Mavericks Making Waves is our latest roundup of exceptional student and faculty accomplishments and activities happening beyond Nueva's walls.
Alumnus Andrew Zerbe ’18 Receives Prestigious Award
Stanford University senior Andrew Zerbe ’18 has been selected as a recipient of the Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Scholastic Award for distinguished academic performance at Stanford. These Terman Awards are presented to only the top five percent of each year's senior engineering class. Andrew and the other honorees will be recognized at a special luncheon on April 30.
“What makes this luncheon so special is that we ask Terman Award recipients to invite to the luncheon the secondary school teacher who was most influential in guiding them during the formative stages of their academic career,” said School of Engineering Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Thomas Kenny, in a letter to those selected secondary school teachers.
Andrew selected Nueva physics teacher Mark Hurwitz as that person in his life.
“Andrew was an outstanding student,” Mark said. “He led a team of students in developing and modeling an electromagnetically coupled system of oscillators for the USA Young Physicists Tournament. At the tournament, teams from several other schools admitted that they had tried to do what Andrew did, but failed. That year, Andrew’s work won a ‘best poster’ award selected by student jurors.”
Middle School Students Place in Coding Competitions
Sixth grader Elisabeth S. and eighth grader Colin C. recently received recognition at the San Mateo County STEM Fair. Colin earned first place for his project, “Identifying miRNA Biomarkers Differentially Expressed in Liver Cancer Patients,” and received a special IEEE Award. Elisabeth earned second place for her project, “Magical Matches—an invention of hope,” which, she says, helps people with disabilities utilize technology. In placing first and second respectively, both students earned entries into the California Science and Engineering Fair and the Broadcom MASTERS science competition.
In late March, Elisabeth found out that she also placed in the Code/Art All Girls Coding Competition. Elisabeth earned first place in the middle school division of the west region “CodeYourSelf” National Self-Portrait Coding Competition.
“I enjoyed learning a new programming language and integrating new concepts into my coding art piece,” Elisabeth said. “It was great to explore the connection between art and coding!”
"Congratulations to Elisabeth!" I-Lab Director Angi Chau exclaimed. "It's always so wonderful to see young women in computer science get the recognition they deserve and to have their incredible work be celebrated. I hope this will continue to inspire more young women to engage in computer science and coding!"
Nueva Physics Team Takes Home Top Prize
A group of Nueva physics students traveled to North Carolina for the 2022 US Invitational Young Physicists Tournament for the first time since before the pandemic began and, for the first time in Nueva’s history, took home first place. The tournament is described as a “physics fight” and is designed to model the search for scientific truth as practiced at professional conferences.
“They prepare near professional-level research work, give their presentation before adult judges, respond to pointed but collegial questions from judges and students from other schools who also have in-depth knowledge, and of course socialize with the other teams,” said team advisor and physics teacher Mark Hurwitz. “It’s sort of like a debate tournament where the goal is to reveal the underlying truth, not to persuade a judge of the rightness of your position.”
While the tournament field this year was smaller than in years past due to the ongoing pandemic, one judge was so impressed by the Nueva team that he shared the following with Mark after the competition concluded.
“Please let your team know how impressed I was with their work,” said Dr. Jonathan Keohane, who is a professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. “Since the tournament was on the small side, they might not know how well they would have done compared to past years. Just let them know that in my opinion, they were just as strong, or stronger, than any team I have seen.”
Junior Lucie L. Earns Second Place in Vocal Competition
Each year, the Pacific Musical Society & Foundation holds a Bay Area music competition for instrumentalists, pianists, vocalists, and composers in various age categories and awards merit-based scholarships to the winners. This year, junior Lucie L. took second place in the vocalist category for female entrants ages 16 to 18. To enter, Lucie was required to demonstrate significant musical skill and versatility by performing a variety of selections in styles from baroque to modern.
Lucie, who is a mezzo-soprano vocalist, performed the following pieces to capture this second place recognition:
- F. Leoni, “A Little China Figure”
- K. Gyu Hwan, “님이오시는지”
- F. Schubert, “Die Forelle”
- H. Duparc, “Chanson Triste”
Fan Fan J. ’25 Advances in 2022 USA Physics Olympiad F=MA Contest
At the 2022 USA Physics Olympiad F=MA contest, ninth grader Fan Fan J. received a top score and has advanced to the USA Physics Olympiad competition. The F=MA contest is a national standardized test that serves as a gateway to the US physics team that participates in the International Physics Olympiad. In earning a top score, FanFan is one of only 400 students (of more than 3,000) who has advanced to this next stage.
FanFan credits Nueva teacher Mark Hurwitz with helping him reach this accomplishment; the two first met when FanFan was in second grade.
He said, “Mark has been patiently waiting for me to grow up. He had been inviting me to all of the high school physics competitions since I was in middle school. Now finally taking his class, I have a deeper understanding about physics."