School year academic achievements bring awards and summertime travels for Cedarcrest student Anjani Patel

  • Written by Leanne Christensen, RSD

Retired CHS science teacher Bruce Murdock and Anjani Patel
Many high school students spend their summer vacations applying for jobs, enjoying family vacations and spending time with their friends, enjoying a much deserved break from their studies.

However, Cedarcrest senior Anjani Patel, who last year was honored with the Outstanding Junior Award, spent her summer attending the International Genius Olympiad competition in New York, and traveled to Boston to compete at the national level for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize as the representative from the state of Washington.

Anjani is accustomed to success, as is evident from one glance at her academic and extracurricular resume; however, she admits that her accomplishments do not come without hard work, hours of study and preparation, the guidance of passionate teachers, and a family who genuinely supports her and her dreams.

Whether her efforts are directed at her studies, her passion in ballet class, musicals at Cedarcrest, FBLA or DECA events, teaching clarinet or participating in community plays, she says, “I am so very fortunate to have parents who do not push, but lovingly guide and support my efforts, and inspiring teachers such as Mr.  Murdock who lead by example and tell students where to look, but not what to see, in turn, letting them create their own dreams and ideas.”

She continues, “In honors physical science and honors physics, Mr. Murdock taught us to think about physics, not just in class, but in our everyday lives as well, reinforcing the knowledge that physics shows up almost everywhere and fostering our appreciation for the Mechanical Universe... his patience and attention to detail when teaching chemistry and physics classes is truly a gift to Cedarcrest students. It was in his class as a ninth grade student that I gained an appreciation for science for the very first time.”

During her sophomore year, while studying environmental science in Ms. Halverson’s class, Anjani became deeply interested in the causes and effects of oil spills. Her interest led her to the study of oil remediation, the process of using microbes to clean up the oil spills, also known as bioremediation.

The process, she explains, is very “green,” and can be implemented without the use of harmful chemicals. Then, during her junior year, she continued her work with this project on a grander scale, including some adaptations from the previous year.  Then, using methods of statistical analysis from her AP statistics class, she further analyzed her data to make statistically sound conclusions.

Through her years of independent research and her Science Fair achievements, a “snapshot” of Anjani’s academic resume includes the following:

2009/10 - 2nd place at CHS Science/Engineering Fair and 2nd place at the Washington State Science/Engineering Fair (WSSEF).

2010/11 - 1st place awards at the CHSSEF (Cedarcrest Science and Engineering Fair) and the WSSEF (Washington State Science and Engineering Fair), NOAA’s “Taking the Pulse of the Planet” Award at the CSRSEF (Central Sound Regional Science and Engineering Fair) and BPA (Bonneville Power Administration) Award at WSSEF.

2011/12 - 2nd place at the CHSSEF; AWG (Association for Women Geoscientists) Award, NOAA’s “Taking the Pulse of the Planet” Award, BPA Award, Marine Sciences Award (from the WSSEF Founders), Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) Award at the regional level with an invitation to apply for the SJWP State Award, GENIUS (Global Environmental Issues - U.S.) Olympiad’s Exceptional Genius Award with an invitation to compete in New York, 1st place award in category at state, SJWP Award at the state level (which included an all-expense paid trip to Boston for two where she competed against 52 participants), 2nd place award at the GENIUS Olympiad Competition.

Anjani has been invited by the Washington State Academy of Sciences to present her original oil spill research and speak to teachers and other professionals regarding the importance of independent research programs in public schools, at its annual symposium: Water: Washington and the World. She has also been invited by the Pacific NW Clean Water Association to present original research to their board of directors and all members of the association at their annual training conference in Boise, Idaho.

In addition to all of the above, Anjani is in the process of helping to create an elementary and middle school science fair curriculum with the goal of implementation for the 2012-13 school year.  She has also recently started an Internet-based business that springs from her love of art and accessories.

Anjani is grateful for the support of her family, and would like to thank her parents Daksha and Prakash, and her brother Vivek, for being “her personal fan club and safety net.” Their guidance and unending encouragement inspires her “to leap even higher.”

When asked about having Anjani as a student, Bruce Murdock shares, “I loved working with Anjani! Even as a freshman, she had a maturity and a groundedness that was far beyond her years. I have wonderful memories of Anjani spending hours after school in my laboratory, preparing petri dishes for her science research – with her mother in tow. In addition to her strong academic ability, Anjani had a work ethic that was beyond measure – and a loving family that supported her in her research endeavors –every inch of the way.

“In today’s vernacular, the term ‘awesome’ has become overused and trite; however, to use ‘awesome’ to describe Anjani Patel would be to use the word according to its dictionary definition. Anjani is indeed a truly awesome young lady in every sense. I expect to be reading about her in scientific journals in the years to come.”

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