AMES student excels at high school Entrepreneur Challenge, regional science fairJul 06, 2017 09:15AM ● By Julie Slama
AMES High School student Isaac Bromley-Dulfano was a grand prize winner at the Utah High School Entrepreneur Challenge and won several awards in the regional science fair. (Lassonde Enrepreneur Institute)
When Academy for Math, Engineering and Science student Isaac Bromley-Dulfano was putting together jigsaw puzzles last summer, an idea clicked — one that would propel the sophomore to create a project that would be recognized as a top science fair project and him, as a top high school entrepreneur.
From that jigsaw puzzle, Issac decided to create portable solar panels that fit together like a puzzle and could be set up quickly for emergency sites.
“I’ve never really been interested that much in solar panels, but I’ve based previous science fair projects on them,” he said.
Isaac began work on his project last fall, meeting school deadlines set up in his science research class.
Principal Brett Wilson said that students are assigned a mentor for the science fair.
“We have a long history of supporting the science fair,” he said, adding that the school also is strong in robotics and Technology Student Association.
Issac said that he had to learn electrical structure connections to build a more efficient prototype.
“My early prototypes would only work one or two cell phones, but my goal is to compete against a gas generator so the panels would work for large lights or refrigerators,” he said. “I’ve made 10 or 11 changes since my first model and I’ll continue to improve it to make it more efficient.”
Isaac had to learn to work with the fragile materials while creating a portable project, which is different than a solar panel that may be found on a motorhome.
“My solar panels are portable, not one large panel that usually is found on an RV,” he said. “Those are too big and heavy to transport. These are quickly put together to fit several configurations.”
Issac won best overall project at the mid-February charter science fair before competing in the Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair in late March.
At the regional fair, he finished second in the senior division of energy: chemical and physical and was awarded INTEL Science and Engineering Fair observer in Los Angeles and invited to compete in the Genius Olympiad in New York.
“Science fair has really helped me with my presentation skills and making a connection with people. I’ve learned how to identify problems and solve them with a product,” he said.
While preparing for science fair, he learned about the Utah High School Entrepreneur Challenge at the University of Utah’s Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. The Institute provides students opportunities to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation.
With the project in progress, Isaac also had to turn his attention to making the solar panels, called Panel Puzzles, into a business. He created a business plan, a marketing plan and set goals.
While waiting to find out if he was a regional science fair winner, he learned he was one of the 24 entrepreneur finalists of nearly 150 student business submissions.
On April 15, after presenting his project in front of a panel of judges, he was announced as a grand champion and was awarded $5,000. He said with the funds, he plans to reimburse his dad for the amount he borrowed for use of a 3D printer for his project, and then save the rest for college.
Issac also was awarded $1,000 Lassonde Studios Scholarship to live in their accommodations if he chooses to attend the University of Utah after his high school graduation.
“Through this idea, I’ve learned there’s so many ways it can be used. I’ve had someone from the military approach me saying it would help behind lines. Someone from NASA says it is exactly what they’re looking for with a mission to Mars since it’s portable, takes up a small space and it’s easy to set up. It’s a target for humanitarian work and government agencies who are helping in a disaster zone,” he said.
Issac wasn’t the only AMES science fair winner. John York placed fourth in materials and biomedical engineering with his project, “Clot”; Angela Pham took fourth in behavioral and social sciences for “Emotional Super Bowl”; and Tristan Lopez placed fourth in chemical and physical energy with “Catalytic Converters.”Other Murray winners include Micah McBride, who won honorable mention in medicine and health sciences for the project, “Choose Murray Water, Not Bottled,” and Issac Orrock who won honorable mention in physics, astronomy and math for his entry, “A Comparison Between Traditional Aviation Design and a Manta Ray-Life (Delta Wing) Aircraft Without Stabilizers.” Both students attend McMillan Elementary.