A Passion for Research 

A Passion for Research 

December 1, 2021

This year, IPSF celebrates our 25th anniversary of supporting the educational experience of each child in every school in the Irvine Unified School District. We are so proud to support such an amazing educational community and are seeking to commemorate exciting achievements from IUSD students and alumni through our Profiles in Excellence Showcase.

Profiles in Excellence: Hailey Van

Hailey Van, an 8th grader at Jeffrey Trail Middle School (JTMS), was selected as 1 of 30 finalists nationally, in the 11th annual Broadcom MASTERS®, the nation’s premier Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) middle school competition in September 2021. She was also awarded the inaugural Broadcom Coding with Commitment Award, which included a $5,000 cash prize. for her project: Multi-stressor Analysis of Carbon Dioxide on Oceanic Ecosystems: Using Climate Change Modeling to Study Hypoxia and Acidification.

Hailey was inspired to begin this science fair project during the summer before her 8th grade year. During the start of the pandemic, many of her activities were canceled, which provided her with free time to focus on her interests in learning new skills. She participated in a science research course during the summer where she learned the process of developing and conducting a project. The IUSD Science Fair, and later Broadcom MASTERS®, provided Hailey with great opportunities to put her passion for science research into practice.

“I chose to focus on environmental science for my project after participating in my school’s Science Olympiad team at JTMS. I enjoyed competing in the Water Quality and Dynamic Planet events, both of which were environmental and earth science-related events, and I decided to conduct research in these areas., Eventually, I narrowed my topic down to hypoxia, an aquatic condition when oxygen levels are very low, and how it is related to climate change.”

While Hailey is still interested in environmental science, she is now looking to expand her knowledge and conduct research in other areas, including genetics and microbiology.

“What motivates me is those around me – teachers, friends, and my parents – but I also am driven by my passion for science and knowledge. Research is such a fun experience because I am able to focus on an interesting topic, and eventually, make a difference by sharing my findings with others.”

“To fellow students who are interested in getting involved in a program like Broadcom MASTERS®, I would advise them to begin research as soon as possible and choose a topic they are really interested in. Aside from the logistics of research, a huge part of conducting a successful project is being able to relate your project to your interests and passions on a personal level.  So, I would recommend that students think about what is important or interesting to them and how to fit research around it.”

In addition to her passion for science, Hailey is a ballet dancer.

“I enjoy ballet because it provides an outlet for me to express myself and has allowed me to value hard work and perseverance,” said Hailey.

In the future, Hailey hopes to continue conducting research and participating in Science Olympiad through high school. She wants to pursue a STEM major in college and continue building her skills as a scientist.

Do you know an amazing IUSD student? Share your proudest stories of educational excellence for a chance to be featured. Click to view all our amazing IPSF  25th Anniversary Profiles in Excellence!

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