Cal Rothkrug ’18 has been named a regional finalist and a national semifinalist in the Siemens Competition, the nation’s premier competition in math, science, and technology for high school students. Cal and his partner from the Texas Academy of Math and Science submitted a 24-page research paper and were two of only 11 high school students from Texas to advance to the regional finals. Cal’s project covered research on novel methods of fabricating high performance mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) with heterogeneous triadic compatibilizers for energy efficient gas separation.
“Obviously, burning fossil fuels like coal emits harmful gases in the atmosphere,” Cal explains. “These membranes we researched essentially separate useful gas from environmentally harmful gas mixtures. After this separation we can condense and sequester the remaining waste gas into a solid or liquid form so that it doesn’t harm the environment.”
This year, out of the more than 1,860 projects submitted to the Siemens Competition, only 491 students were recognized as semifinalists. This select group of students, including Cal, and their notable projects were judged to determine who will advance on to six regional competitions held in November. Individual and team winners of the regional contests earn the opportunity to compete in the National Finals held at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in December, where $500,000 in scholarships will be awarded, including two top prizes of $100,000.
The Siemens Competition, launched by the Siemens Foundation in 1999, was established to increase access to higher education for students who are gifted in STEM and is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support. This competition seeks to recognize and build a strong pipeline for the nation’s most promising scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.
St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.