Zihan Guo (leader), Jookwang Lee, Aditya Nilacantan
2nd place Chemical Jeopardy - Sriramya Ayyagari (leader), Sophia Zhang, Julian Tash
4th place Chemistry Poster - Xinyi Liu (artist), Ying Ngo (researcher)
5th place Chemysterie - Jookwang Lee (leader), Zihan Guo, Julian Tash
6th place Overall!!!! (2nd place under MD schools...just after Wootton HS...)

Level ll:
1st place Chemistry Poster - Zihan Guo (artist), Sriramya Ayyagari (researcher)

Nora School Photography Festival Winners

Caroline Kraegel received First place for Black and White Photography, Places category
Amanda Bernard received Third place for Black and White Photography, Things category
Thayer Seely received Third Place for Black and White Photography, Places category

In addition to the winners, we had several other students have their work juried into the exhibition: Melissa Parker, Haley Johnson, Michelle Kim, Cailin Van Nevel, Cory Savage, & Lily Nichols.

"Who Wants to be a Mathematician?"

Jake Koenig represented us well in the American Mathematics Society’s “Who Wants to be a Mathematician?” at the USA Science and Engineering Festival, coming in a close second in his round after successfully answering some very tough questions under time pressure. Jake was competing against students from TJ, St. Anselm’s, RM, Urbana, Huntingtown, Dulaney, and Woodson in front of a large crowd of supporters and competitors. Jake received a nice prize of the latest version of Maple, a professional mathematics software package.

Rubriks Cube Competition

Jake Koenig, Sean Dao, Kevin Chu, Ashwin Sekar, Aash Bhardwaj, Michael Liu, Brian Liu, and Jonathan Zhang solved twenty-five Rubik's Cubes in their best time ever: 2 min and 13 sec at the USA Science and Engineering Festival. The top three teams, Thomas Jefferson HS, River Hill HS, and Montgomery Blair High School were within three seconds of each other at ~2 minutes so we weren't far behind!

Model UN Final Conference Success!

On Saturday, April 14, the Model UN team completed in its final conference of the school year. We took 14 students to Hood College and competed against five FCPS high schools. Half of the students were participating in their first ever conference, and all performed admirably.

Sophomore Sindhu Chidambaram was awarded Outstanding Delegate for her speaking and leadership skills. She represented China in the General Assembly, debating the future of international climate control policy with the expiration of the Kyoto Accord this year.

Sindhu received free tuition ($2,200 worth) to an international Model UN camp for two weeks in July. The camp is sponsored by the UNESCO Center for Peace, and will provide students with the opportunity to study public speaking, research, negotiation, conflict resolution, and policy analysis. Students will also travel to the UN and other significant sites.

Congressional Art Competition Student work on Exhibit!

Five PHS students have had their work selected for exhibition in the Congressional Art Competition. Over 260 students entered work and only 95 were selected for display.

Amanda Bernard
Maddy Robinson
Haley Johnson
Caroline Kraegel
Kayla Carey

Their work will be on display at VisArts Kaplan gallery from now until May 17th. The Arts celebration and Awards program is Monday, April 30th from 7-8:30pm. Congressman Van Hollen will be there to personally present the award certificates to the participating students.

You can view their work at:
VisArts at Rockville
155 Gibbs St. – 2nd Floor

National Financial Capability Challenge

There are 54 students taking Quantitative Literacy. Almost all of the students are seniors. Of the 54 students, 38 elected to voluntarily take a National Test on Financial Literacy sponsored by the Department of the Treasury.
Our students averaged 80% while the National average is 69%. Nineteen of our 38 students scored in the top 20% in the nation, and 7 of those scored in the top 10% of the nation. While I am uncertain of how many students took the test nationally this year, 84 thousand took it last year.

THOSE IN THE TOP 10% ARE ENTERED INTO A RANDOM DRAWING FOR ONE OF (20) $1,000 SCHOLARSHIPS. It would be nice to see one of our students win. The results are below. Additionally, each student listed below receives a certificate of recognition from the Department of Treasury.


Chelsea Albrecht

Philip Johnson TOP 10%

Betty Rosenbaum

Crystal Clauser TOP 10%

Julia Junghans

Marissa Sharpe TOP 10%

Michelle Corbeille TOP 10%

Rachel Parry TOP 10%

Mariyam Sheidu TOP 10%

Cameron Dickerson

Hunter Pearson

David Story

Amber Eby

Shelleah Pedersen

Jessica Tyler

Joseph Hart

Danielle Purdy TOP 10%

Connor Worthington


Kendall Ziner


1st Place Winners at Programming Competition

Jeffrey Falgout and Prateek Mechineni won 1st place in the Advanced Division at the Montgomery College Programming Competition, and Rick Hepp and Colin Richman won 4th place in the Advanced Division! Way to go PHS teams!

The CSIIT Department of Montgomery College, Maryland hosted the 2012 Programming Competition. This event brings talented high school students from Washington metropolitan area to participate in a programming competition using the Java programming language. Each team will demonstrate its programming skills and problem-solving abilities by developing solutions to a number of programming problems.

Students qualify to take National test for Chemistry Olympiad

Joy Zeng and Eric Harrison scored high enough to take the National Chemistry Olympiad Exam. A maximum of two students from each school are allowed to advance, with many schools not having anyone qualify. This is a great testament to their hard work.

The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad and the International Chemistry Olympiad are multi-tiered competitions that bring together the world’s most talented high school students to test their knowledge and skills in chemistry. Nations around the world conduct examinations to — nominate the most high-performing students for the International Chemistry Olympiad.

Falcon FIRST Club wins Rookie Award at Regional Competition

The Falcons FIRST Robotics club robot won the Rookie All-Star Award at the regional competition in Washington, D.C. 63 teams competed in the regional competition. The Falcons team will move onto the FIRST World Championships in April in St. Louis, Mo.

Club members applied for grants and raised about $21,000 to build the robot. students used welders, an industrial erector set and other tools to build a life-sized robot from mostly aluminum. The robot preformed a variety of tasks, including shooting a basketball through a hoop, repeatedly.

The FIRST Championship is a worldwide science and robotics K-12 competition that celebrates technology. FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a national nonprofit created to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.

Poolesville Students Finish First in Montgomery County Science Fair!

Two Poolesville HS students - Pavleen Thukral (12th) and Vinay Sririam (10th) won the Science Montgomery Science Fair yesterday - they share the win with a Blair student and a RM student. The four winners will compete in the National Intel ISEF in May. PHS students brought home 99 other awards. We had many winners from each grade. In all, we had 48 science fair projects from Poolesville.

Here's the whole list - we don't know where to start! Keep scrolling down, the list is very extensive and Poolesville students are highlighted!

Shakespeare Club Accolades!

The Shakespeare Club performed a hilarious version of the comedy, Twelfth Night, at the Secondary School Festival at the George Washington Masonic Memorial. The troupe received an ensemble award for the play that most embraced and entertained the audience. In addition, a whopping six actors received individual awards for their comic mayhem: Anthony Franks, Michael Hatchett, Nikki Gruber, Katie Kasunic, Evan Bowen, and Jeremy Hollis. Cara Forster, our student director, and Grace Chen, our script editor, and Diana Tappert, who assisted both, should also be recognized for this accomplishment. The judges cited, in particular, their ability to engage the audience in a live comic experience. All in all, a great achievement.

Ria Banerjee took first place at the Maryland Junior Science and Humanities Symposium!

Ria Banerjee took first place at the Maryland JSHS last Saturday and will represent PHS at the JSHS nationals in May in Bethesda.
We had 10 students from PHS present - they were all very professional and did great presentations.


Ria Banerjee’s research was on:
Characterizing the Thermal Frequency Response of Calorimeter Vessels due to Conduction and Incipient Convection

The 50th National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (JSHS) will be hosted by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research & Technology (DASA) in cooperation with the military and Federal R&D laboratories. On behalf of the research offices of the military, the Academy of Applied Science is pleased to announce the 50th National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium, scheduled May 2-6, 2012, Bethesda. The National JSHS will bring together 240 high school students who qualify for attendance by submitting and presenting original scientific research papers in regional symposia held at universities nationwide. Approximately 100 adult leaders, high school teachers, university faculty, ranking military guests, and others attend and join in encouraging the future generation of scientists and engineers and celebrating student achievement in the sciences.

Highlighting the National symposium are the presentation of research results by regional student finalists. Competitive sessions will be conducted at National where twenty-one finalists will be selected for significant military sponsored awards, including undergraduate scholarships, and participation in the London International Youth Science Forum, July 27 - August 10, at London University. The National symposium will honor all participants at the closing banquet and awards ceremony with addresses by ranking military officials. For more info see:  

Poolesville Ladies Take First Place in AbilityOne Challenge!

AbilityOne® Design Challenge High School Finals Event was held last week in Arlington Virginia. The PHS team of Roberta Lock, Alice Huang, and Marianne Zhao was one of five high school teams chose from across the US to compete in the finals. Their invention, The Newspaper Packaging Device, won first place!

To see a video of how their design works and who it helps, click HERE.

Congratulations American Legion HS Oratorical contest winner!

Please congratulate Logan Jackonis. He won the state competition and will travel to Indianapolis in April to compete at the National Level!!!

The American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The program has featured numerous politicians and prominent contestants over the years, including former president candidate Alan Keyes and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs.

There are two parts to the competition, the Assigned Topic and the Prepared Oration. The assigned topic discourse must not consume less than three (3) minutes or more than five (5) minutes for delivery. The purpose of the assigned topic discourse is to test the speaker's knowledge of the subject, the extent of his or her research, and the ability to discuss the topic as related to the basic principles of government under the Constitution. The subject to be used for the Prepared Orations in the Oratorical Contest must be on some phase of the Constitution of the United States which will give emphasis to the attendant duties and obligations of a citizen to our government. The prepared oration must be the original effort of each contestant and must not take up less than eight minutes or more that ten minutes for delivery.

Student named as Semifinalist for the US Physics Olympics Team!

Charles (Jake) Koenig has been named as a Semifinalists for the 2012 U.S. Physics Olympics Team. This is a great honor for Jake, Dr. Mallow and Poolesville High School.

The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) has announced the top students chosen to advance to the Semifinal round of U.S. Physics Team selection. Approximately 3,000 students participated in this first phase of the selection process, the Fnet=ma Exam, in January.

About the International Physics Olympiad: AAPT began the program in 1986 to promote and demonstrate academic excellence. The International Physics Olympiad (IPHO) is a nine-day competition among pre-university students from more than 80 nations. The 2012 Olympiad will be held in Tartu, Estonia, from July 15-24.

U.S. Physics Team Selection: AAPT is responsible for recruiting, selecting and training the U.S. Physics Team each year to compete in the IPHO Competition. This selection process begins in early January when high schools register their students to participate in the Fnet=ma exam. Approximately 300 top scorers on this first test will advance to the Semifinal round of competition.

A second exam is used as the basis for selection of the 20 members of the U.S. Physics Team. In May these students will travel from schools all over the United States, to the University of Maryland-College Park for the U.S. Physics Team Training Camp. There, they engage in nine days of intense studying, mystery lab, daily exams, and problem solving.

At the end of that training camp, five students and an alternate will be selected as the "Traveling Team" to represent the United States at the IPhO. In July, the Traveling Team and their coaches will attend a three day Mini Camp of intense laboratory work before moving on to the IPhO.

Debate Championship finals

The team of Beidi Luo and Keena Li finished in the top four in the county (of a pool of well over 200 debaters). They lost one match away from the championship, dropping a hard fought match to the eventual champion. We are proud of the work they have done over the past three years (each is a three time finalist) and, as a pair, they finish the year with a record of 15-3, an impressive and rare achievement.

As a team, we took 5th place overall, which bodes well for the future since we are returning 7 county finalists and many other young debaters.

National Scholastic Creative Writing Awards


A panel of Washington writers, teachers, and literary professionals selected from among many outstanding works the most exceptional in the Greater Washington Area.

122 Silver Keys were awarded to distinguished works in the region. Silver Key recipients will also be invited to participate in the Busboys and Poets Reading on February 26th and to attend the Awards Ceremony on March 15th.

186 Honorable Mentions were awarded to promising works in the region. Honorable Mention recipients will be invited to free consultations with writers and editors who served as Writing Awards Jurors at the Writer's Center.

Congratulations to the Following Students!
Silver Key Award winner Julia Belenky, 11th grade, Instructions for Falling, Science Fiction/Fantasy.

Honorable Mention Eunice Chung, 10th grade, The Tears of a Bird in a Cage, Personal Essay

Honorable Mention Michael Hatchett, 12th grade, The Pitch, Dramatic Script

Senior has Paper posted in The Journal of Experimental Secondary Science

Check out Senior Huy Lam's paper in the Jan. 2012 issue of The Journal of Experimental Secondary Science - now available online ( The title of the paper is "A Multi-Spacecraft Approach to Studying Auroral Kilometric Radiation Using the Virtual Wave Observatory"

Model UN

The Model UN Team participated in the 15th annual Johns Hopkins University Conference. Our students competed against students from over 60 schools around the country and two international schools (from Kuwait and Sri Lanka). The vast majority of these schools hold tryouts for their teams and/or offer Model UN as a class, but our students held their own, and everyone participated in their committee’s debates.

Keena Li earned 2nd place, representing Guinea-Bissau on the World Health Organization committee, discussing the topics of genetically modified crops and the diseases of poverty.

Forensics team results from Montgomery County Forensics League Competition

Six members of the PHS Forensics Team competed in the MCFL Finals Tournament. Their results are listed below. In addition to their individual accomplishments, these students’ scores helped our team secure 6th place overall in the county!

Keen Li – 2nd place Informative, 6th place Extemporaneous (the most difficult category) “Art and Insanity” (the connection between artists suffering from depression and insanity, and the ability to create great works of art)
Marissa Sharpe – semi-finalist Serious Prose
Courtney Steininger – 4th place Serious Prose, Quarterfinalist Persuasive, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Jessica Ting – 2nd place Persuasive “The World of Child Beauty Pageants” (why child beauty pageants are harmful)
Lauren Gross – Quarterfinalist Persuasive
Emily Himmelfarb – 3rd place Persuasive “Bannicus Bookus” (why Harry Potter should not be banned)

Student work can be viewed at the MLK Jr. Art Show Honoring Black History Month Exhibit

Mike Connaughton & Michelle Kim have had their art work selected for exhibition honoring MLK Jr. as a part of Black History Month. The work is on display in the lobby of the Executive Office Building in downtown Rockville (101 Monroe Street).
mlk2 mlk1  

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Club Regional Competition Winners!

Everyone of the students in the FBLA Club won their regional competition and have qualified for states. The following students either won their competition outright or qualified for states in April.
Ayush Goyal for “Introduction to Technology Concepts”
Nate Kennintz for “Business Law”
Ria Banerjee for “Economics”
Neel Deshmukh for “Business Math” (Neel had the Highest raw score in the region, which includes all of Montgomery County and Prince Georges County.)
William Durr, Stephan Marsh, and Prateek Paul for “Team Global Business”
Neel Kaul, Jake Mccright, and Patrick Krisko also for “Team Global Business”
The state competition is in Hunt Valley, Maryland from April 19-2.

Mock Trial Results!

The PHS Defense Team won in last night’s match at the Circuit Court in Rockville! So far, both our Plaintiff and Defense attorneys and witnesses have won their matches.
Congratulations to the team and their coach, Tim Short.

Cyber Students featured on morning news!

Check out the Channel 9 broadcast!  

Debate County Finalists

The PHS debate team closed the regular season with five pairs (ten students!) qualifying for county playoffs.
Most impressively, the team of seniors Beidi Luo and Keena Li and the team of senior Mibao Xiong and sophomore Christina Kottooran secured top seeds for the county tournament with 9-1 records on the season. In addition, sophomores Vinay Sriram and Edward Liang (7-3), Rahul Menon and Dhruv Shankar, Perry Ya and Dennis Levine also won spots in the county finals tournament to be held on February 29th and March 1st.
Wish them luck!

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Winners

PHS had quite a few winners at the regional level. They are now in the pool to be judged at the National Level.
Our region spans up the East Coast to NY. Only 7% of entries win Gold Key, and 10% win silver key. The winners:

Gina Lee – Gold Key – Photography
Haley Johnson – Gold Key – Photography
Michelle Kim – Silver Key – Photography
Melissa McElroy – Silver Key – Photography
Madeline Robinson – Silver Key – Photography
Bridget Van Nevel – Honorable Mention – Photography
Nicole Jordan – Honorable Mention – Photography
Elizabeth Byrd – Honorable Mention – Photography
Julia Belenky – Honorable Mention – Digital Art (for 2 images)

Poolesville students on top of the world of cyber security - Gazette News Article

Four Poolesville High School students are on top of the world of cyber security — not hacking and stealing, but legitimately finding solutions to national security issues.
The four, calling themselves Team Alpha PHS, won the high school division of the 2011 Department of Defense Cyber Forensics competition, officially, the DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge 2011, competing against students from all over the world.
“The competition is set up and they have a whole bunch of different challenges,” said team member Kevin Harrison, 18, of Germantown.
“All [the challenges] are released at the beginning of the year and you do them at your own pace,” his twin brother Eric explained.
The challenges range in difficulty with point values of between 100 and 500, which are tied to the intricacy, according to team members. The winner is the team with the most points at the end of the 11-month competition.
With 854 points, the Poolesville team, made up of Kevin, Eric, Brendan Rowan,17, and Jack Zhu, 17, all seniors, triumphed over the 26 other high school teams from around the world that participated.
“They were terrific. This is a global contest and its not restricted to high-schoolers. In the world, in all the different categories, they came in 36th. If we put them with collegiate undergrads, they would be sixth,” said James Christy, director of the federal Defense Cyber Crime Institute.
Christy said the challenge was designed to get people excited about the field of digital science.
“There is a tremendous need for this, not only for law enforcement, but for national security,” he said. “There is not much crime out there that does not have a digital nexus; we are trying to increase the workforce.”
According to some estimates, roughly 90,000 people at the Department of Defense work in some way with cyber security.
Alpha PHS members said they started with a 100-point challenge where they were given several [computer] files and they had to match them to their hashes — a unique number assigned to each computer file.
“They didn’t tell you which file was which,” Kevin Harrison said.
Zhu said the task only took a couple of seconds, but it took about five minutes to explain the methodology, a requirement for submitting a solution.
Poolesville High School does not have a cyber security class, computer teacher Jack Stansbury said. The students did the work on their own.
“We met over the Internet sometimes and sometimes we got together,” Zhu said.
He also said they took the summer off from working on the challenges and started again in the fall when they realized they had a chance to win the high school category.
“The website shows the scoreboard. When there was one month to go, we figured we had a good chance to win [because] we didn’t have [all our work] in,” Zhu said. “Our closest competitor was a team in the United Kingdom.”
Christy and special agent Brian Andrzewski presented the team an award at Poolesville High School on Dec. 9.
The students each won a $250 gift card from Best Buy and the team, plus computer teachers Stansbury and Mark Estep, earned a trip to the 2012 Department of Defense Cyber Crime Conference in Atlanta.

Intel Science Talent Search Semi-Finalists!

The semifinalists of the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) 2012 were chosen from among 1,839 entrants representing 497 high schools in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and three overseas schools.
Each of the 300 students named a semifinalist in the Intel STS 2012 will receive a $1,000 award for his or her outstanding research. Additionally, to recognize excellence in teaching and school support of individual student research, every school will receive an award of $1,000 for each semifinalist named in the Intel STS 2012. This award is used to further excellence in science, math, and/or engineering education. From this group of 300 Intel STS 2012 semifinalists, 40 finalists will be chosen to attend the Intel Science Talent Institute in Washington, DC.
Congratulations to the following 3 Semi-Finalists:

  • Peinan Chen, "Extending the Phase Diagram of Methane to Extreme Conditions"
  • Pavleen Thukral, “Hierarchical Automatic Image Based Human Age Estimation Using Relevance Vector Machine Regression and Multi-Classifier Fusion”
  • Jack Zhu, “Analysis of Electrostatic Charge on Small-Arms Projectiles”

Siemens Competition in Math: Science: Technology Semi-Finalists!

  • Peinan Chen, "Extending the Phase Diagram of Methane to Extreme Conditions"
  • Huy Lam, "A Multi Satellite Study of Auroral Kilometric Radiation Using the Virtual Wave Observatory (VWO)"

Congratulations to Dr. Mallow, PeiNan & Huy !!!

2011-2012 National NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

Tiffany Le was selected to be one of 35young women to be a recipient of the 2011-2012 National NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing. Tiffany will be presented her award in March 2012. There were 1177 applications from all over the United States. Also Ekaterina Tolstaya, daughter of Igor and Lada Tolstaya, was selected to be one of 200 runners-up. Congratulations to both girls.

The Maryland Cyber Challenge and Conference Winners!

The Maryland Cyber Challenge and Conference, also known as MDC3, focuses on network and operating system security in both Linux and Windows environments. Poolesville had two teams attempt the qualifying rounds, which were completed online with virtual machines. Both teams from PHS advanced through the qualifying rounds to the finals at the Baltimore Convention Center. Each team was given a total of eight computers to protect including two web servers, two firewall machines, two file servers, one domain controller, and one Microsoft Exchange server. For placing second, each member of the PHS Falcons - Haris Godil, Eric Harrison, Kevin Harrison, Daniel Luu, Jamie Palmer, Brendan Rowan, and Jack Zhu - received a $2000 scholarship provided by the National Security Agency for college tuition. The second Poolesville Team, the PHS Defenders - Andy Neti, Sidd Singal, Annie Chu, Vineet Padia, Jake Koenig, Umesh Padia, and Pavleen Thukral did not place in the top two, but most plan to return next year to take PHS to the top.

UN Model Team Competition

Congratulations to Ms. Lisa Kellert, sponsor, and the Model UN Team for competing in their first annual school conference. The conference was set in Great Britain prior to the fall of the Roman Empire. After twenty hours of debate our students engaged in sophisticated strategizing. The outcome was Best Delegate, Kevin Mei; Outstanding Delegate, Diana Tappert and Madad Ahmad; Honorable Mention, Kevin Ruano and Jack Tappert.

Maryland Entrepreneur Scholar Awards High School Essay Contest

Congratulations to Barabara Kim, Winner, and Ayush Goyal, Honorable Mention, in the in the 2011 University of Maryland Entrepreneur Scholar Awards High School Essay Contest.

High School Cyber-Forensics Challenge hosted by NYU-Poly Winners

Two PHS Teams travelled to New York City to compete in the High School Cyber-Forensics Challenge hosted by NYU-Poly. Each team had already spent two weeks “hacking” into the evidence and writing up their results. They were 2 of the 12 finalists chosen from 120 teams that started the process.
During the 4 hour competition, teams were given additional evidence from the original case. They combined their previous work with the new evidence to produce their final results. The "Team AlphaPHS" was awarded a second place trophy and $2,000, which will support registration fees for future competitions.
For more information about the competition, see  

Congratulations to the Semifinalists in the 2012 Merit Scholarship Competition

Nadia Abutaleb, Pei-Nan Chen Eric Harrison, Kevin Harrison, Brian Kang, Catherine Lozier, Gabriel Lu, Beidi Luo, Melissa Parker, Cameron Rhode, Yuting Wu, and Jack Zhu.

Congratulations to our Semifinalists in the 2012 National Achievement Scholarship Competition

Nadia Abutaleb, Shane Nicholls, Mariyam Sheidu, Sandow Sinai, and Tishina Tittley. Forty-two students were also named as National Merit Commended students.