PITTSFIELD >> The Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Berkshire Section honored the 2016 STEM Research Challenge winners during a May 18 awards dinner at Zucchini's Restaurant in Pittsfield. The contents was organized by Jill McKennon, taking over this year from longtime coordinator, George Haus.

Scholarships included $500 for first place, $250 for second place, and $100 for third place. Schools with participating students were rewarded $200 for science department use.

The winning STEM papers included:

Grades 9-10

First place: "The Discovery of an Ostrich-like Dinosaur Strengthened The Theory of the Dinosaurian Origin of Birds" by Vivian Hou from Miss Hall's School.

Second place: "The Discovery of and Research Behind Homo Naledi" by Kelsey Brown from Miss Hall's School.

Third place: "The Ravaging of the Roach: An Overstepping of the Human Mind" by Benajmin Zoeller from Monument Mountain Regional High School.

Honorable mentions: "Gut Feelings in the Enteric Nervous System" by Noah Bailey from Pittsfield High School; "Modification of the Human Genome" by Joseph Nicols from Taconic High School.

Grades 11-12

First place: "Gene's and Alzheimer's" by Mengyi "Janet" Zhao from Miss Hall's School.

Second place: "'Superman' Memory Crystal: The Eternal Vessel for Human Knowledge" by Asa Mervis from Monument Mountain Regional High School.


Third place: "Autism Reversal Using Shank3 Gene" by Sally Nason from Miss Hall's School.

Honorable mentions: "Waste: Fuel of the Future?" by Casey Blair from Lee Middle and High School;

"A Reflection on the Recent Zika Outbreak and its Handling by the Media" by Myles Thomas O'Brien from Pittsfield High School.

The essays can be read here: http://www.ewh.ieee.org/r1/berkshire/contests.htm