Two Albuquerque middle schoolers place top 300 in national STEM competition

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Two local middle school students can call themselves the best in country.

This, after placing in the top 300 in a national STEM competition, beating out thousands of other students.    

Olivia Cole, an eighth grader at Jefferson Middle School, says she has always been interested in space science, but says she never thought when entering the contest that she would beat out over 2,500 applicants.

“I’m just really happy about it. It’s just something I never dreamed about. When I was doing this application, I was like I’m not even going to make it in the top 300 but I’m going to do it anyways,” said Cole.

Middle school students across the country were invited to apply for Broadcom Masters, a national science, technology, engineering and math competition.

They were able to do this by placing among the top 10 percent of participants at their local science fairs.

Cole placed first in the “Physics and Astronomy” category at regionals and second in the same category at the state level.

Cole’s unique project focused on what matter makes up a quasar, which is a type of galaxy.

One of the purposes of this national competition is to inspire young scientists. That’s something Cole says it has done, as she is already thinking ahead to next year’s competition.

“I might not make it, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to stop trying because I have one more year. I’m trying to figure out what I can do already to try to make it to the top 300 next year,” said Cole.

Cole credits her success to her teachers at Jefferson Middle School and the UNM professor who helped her compile databases to use for her project.

Gianna Nilvo from the School of Dreams Academy in Los Lunas also made the top 300.

Thirty of the top 300 will find out on Sep. 18 if they have made it to the final round coming up in Washington D.C.

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