Menlo-Atherton High School student Audrey Ha capped off her Freshman year by taking first place in the California Science and Engineering Fair in the behavioral science category among a field of 800 middle and high school students. This followed wins at the county and regional level.

Audrey’s topic was titled “Fostering Racial Tolerance in High Schools: Researching Correlations between Tolerance, Activities, and Demographics.” You can view the abstract online.

“I consider myself a STEM person,” she commented. “I like having questions or puzzles. Math has one answer; English has many answers!”

Entering M-A last fall, Audrey immediately noticed how racially diverse the school is. “It opened my eyes to the need for more racial tolerance,” she said.

Among her conclusions: “The findings suggested modifications to interracial interaction, language programs, and social studies programs could lead to more student tolerance. The results suggested male students were more tolerant due to faculty focus on males and that older students took more initiative to engage with other races.

“Providing female, younger, and Asian/European-American high schoolers with opportunities for tolerance activities could be beneficial. The trends studied in this project, including successful racial tolerance activities and groups that benefit, may serve as a model for high schools to effectively foster tolerance and shape a more inclusive generation.”

This summer she’ll be taking her project on the road, attending the Genius Olympiad at the State University of New York’s Oswego campus.

In the future she hopes to build an app that will assist high school teachers in fostering more racial tolerance. As far as STEM in general, she wants to continue to build apps and products that people can use.

“I’m very interested in technology, education and community building,” she said in summation.

Photo courtesy Audrey Ha

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